Greater Than a Tourist- Klagenfurt Carinthia Austria

Greater Than a Tourist-Klagenfurt Carinthia Austria

50 Travel Tips from a Local

By Lizzie Dawes

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Are you excited about planning your next trip?

Do you want to try something new?

Would you like some guidance from a local?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this Greater
Than a Tourist book is for you.

Greater Than a Tourist- Klagenfurt, Carinthia, Austria by
Lizzie Dawes offers the inside scoop on Klagenfurt. Most travel
books tell you how to travel like a tourist. Although there is
nothing wrong with that, as part of the Greater Than a Tourist
series, this book will give you travel tips from someone who has
lived at your next travel destination.

In these pages, you will discover advice that will help you
throughout your stay. This book will not tell you exact addresses
or store hours but instead will give you excitement and knowledge
from a local that you may not find in other smaller print travel
books.

Travel like a local. Slow down, stay in one place, and get to
know the people and the culture. By the time you finish this book,
you will be eager and prepared to travel to your next destination.

Inside this travel guide book you will find:

  • Insider tips from a local.
  • A bonus book 50 Things to Know About
    Packing Light for Travel by bestselling author
    Manidipa Bhattacharyya.
  • Packing and planning list.
  • List of travel questions to ask yourself or others
    while traveling.
  • A place to write your travel bucket list.

INTRODUCTION

"There's no such thing as bad
weather, only unsuitable clothing" - Alfred Wainright.

This guide is intended to be an honest reflection of
Austria from the perspective of a visitor from the UK.
My guide may be repetitive in places, but aims to give
an insight into the cultural and historic background of
Austria, which should equip you with knowledge that is
greater than that of a tourist.

For those completely unfamiliar, Austria (not to be
confused with Australia (the common joke goes ‘no
kangaroos in Austria’) is a landlocked country in
Central Europe with a population of around 9 million.
Austria had a turbulent history throughout the 19th and
20th centuries. The country was formerly part of the
Austrian Empire, which became part of the German
Confederation, where it was part of the Austro-
Hungarian Empire. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was
dissolved shortly after the First World War.

During the Second World War, Austria became part
of Greater Germany in 1938 after the Anschluß (now
spelt ‘Anschluss’ after the German spelling reform,
implemented between 1996 and 2006). Austrians are
not considered Germans, and Austria is not a part of
Germany.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the
Second Austrian Republic was established. The country
underwent a number of social reforms, especially
during the 1970s. Austria now has a very generous
social programme.

I first travelled to Austria in 2012 without knowing
much about the place. I only knew a handful of facts
from German lessons at school, that the language was
slightly different, and that people would greet with
"Grüß Gott", rather than the typical German "Guten Tag",
that the language for food was a little bit different (no
Kartoffeln in Austria) and, oddly enough, the Galtür
avalanche, which I had studied in GCSE Geography. I
had little idea of what the architecture or landscape of
the country would look like, and how it differed to
Germany on a political, historical and cultural level.
Although I spoke German, it was something of a shock
to find that the pronunciation was quite different to
what I was used to - before this point, I had not paid too
much thought to the idea of speakers in other language
having a different accent. It took me a few days to get
over this initial shock, and the more time spent in
Austria, the more I was able to appreciate the
differences between Austrian and German
pronunciation, and I was able to understand people
much better. In time, I developed a preference for the
Austrian accent. Indeed, so distinctive is the Carinthian
accent that when I saw the Austrian historian Sabine
Ladstätter speaking in English on TV, I knew
immediately that she was from the area.

Travelling to Austria was also the first time I had
flown on a plane, so getting through the airport was
quite hectic. I travelled to Klagenfurt from Manchester
via Düsseldorf and Vienna. Klagenfurt Airport
(Flughafen Klagenfurt) is a small airport that is usually
relatively easy to pass through as the queues are not
very long, although it seems that the checking of your
baggage is extremely thorough. Austria belongs to the
Schengen area and is therefore easy to travel to from
many other European countries.

I managed to reach Klagenfurt, eventually, and was
helped to the student accommodation where I was
staying by one of my new work colleagues. It was
completely dark when I arrived, so I had little idea
about my surroundings. My imagination of what the
country would look like was anything between the
dinky toy town houses I had seen in the Netherlands
when I visited as a child and of old grey concrete
blocks of flats in former Soviet countries. In fact, most
houses are ‘Lego’ houses finished in a range of pastel
colours. I suppose I thought this because I associated
Austria with being east of the UK (it is in fact in
Central Europe, a fact alluded to in the country's
national anthem). Many people in Austria live in flats
and owning a house seems uncommon. The upside of
living in Austria is that rents seem very cheap in
comparison to the UK.

In fact, the Austrian national anthem sums up almost
everything that there is to know about the country.
Entitled ‘Land der Berge, Land am Strome’ (‘Land of
Mountains, Land on the River’), it references not only
that Austria is a land of mountains, fields and
cathedrals, but also alludes to the challenges Austria
has faced in its past, and how Austria is progressing in
modern times with perhaps a more hopeful outlook.
Indeed, it sometimes does this in its own cheeky and
uniquely Austrian way – as an example, Austria
officially has a smoking ban, but this is largely ignored
and it is a common sight to see people smoking in bars
and restaurants.

