Saturday, May 18, 2013

Weekend at Heidi's

Last weekend, I traveled to the beautiful city of Graz. This trip was going to be different for me because this time I was going to travel the entire time with my friends Marcel and Radka. We started early on Saturday morning, and took a wonderful train ride through the hills of Austria. We passed ruined castles and quaint villages on the journey to Graz. We had some interesting discussions, and after the two hour journey we arrived in Graz. We met my friend Heidi, a native of the city, and began our tour of the city.

Marcel, Radka, and me on the Grazer Schlo├čberg overlooking Graz
Graz is capital city of Styria, the second largest Bundesland (State) in Austria. The city has rich historic roots, which were strongly reflected in the preservation of the old city and the palaces. We spent the fat of Saturday walking around the city and touring the old buildings. In the center of the city the Schlo├čberg stands over the river Mur. We climbed to the top of this fortified hill to witness the expanse of the city and it's outlying suburbs. The view was amazing, and I can add it to my growing list of fantastic overlooks. That evening we spent the night at Heidi's brother Paul's place. We played a game called Jungle Speed and had some discussions of our respective countries.

My friend Paul and me on a tandem bike
 The next day we traveled by bike Arni (Arnold Schwarzenegger) Museum, Marcel's mission in Austria. We decided to take bikes up to the museum tucked away in the hills of Graz. I then got to fulfill my dream of riding on a tandem bike. The ride winded through the hill and passed tiny meadows and streams. Definitely a highlight of my stay here. The museum was hilarious. The two most interesting parts were the de-emphasis on his family and the four different life size depictions of himself (the varieties were body building, politician, Terminator, and bronze statue depicting his giant muscles). We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around a lake, tossing the disc, and some enjoying some tasty ice cream. Overall, I had an excellent time.
The view from the Arni Museum on the outskirts of Graz
Last Wednesday, I resumed my concert tour with a visit to the Gasometer to see the XX. The venue is a converted petroleum tank with a concert hall in the basement. I had a delightful time watching the light show and listening the piercing electric rifts and the smooth bass guitar. It was a great afternoon spent with my friend Kira. We had huge burgers in park and took the longest possible route to the venue, but thankfully we made it on time. This time I saw the show from up in the gallery. It was different sitting and watching the show opposed to standing in the masses. Usually, I'm up for the sway and dancing of the fans, but sitting down totally dampened the dancing vibe. I definitely appreciate the experience and look forward to more good music from this group.
The XX live in Vienna
Now a bit on how I'm doing personally. Winter has passed, and Spring has brought new energy to me. I'm trying to maintain this new energy by keeping my focus on spending time with friends, as well as keeping an interest in my field and potential work to be done in the future. Yesterday, I spent the day in a seminar about scientific publishing. It gave me a renewed interest in contributing to a body of knowledge. In these last weeks, I've also had a good conversation about what my talents could be used for other than publishing. I come to the realization that I should also be focusing on extension and mentorship. I've witnessed scientists that can have great influence on public policy and positive changes brought on by discussions with politicians and young people interested in the field. That's a general focus now, but I'm open to be influenced. Thank you to my family and friends for the support and prayers.

God Bless,
Christian Webb