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Linz in a Word


December 10, 2012 by Jools Stone

Linz in a word!

Yeah, puerile I know, but I couldn’t quite resist it.

InterRail is all about spontaneity, or so goes the rubrick anyway. But some InterRailers just prefer to have a plan. We generally fall into that category, but made a small concession to spontaneity with a day trip from Vienna to Linz.

After checking out of our hotel we had until 10pm until our Night Train was due to whisk us away to Zurich en route to Lausanne. So with time to kill we simply rocked up at Westbahnhof and scanned the departure boards.

We ruled out Bratislava, since that meant schelpping over to Sudbahnhof station. In retrospect this was possibly a mistake…

Salzburg was too far so we plumped instead for Linz, partly I think because I laboured under the misapprehension that this is where Lindt chocolates are made. (I know). Linz of course is the home of Linzer Torte. I don’t think we tried it.

Linzer torte bakery

Arriving on a  Sunday most things were shut, unsurprisingly. The park area near the station is currently being re-developed to accommodate a new concert hall. I’m sure it will look utterly fantastic once it’s ready, but it’s little more than a building site just now and so didn’t give us the best first impression.

An unkempt middle aged man playing cheesy 70s covers on a casio keyboard draws a small crowd in one of the main shopping streets – apparently Austria’s second most important one! We could well have been in Staines, Milton Keynes, Paisley or any other anonymous small town really.

Toy Train Linz

Toy trains are one of our guilty travel pleasures and frankly there seemed to be little else to detain us in the town centre, so we hopped aboard. The train takes you on a 20 minute loop around the pretty Baroque old town and across the Danube, which has some interesting warehouse conversion buildings along the bank, including the uber-swanky Lentos Art Museum.

On this we learned several priceless nuggets, one being that  Holy Roman EmperorFrederick III died after having his leg amputated for gout, caused by excessive watermelon consumption!  The town also has the dubious honour of being the place in which Hitler spent his formative years and considered home.

The local crusties gave us sarcastic slow waves from the pavement as we crawled past them and dozens of identical confectioners and bakeries.

Linz is also home to the world’s steepest narrowmountain railway, the Postlingbergbahn. Sadly we discovered this fact too late in the day to take a ride…

Our abiding memory of Linz though will always be the comical conversation we had with our waiter in this restaurant. One of those times when the langauge barrier is all too painfully apparent, as this menu translation ably demostrates…

Linz menu

Seeking clarification on the English menu of a certain sausage item I asked ‘Do you have Bratwurst please?’

Mr Waiter: ‘Breakfast?’ Cos, you know, obviously the only thing any Brit will eat abroad is a Full English…

I then asked for some mustard – ‘when in Rome/German-speaking lands..’ etc – but somehow he assumed I meant ketchup…

‘So you’re from the UK, yes?’, says Mr Waiter, as he gives us the bill. To this Mrs Jools pipes up, smiling sardonically ‘Yes. How can you tell?!’

Mr Waiter, looking a little bemused, says – ‘Umm, because of your accent. It is a very fine one. I like it.’

And for that reason alone, Linz was worth the detour!

papstar sugar wrap

Even the sugar sachets in this place were a source of unintentional amusement...

Have you taken an unfortunate day trip or ‘gone on holiday by mistake’ lately? Share your story with a comment below!


  1. Sarah Lee says:

    Nice one Jools – I had feared the first word that appeared on screen on reading this was going to be the one that concluded the piece too. But I’m glad Linz brightened up for you with odd dining experiences. It is interesting actually, that sometimes you can visit places, not feel especially enamoured by them, but then fall in love with their idiosyncrasies.

  2. Linda says:

    Well, I’m really glad you went there, because, oddly for me, I now feel that I don’t need to, having vicariously traveled with you seems to be sufficient to sate any curiosity I had about the place. So thanks for that, and for making me smile – much more important!

    So far as assumptions go, especially, it seems in eateries. Happens all the time when I go into the resort areas of Tenerife, which I avoid, but which I’ve done this week. Had a longish conversation with the woman who seats people in a restaurant, from which it would have been obvious HAD SHE BEEN LISTENING that I live here, but, no, “Have a nice holiday,” she said at the end!

  3. I almost made a side trip from Salzburg to Linz on the the way to Vienna last week, but realized I did’t have the time. Fun to read the account of your experience. Too bad you missed the steepest narrow mountain railway ride – I would have liked that, too.

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