Graz

En route to my next work assignment in Deutschlandsberg near the Slovenian border I stopped off in Graz overnight. I've been to Graz loads of times. It's a really nice city, even if everyone does have a thick Arnie accent. ... Read More...

Crossing the Alps playlist

To travel in between Vienna and Graz, until the never-ending tunnel under the mountains is finished later this decade, you have to take the train over the top of the Semmering Pass, going up and down over the Alps. You get some spectacular views, and the trainline itself is a UNESCO site. It's hard to take good photos out of the train window, so here's my playlist for over the mountain.... Read More...

Eszterházy Castle- The Versailles of Hungary

Fertöd is also home to Eszterhazy Castle, a baroque palace often called "The Versailles of Hungary". The Eszterhazy family were the ultra-rich landowners in western Hungary and eastern Austria, and have palaces and castles dotted all over the place. This wasn't even their main palace. It's now a museum with guided tours. The tour was all in Hungarian, but luckily with an English crib sheet. ... Read More...

Assorted Fertőd

Fertőd is the village in Hungary just across the border from Pamhagen. It has a huge Baroque palace there (which we also visited) and therefore more places to eat than Wallern (and the exchange rate is very favourable). The train takes about five minutes, but only runs every four hours. In fact the train journey was so quick a lot of the time the conductor couldn't even be bothered to sell us a cross-border ticket.... Read More...

Pamhagen and Wallern-im-Burgenland- the Kansas of Austria

My next work assignment was in a small village called Pamhagen on the Austria-Hungary border. The main hotel in the village was closed, so we were put up in a neighbouring village called Wallern-im-Burgenland. Pamhagen is only about 70 miles away from Vienna, but it's a million miles in reality. Until 1989 it was pinched between the lake and the heavily militarised Iron Curtain. The border is open again now, with no passport controls (thanks Schengen Agreement!) but the area still feels like the end of the line.... Read More...

Győr, Hungary

After working in Vienna for a week I headed off on the train to Győr in Hungary. It's the regional capital of NW Hungary, and exactly halfway between Vienna and Budapest. I'd never been there before, and it was an easy train journey from both Vie... Read More...