Today my plan would be to head to Hartberg which is around 60KM plus from Graz. The weather forecast is good although the start of the morning was a little grey. I do not have a host for today. One Couchsurfing host called Ulrich replied that he cannot host me as he plans to be out of town this weekend. So I plan to arrive Hartberg slightly after noon so that I have enough time to explore places to stay. I saw on google maps that there is a camping site in Hartberg but it’s closed for the season. I ear marked it and plan to check it out when I arrive to see if I could still camp even though it’s closed for the winter.
After breakfast, I started to pack and was ready to leave Tobias apartment at around 830am. Tobias decided to accompany me cycling to help me find my way out of the city and on to my intended route.
Once outside the city and on the route I had to start climbing and a steep one. The signboard says 14% incline. I had to climb for the next 15 km up to 600m before decending. After that the route profile is mainly climb up to the village and then decend and after that climb again to the next village and decend. It was a bit of work but rewarding vistas. This went on until I reach Hartberg.
Since Hartberg was a village or town rather than a city, there are not many choices for places to stay. It’s either high end hotels or private rooms. I was prepared to camp for the night whether on proper camp site or wild camping. The weather is mild and good so it will not be an issue.
I went to check out the paid campsite first and true enough it’s closed for the winter but the grounds are open and there are a few camper vans there. My plan was to try to call the operator and ask anyway if I could camp. Failing which I will still camp there and see what happens. So I went to the city center to try to get a free wifi spot and call the campsite operator. I managed to get a free hotspot right in the middle of the town. As I called a few times and no answer so I decided to wait and call later. Just as I was a about to move a gentlemen and a lady with her young daughter came up to me and said Hi ! He said he is Ulrich! It appears that his plan changed and he is in town after all. He said he noticed me and guess I must be the one requesting to be hosted. I was so shocked again. What are the chances. Anyway he asked if I had other arrangements and I said no. So he invited me to stay with them and I gladly accepted.
Ulrich has a huge house near the town and next to the old castle. It is surrounded by trees and a park. I was given the entire ground floor to stay with my own kitchen, bathrooms and a huge sleeping room. After settling in I was invited for dinner with Ulrich and family. He cooked a fantastic and delicious dinner. After dinner we all played a couple of round of Memory with little one before turning in for the night.
What a fantastic end of the day.
Lions Project: RM 296.20