Day 41: Travelling, Hiking and a little bit of Partying

imag3282_fotorLast Tuesday was Fasching (sanakirjan mukaan laskiainen) and we celebrated it appropriately with a tribal theme and sangria. The streets really were full of party people and nearly everyone had dressed up to the occasion. The city of Graz had organized a huge outdoor concert and had blocked a street for it in the city center.

We had so much fun – old goldies, new hits and also German pop songs. Also the boys in our team got their faces painted. In the night we proceeded to Three Monkeys, wich is a bar near to where I live.

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imag3316On the next day it was time to pack my things and go to Zagreb. We were a group of 10 exchange students and we’d booked a hostel for a couple of nights in the capital city of Croatia. It’s crazy how cheap the hostels can be – our hostel was clean and pretty nice and only 7e per night (My Way Hostel Zagreb, highly recommended).

The bus trip wasnt that nice tho, firstly the bus was extremely hot and had an almost-working air conditioning, secondly there was no toilet and thirdly the drivers were very unfriendly (and didn’t speak English/German). BusCroatia is a company that I’ll try to steer away from in the future, just to let you know.

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If you take a little time, you’ll find amazing cheap restaurants and pubs in Zagreb. The 5th best restaurant by Tripadvisor was Vagabund near the city center. They had amazing pizzas as well as other dishes. I had a beer and a glass of wine with my pizza and altogether it came to 9,30e. Not bad! Our group also found our favourite beer: Tomislav. A dark, smooth lager with hints of coffee/chocolate in the flavour. Extremely delicious.

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As we tried some other beers on our trip, we found that Croatian beers are exceptionallygood. I mean, I haven’t yet thought that the cheapest tap beer at a pub tastes amazing. We only drank Croatian beers in Zagreb and I have to say, I thought they all were exquisite.

The breakfast place beneath My Way hostel was very nice too. Large brekky portions and nice surroundings. Lots of wood, and our waiter new a bit of Finnish since he had a Finnish girlfriend 😀 What a coincidence. The breakfast (large omelette+cappuchino) was around 5e.

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On Thursday we went to see the city center of Zagreb, the old city and some sights. Zagreb is full of beautiful buildings and interesting museums. Many of them are located near to each other, so it’s easy for a tourist to find the must-see-things. Zagreb is a beautiful city, but I think that a few days there is enough to see everything you need to see (unless you want to go to all the museums).

We went to see the Museum of Broken Relationships. I’ve never been to one, although we had an exhibition in Helsinki. It was funny, sad and touching. A big recommendation!

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@ The Museum of Broken Realtionships

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To our surprise, a bartender at a pub told us that there is an Erasmus party right near to our hostel. So that’s of course where we went and boy did we have a fun time! We met lots of Erasmus students from different countries. The bar was packed by 1 am and we danced ’til we couldn’t anymore. And until I realized it was 3 am and my bus was leaving at 9 am. I left a bit earlier than the other because I wanted to be on time to join the ESN Opera Backstage tour 😉

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I am an art lover and I love operas, theatre and classical music concerts. ESN provided an opportunity to go on a guided tour though the Graz Opera’s backstage and concert hall. It was so amazing and I was glad that I got up in the morning in Zagreb to see the opera. We got to learn a lot about the practical things that happen on the backstage, what materials the opera uses for the props, how high the ceilings are and how the logistics work. The opera’s stage is 27m high! It was insane.

We also got to know a lot about the history of the opera and about the founders and builders. Our guide also gave us a tip that if we come 1h-30min to the box office before the show starts, we might get leftover tickets for very cheap 😉

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The facade of the opera.

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The stage was just being prepared for the night’s Romeo and Juliet premiere.
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Stage from the front. The orchestra’s playing area can be lifted/lowered in three different levels.
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There are over 1100 seats in the hall – both booths and individual places.
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The paintings on the ceiling were painted the same way as Michelangelo painted the Sixtine Chapel – lying horizontal up there.

For Saturday we planned a hiking trip in Graz. Since Graz is located in a valley, it is easy to find great hiking roads that are just a bike ride away. This time we went hiking on a road that lead us over a mountain to the village Thaler – it is the one where Arnold Schwarzenegger was born 😉 They even have a museum for him! Now it’s still a bit early to enjoy the hiking roads to the fullest, since the nature hasn’t properly woken up from it’s hibernation. Luckily the views were still breathtaking. I cannot wait to do more hiking here in Austria!

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I think I got a bit of a cough and a sore throat from Zagreb, so this morning is just spent in bed. In the afternoon we have a city tour with ESN to learn more about the culture and history of Graz.. Was about time I heard about that!

Next week is exciting since my uni courses as well as my sports courses begin. I’ve got 5 uni courses (4ects each) and 4 sports courses. We’ll see how they are.

Bis bald ❤

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