Concerned that Vienna might be too uptight, I decided to split my time in Austria. After some touring in the capital, I headed down the Danube to Linz. I chose the city because it was a short train ride from Vienna, it had accessible bike paths along the river, and it was a European Capital of Culture in 2009. The city received the designation because of its educational, music, and arts centers. I, however, kicked off my visit with some drinking culture.
After checking into my hotel, I wandered around downtown and stumbled upon Chelsea Pub, an Irish bar with a good craft-beer collection, including local Rieder Brewery's IPA (top left). It was opening night of Bundesliga, so I joined the locals watching some matches (top right). A majority of pub-goers appeared to be more interested in supporting Bayern than cheering on the hometown team, the Blue and White, in a lesser league. Unfortunately, the drinking choices went downhill from there. The next day, I had mediocre lagers at both macrobrewery outlet Klosterhof (bottom left) and Beer Buddies Brewing Company purveyor Leopoldistuberl. At least at the latter they gave me some free chips with my Tragweiner Bernstein (bottom right).K.U.K. Hofbackerei, one of the oldest bakeries in the city (left). Not to be outdone by the city downstream, Linz has its own sugary specialty: Linzertorte, which I enjoyed with an energy-inducing cappuccino (right).
Hauptplatz, where a Saturday flea market was in full swing (top left), before heading down to the Danube River, where I joined the waterside path (top right). I rode in a light rain until I was so far that I could barely see the UNESCO City of Media Arts through the mist (middle left). Then I turned around and headed back to a bridge, where I crossed to investigate the Mural Harbor. Apparently, the best works are viewed by boat, but even the more amateur pieces on the port warehouses were impressive to me (middle right). The night before, I didn't investigate the professional works inside, but just the Lentos Art Museum building itself looked like a work of art (bottom).
Freinberg Park, home of Franz-Josef's Tower (top left). True to the city's name, even the structure's stairs looked like a work of art (top right). But of course, the real stunner was the view from the top (bottom left). Luckily, the rain let up enough that I could not only look down on the city but also survey the surrounding countryside (bottom right).
Barbara-Kapelle, where people pray to the Virgin Mary (top left). The peace of the chapel was oddly juxtaposed with a very warlike presence, a three-foot shell acting as a memorial to World War I artillery soldiers (top right). Back on my bike, I coasted downhill to the somewhat hidden and definitely not crowded site of Johannes Kepler's telescope (bottom left). The day before, I blinked and almost missed the house of the native son who proved elliptical planetary orbits (bottom right). On perhaps a less proud note, Hitler also claimed Linz as his hometown, but the city has reclaimed the narrative by using buildings he ordered constructed to house a university.
Ars Electronica Center, was unexpectedly closed, with little explanation (top). I decided to drown my sorrows with food, so I headed to Wirt am Graben (bottom left), where I had a traditional dish of dumplings with chanterelle-cream sauce (bottom right).
Mariendom, then snaked down the pedestrian Promenade. My final destination was city hall, where I met a guide for an official walking tour. The weather must've scared everyone else away, and I ended up being her only customer.
Nonetheless, wet set out in the rain together, and she showed me some of the city's lesser-known sites. First up was the city's shortest, smallest alley (bottom left), which used to lead to its castle, which has now been converted into a history museum. A few alleys away, we ducked into "Mozart's house" (bottom right), named as such not because he lived there but because he wrote a symphony during a short visit there. In the passageway to the courtyard, you can push a button to hear "Symphony No. 36 in C Major."