In the meantime, however, we will pass by the Rathaus, built in different neo styles, the Landhaus (see for the night shots here) - by the Italian architect Domenico dell'Allio, whom we will also meet not only in Graz -, and the Landeszeughaus (sounds a lot better than arsenal, doesn’t it?) to end up at the Stadpfarrkirche zum Heiligen Blut.
We do not particularly like admittedly the - according to our guide - "most precious work of art of the church", the Assumption of Mary from 1594, but the gentlemen depicted on one of the stained glass windows look a bit like cursing in the church: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini as spectators at the crucifixion of Christ … even in 1953 it must have seemed bizarre.
After a glance at the mobile phone - due to a lack of watch - I conclude that the departure scheduled for 1 pm may no longer be feasible. But I hope to be back at the hotel before 2 pm, because that is the time when the car should actually have left the parking lot. In addition my GPS systems have, without exception, indicated a travel time of 2.5 hours to Zagreb, so that only leaves half an hour of slack.
So we hurry along the Hans Sachsgasse, with its Palais Weisersheim and Palais Lengheim; quickly past the episcopal palace; and do not take the detour from the Glockenspielplatz to Mehlplatz, the market where operetta composer Robert Stolz spent his youth. Finally via the Abraham-a-Sancta-Clara-Gasse and the Bürgergasse back to the Dom, after which we reach the hotel via the Stadtpark and the Elisabethstrasse. At exactly two o'clock ...
Quickly we get in the car, set the GPS to the exact address and come to the conclusion that it now indicates that we will only reach our goal around 5:15 pm. "Only" fifteen minutes later than expected, but for me a fundamental problem: if I promise to be somewhere at a certain hour, I would rather wait at the door for an hour, than be one minute late . We do however manage to cross the Austrian-Slovenian border fairly smoothly and have caught up the lost time when arrving at the Slovenian-Croatian border: 17 o’ clock is feasible again. And then ... the traffic jam at that border. The minutes won are ticking away again; by the time we cross the border the expected arrival time is back at 5:15 pm.
But my GPS immediately sends me to an exit, so I think, okay, we get away from the crowds and maybe we'll make up for the lost time. On the other side of the motorway the same GPS sends me on the motorway again, but in the other direction, so again across the border to Slovenia. I realize that half way up the driveway, slam my brakes, and then do something I've never done before and vow to never do again: back up the driveway. In full view of customs, but fortunately without too many drivers who just have to take this driveway and without any tears or other damage. We are going through our first adventure with border checks of this trip (a few more will follow) and still arrive at 5 pm, thanks to the fact that a number of kilometers that we were supposed to travel on “normal” roads can now be covered on highways: I turn on the GPS again when we are near Zagreb and it is correct for the rest of the ride (which will not always be the case during the journey, for none of the three devices).
After being wellcomed by the mother of landlord Leo - who already thinks I speak Croatian because I know how to say 'good day' in that language, but fortunately, like many Croatians, also speaks a nice bit of German - and the shopping in neighbouring Konzum supermarket, we close this day. The planned visit to the nearby Medvednica Nature Park will be for tomorrow.