On my way back from Salzburg with Westbahn, I decided to make a day stop in Linz, since it was on the way!
It was Easter Sunday, quiet and peaceful, and for a time I was afraid that I would find nothing in Austria’s third-largest city except some strangely cheerful flowers, and rain.
In one of the rainier moments, I hopped into a doorway which is actually an exhibition of traditional Austrian costumes. If I came here during the week, I would find a shop that still makes and sells these clothes.
Heading towards the city center from the train station, I was getting desperate. It was cold, the rain was starting to wet the bottom of my pants, and I was pretty sure this famous cafe I wanted to visit wouldn’t be open.
I was so, so relieved that it was.
Cafe Traxlmayr has been open and in operation since 1847. The original owner, Josef Hartl, passed it on to his son-in-law, Josef Traxlmayr, who renamed it and did renovations that has created the beautiful interior, complete with comfy red velvet couches, marble tables, chandeliers and art nouveau designs on the walls. His great-grandchildren are the current owners.
In 2011, UNESCO recognized the cafe for its classic Viennese style as a part of Austria’s national intangible cultural heritage. It is the only coffeehouse highlighted for this “Wiener Kaffeehauskultur” outside of Vienna!
I can say for a fact, however, that I have never had such friendly, attentive service in a Vienna coffeehouse.
Here is the famous Linzertorte. All cakes and pastries at Cafe Traxlmayr come from another famous bakery-cafe Konditorei Jindrak (which I also tried to visit, but unfortunately it was too far).
I had found a real gem with amazing food and service – I wished I could spend all day there. After two and a half hours spent having a traditional Austrian dish for lunch, drinking fantastic coffee with toffee layer cake, and having an absolute ball reading the New York Times (and for example the above article about the Slovak journalist who was assassinated and youth response in the country), I decided it was time for me to move on, at least to see one more thing before having to catch my train to continue on back to Vienna and Brno. Just a few meters from the cafe is Linz’s main square:
This was the most people I saw anywhere in the city on Easter Sunday! 🙂 (except for in the train station)
The beautiful flower beds were a constant throughout the city.
I made my way to where a bridge crosses the Danube, on the other side of which waited Ars Electronica Center, a science and technology museum. By this time, the rain was blowing in all directions because of the wind, and if I didn’t hold my umbrella close to my head I was in danger of it blowing completely inside out.
This old tram #50 goes to Pöstlingberg, a hill which is a popular tourist destination because of its viewing platform over Linz and its pilgrimage church, the spires of which you can see really slightly on the left of the photo over the hotel! It was so hard to take a good picture of it because of the distance and rain. I wish I’d have had time to get there, but next time.
In the museum, you could find exhibits on surveillance, privacy and social media; the human brain; the human optical system; the history of virtual and augmented reality; 3D printing; and more.
The museum, built in an old multi-floor warehouse, was made specifically to be interactive. You could try Google glass, do an eye-tracking test, or like me below, use technology that shows you a projection of different body systems. When you turned this special board, the skeletal system would change to the muscular system, and so on.
It was a really interesting museum concept, suitable for people of all ages. Everyone will find something there and not be bored.
The museum was also a good halfway point for tourists – you can hop on the train directly back to the train station, or continue with the #50 to Postlingberg hill (or try to find the legendary Jindrak).
There are many things to do in this pretty city, and though you may not need more than a day and a half for all of it, you definitely need more than 5 or 6 hours like I had (especially if you spend half of it in a cafe – perhaps the best I’ve ever been in – no regrets)!