2012-09-28

I drove to Graz, Austria

I'm in Graz, Austria!

A fabulously old, charming and beautiful city. The drive from the house in Southern Germany is about 800 km's. My husband and I shared it, which made it easier. It was my first time on the Auto-bahn (Germany's highway) and doing a speed of 190 km. If you are not familiar with German rules there are  long stretches of the highway where there is no speed. A large white, round circle with a line through it indicates you have entered the 'unlimited speed' zone.  I drove 400 km's, which is the furthest I have ever driven in one shot.


It was also my first time going through tunnels. There are a lot of tunnels in Germany. In Europe in general there are many undergrounds carved into the mountains, which range from one km to many more! We lost track of them but we probably went through at least thirty tunnels during the entire trip.

       View from our hotel room in Graz, Austria. 

The highlight of the Graz (the second largest city next to Vienna) is Schlossberg (meaning the castle on the mountain). I walked up the 260 steps, which were built by the Russian prisoners and the Austrian pioneers. I had to say I sighed and paused a bit as I climbed the stairs thinking of how many of us enjoy these steps today but really from the suffering of others. I just wanted to take a moment to think about that, because history does matter! 

    View at the top of the mountain castle. 




On the top of the mountain are cafes, gardens and restaurants. There is also a terrific view of the city, which is overlooked by the protective Clock Tower. Such a glorious view. I didn't notice at the time (no pun intended) but the hands of the clock are actually backward.

Earlier in Graz time was only on the hour. The second hand was added later (and I guess by someone who figured it was any which way).







The more I tired to learn and understand Graz's history, the more the city amazed me of its deep history. And the more I walked through old alleys of the city and landed in gardens and courtyards the more there was to learn, know and discover. I sometimes feel that there is no much to learn there is hardly time. So, I was reminded of our permanent state while alive.

Dancer posture (Tripura Harasana)


The statue of Natarajasana (Shiva) says it the best.

Being both wise and ignorant.

Hoping to be exclusively wise is probably not possible.

Being closer to ignorance seems more realistic since life is so vast.

The dancer pose is the best illustration of the one leg of Shiva stepping and dancing into cosmos while the other is grounded.





It symbolizes the ability to be awake and aware while rooted in this time sphere, but being part of another. It is also symbolic of maya (illusion), avidya (ignorance) and the covers (koshas) to uncover.

                                                         Dance (Tripura Harasana)
Dancing right along another highlight of Graz was buying chocolate truffles at a shop that was once part of old cathedral. Check out the ceiling (below).    

Next to this highlight and perhaps more sur-real was the coffee and cookies at the King's Bakery. We enjoyed lovely, small cookies called 'panthers', which were once served to the King himself. The bakery store front is decked out in wooden frames with a glided crown dating back to 1569! You cannot miss it as it stands out like a great wonderful piece of the past. This was the only place where the King bought his baked cookies and each of the chefs were hand-picked by the King.




Graz is so full of glorious architecture, street artists, pretty box flowers and the view above the city is like no other place else. It cannot be rightfully compared to any other city or town. It's just Graz.

This picture says it all.


The Journey So Far

Life is an adventure and yoga is the greatest one of all. Here I share my love of Yoga, travel, practice and becoming a part-time cook. My life adventures have taken me from growing up in Toronto to living and working in South Korea to studying in India, marriage and finally closing my Yoga school of 15 years.

What I can say so far is that I truly believe that it is necessary in life to let go of one dream in order for another to be born. This might be painful to do so but it is the only way to move forward. We often believe that if our original plan does not succeed it is the recipe for failure. But what if it is the door to something new and great? The horizon is wide and life is not a straight line. This is the way I see it and my journey so far. Having also recently given birth to my first child and at 43, it is another new beginning.


ME

My Photo
Heather Morton
is a perennial teacher and devoted student of yoga. Having made 18 extended trips to India she studies with her teachers annually. In 1997 she founded and directed The Yoga Way (TYW), Toronto's only school for 6-week yoga programs and not drop-in classes. For 15 years, TYW was a part of the growing Toronto yoga community and supported many charities by offering karma classes. As a teacher she holds many academic degrees including a BFA (Fine Arts in Theatre) and a Masters of Education. With a published thesis on Yoga for Children in School, her post-graduate work was a 2-year ethnographic project in the Indian school system. Heather has produced 2 dvds, meditation cds, a backbending manual and podcasts. Freedom of the Body DVD is the first of its kind as an instructional practice to the backbends of yoga. Heather has been featured in the Toronto Life magazine, The Globe & Mail, Yoga4Everybody and other on-line sources. She contributes to MindBodyGreen, Hello Yoga in Japan and Elephant Journal. She writes to inspire and share her experiences with others on yoga as a life's practice.
View my complete profile

Translate

PICTURES

Must Reads

  • Eleven Minutes
  • Illusions: Handbook for Advanced Souls
  • Le Petit Prince
  • Letters to a Young Poet
  • The Philsopher and the Wolf
  • The Witch of Portobello