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Where in the World is Graz anyway? That was my first question when they asked to host the 2003 world championships. Well, now I know, check it out.

Graz is in South East Austria, near Slovenia (formerly Yugoslavia, and host to the Soca River, worth the trip) It is also only 3 hours from Venice, ahh, Venice… Sorry.

Graz has about 800,000 people according to Tobi, don’t know exactly, but it is a fair sized city. What I do know is that the hole is under the busiest bridge in the city, and that part of the city is like a little Manhattan. Tight streets with trolley’s carrying people everywhere, haven’t ridden one yet to know what’s up with them. I just walk everywhere. No rent a car. I get up and eat breakfast, then walk my boat about 100 yards to the river, put in for a warm-up and paddle downstream about ¼ of a mile to the hole, practice, then walk home. On the way home, I stop at a bar (always open) and buy a shot of Tequilla. The purpose is quite honorable, actually. My slalom coach, Sylvan, told me a shot will kill any unwanted guests you may have picked up in the river. This is not a clean river, I am afraid.

Afterwards, there is anything you could want at your fingertips. Internet café’s, quaint restaurants of all types, with chairs set right on the cobblestone streets. Shopping like you wouldn’t believe (I don’t know if my family can resist the temptation, scary). I seem to enjoy the bakery, the butcher, and Petro’s Pizza on the hill most.

I could go on an on about Graz. It will be my home for 6 weeks this year, and three weeks last year. I am glad about that. I wish my family were here today, instead ofanother week from now, they will love it.

The only scary thing is the “silent killers”. Like vampires, but more deadly. The trains. They make no sound (for me, who is ½ deaf, or my son who is 2/3’s deaf) and they run all day along the streets right next to the sidewalk. One step off the sidewalk at a bad time and you are road kill. I will have to drill my son hard to be aware, scary to say the least.

Tomorrow I will try the floating Island created for Graz by a New York architect, supposed to be famous, but I am not up on those things. The island has a coffee bar on it and was created for the “Culture Capital of Europe” which was awarded to Graz in 2003.

Truly in an urban environment, this is the bridge over the hole.

Tobi starting his walk back to our apartment.