On the morning of the first day, I went up to the
rooftop and directly opposite me was the biggest
mountain I had seen in my life. Not the Himalayas, but
still much higher than anything I had seen in the UK.
Ben Nevis in Scotland stands at around 1350 m. The
Mittagskogel, in comparison, is around 2150 m.
Certainly this is a place that will please any experienced
hikers looking for a new challenge.
The city has really opened to travellers from other
parts of Europe since my first visit, for example,
easyJet began running a service from London Gatwick
to Klagenfurt several years ago, expanding the visitors
from the traditional visitors from Italy and Germany.
Flights from Vienna are very quick and take around 45
minutes.

Many tourists also arrive in Klagenfurt using an
Interrail pass. One such example is the Interrail pass
from Venice to Villach and Klagenfurt. This is ideal if
you cannot drive or, in the case of some drivers, do not
feel comfortable driving on the right-hand side of the
road. It is also possible to get a bus from Klagenfurt to
Venice, although the bus journey takes around five and
a half hours.

1. LAKES

Lake Wörth (der Wörthersee in German) is the
largest of Carinthia's many lakes, and is around 16.5 km
(10.3 miles) long, similar to Lake Windemere in the
UK. Like Lake Windemere, Lake Wörth was formed by
glaciers during the last Ice Age. Lake Wörth’s striking
blue colour comes from suspended rock particles,
similar to other glacial bodies of water. This is the best
place in Klagenfurt to book a Segway, hire a boat or get
an ice cream. Many of the staff on the kiosks around the
lake speak English and seem especially keen to use it.
Concerts are also held on the side of the lake, such as
"Starnacht am Wörthersee", held annually.

Boat trips can be taken on board a number of ferries
that criss-cross the lake. Special ferries are also run at
different times of the year, such as at Christmas, when
the Christmas market is being hosted in Velden. These
ferries are hired from the ‘Wörtherseeschifffahrt’
jetties. It is also possible to hire a helicopter to get a
bird’s eye view of the area around the lake.

Another tip for anyone looking for somewhere quiet
is Lake Faak. Lake Faak is a small lake that can reach
27 degrees Celcius in summer and has a deep blue
colour. A great place to watch the sun go down, with
the Mittagskogel mountain in the background.
Most people who want a photo of a pretty lake travel
to Hallstatt, but the disadvantage of this is that the town
is very small, with only around 800 inhabitants, and this
most likely makes it desirable to stay in a larger town or
city such as Bad Ischl or Salzburg some distance away.
Klagenfurt acts as a good base for day trips, while
being an interesting Austrian city in its own right. It is
very easy to catch the train from Klagenfurt to Salzburg
or Graz.

What friends and colleagues have also commented
on about Salzburg is that it feels very much like a
tourist trap. Mozart is the selling point of the town, and
it is possible to pick up just about any item you can
think of with Mozart’s face on. In addition, the area
around Salzburg is known to many outside of Austria as
being the filming location for ‘The Sound of Music’,
which unfortunately for expectant tourists, most
Austrians have never watched. Klagenfurt is not as
well-known internationally and seems to have largely
avoided this fate.

Something else to be aware of in Austria is that
many places have nudist zones at lakes and swimming
pools. I was somewhat surprised by how many people
sunbathed or even went for a walk naked. I wouldn’t do
it too late at night as there are a lot of midges about!

2. LINDWURMBRUNNEN

The Lindwurmbrunnen is a large metal fountain in
the centre of Neuer Platz (New Square) in Klagenfurt,
dating from the 16th or 17th century. The head of the
dragon depicted in the fountain modelled using the
remains of a rhinoceros horn from the Ice Age. The
legend of the Lindwurm is somewhat similar to that of
the Lambton Worm from North East England. The
legend goes that the Duke of Karnburg promised land
to whoever killed the Lindwurm and a group of
peasants tricked the Lindwurm and killed it, and later
founded a village on the land they were given by the
Duke. There is a plaque with the story of the Lindwurm
on the side of the fountain.

The fountain shows a warrior doing battle with the
Lindwurm . The Lindwurm also features as a heraldic
animal on the Wappen (coat of arms) of the city of
Klagenfurt.

Read all 50 Tips in the book
Greater Than a Tourist- Klagenfurt, Carinthia, Austria
available at Amazon.

TOP REASONS TO BOOK THIS TRIP

Mountains: You will never find yourself short of a
mountain!

Lakes: So many activities to complete, sun for those
who love to sunbathe and perfect sunsets. I always say
there is a lake in Carinthia for every personality.

Culture: Austria's history has made it a melting pot of
different cultures and it is easy to find oldworldly
charm if you are into knights and castles.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lizzie is an engineer who lives in the UK and
originally hails from Preston in Lancashire. Lizzie loves
to learn languages and travel off the beaten track. Lizzie
first went to Austria to complete an internship and
improve her German, which she had learnt in school
and through the somewhat unconventional method of
playing computer games online. She then attended
university in Manchester, in North West England. She
has gone on to achieve proficiency in a number of other
European languages, which she uses in her day job.

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