On May 2, 2013, we attended a concert in the Kunsthaus Weiz, a modern multifunctional exhibition and performance venue right in the center of town. After admiring the various art exhibitions, we enjoyed a two hour performance of “Piano Art Venture” , a group by 8 renowned piano artists on 2 pianos. With popular favourites like the Libertango and Bolero by Ravel , this group of talented virtuoso artists enchanted an enthusiastic audience. Considering the small size of this town, the cultural offerings are actually quite surprising.
The next day was another warm day with brilliant weather and perfect for a local hike in Styria. Hiking is one of my favourite activities in the hilly landscapes of Austria. My brother, sister-in-law and I drove about half an hour west of Weiz to the small town of St. Radegund where we embarked on a 2.5 hour hike. Due to the healing qualities of the local water, this idyllic small town has been a spa town for more than 100 years, since the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
We parked our vehicle and started hiking up the hill towards the mountain meadows. Our hike took us past the Gothic Castle of Isenrode and the medieval ruins of the Fortress of Ehrenfels which are currently being renovated. Then we hiked into the forest beside a small river that was being fed by numerous springs along the way. Surrounded by a gurgling brook and imposing rocks, we enjoyed our pleasant walk through the forest.
After traversing several meadows, we re-entered the town of St. Radegund and visited the “Kalvarienberg” (Mount Calvary), which illustrates the Passion of Christ in 22 small chapels that stretch up a hill to the Church of Calvary. This complex was built between 1768 and 1773 and is the most impressive such facility in the Austrian province of Styria. The region of Eastern Styria has many pilgrimage sites that are still actively visited today.
The centre of St. Radegund is dominated by the late-Gothic parish church dedicated to Saint Radegundis. This small village of 2000 people is located at only 15 kilometers from Graz, the capital of Styria and Austria’s second largest city. It is nestled against the Schoeckl Mountain, with 1445 metres the highest mountain in the region surrounding Graz. It is still a popular destination for hikers, bicyclists and people who are looking for healthy active tourism.
We finished our walk through St. Radegund with a stroll on the “Quellenweg”, the “path of springs” that connects 22 springs that emanate from the Schöckl Mountain. The springs are all framed by architecturally interesting structures that were built in the late 19th century. One of the most famous attractions of the Quellenweg is the Hungarian Madonna which was donated by Hungarian spa guests during the time of the monarchy. The “path of springs” also features a “Walddusche” (forest shower) where the water from the spring is captured and can be used to take a shower inside a wooden shower cabin in the middle of the forest.
Back at my brother’s house, we celebrated the day with a delicious home-cooked meal and relaxed on the sunny terrace. It was nice to just sit back after a rather hectic itinerary during the first part of my trip.