Up the Schöckl

Another weekend… another fabulous expedition hosted by the wonderful Alice Zelger.

This adventure took us “up the Schöckl”, which is not a rude Jewish euphemism, but sort of sounds like one, if you pronounce it correctly.

The Schöckl is about 15 kilometers north of Graz, so the people of Graz consider it the city’s honorary mountain, or “house-mountain”.  This term seems to convey that they KNOW it’s not big enough to be a REAL mountain, but are sort of proud of it anyway. Fantastic!

We hiked up the mountain on a public holiday, which meant the path was quite busy. Some people were even running up the mountain for fitness. This was amazing to me, as the path was quite steep and rocky in places. Austrians will not be stopped. (How was Austria ever conquered in WWII? I don’t understand.)

The weather started out sunny and beautiful – but then an intense fog rolled in and pretty soon it was freezing.

It took us maybe two hours to climb up to the top – and by the time we were almost there, I was feeling like Frodo trying to scrabble up Mount Doom. The wind was freezing any visible skin, and the fog was thick like pudding.

But we finally dragged ourselves up to the summit… and what did we see but FIVE Austrian restaurants?!? (Austrian restaurants look to the untrained eye exactly like Austrian houses. The locals just seem to KNOW it’s okay to go inside.) And they were all packed! Austrians CHOOSE to walk up mountains to get to restaurants!

Eating hot food in the Austrian house/restaurant felt incredibly great after the arduous trek. I had some kind of “Käseknödel”, a giant cheese dumpling floating in broth. And a delicious Radler beer.


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