By Jahangir Alam Akash: Graz, was once the cultural city of Austria. It is in Europe. In 2003, European Community (EEC) had declared it so. After the capital, Vienna, it is the second biggest city. It is just like a scenic playground of natural beauty with green woods and hills. It is also a ‘world heritage’ declared by UNESCO. The fascinated place of this city is Schlossberg. This is a hill. The Clock tower or ‘Uhrturm’ on this hill is the main attraction of Graz. There is an old house besides the clock in beautiful and solitary environment. This house is named ‘Chrrinni Schlossel’ where the invited authors of ‘International Haus Der Autoren Graz (IHAG)’ live now. It is built in 1820. It is a cultural network project operated by Kulturvermittlung Steiermark (a region of Austria).
IHAG has given me an opportunity for living one year with my family. Before I came here, I ived in Germany as a guest of Hamburg Foundation which organizes shelter and treatments for the politically tortured person. This stay was ended in may, 2009. As I can’t go back to my country because of uncertain situations, I was to finish my German-living and came in this beautiful city in Austria. The historical City of Graz is full of arts and culture. The people of various languages and culture live here. Graz is renowned as the multicultural and for different educational institutions. In Germany I used to live in a bigger house in Hamburg than to the accommodation here in Graz. Though the house is small, it is in a very peaceful environment. Besides, this house is also historical. Living on a hill is a special opportunity to enjoy the nature. There is no sound of vehicles and other usual noises of a city nearby.
Specially, after dusk there comes a total silence, just like a grave! In fact, it is a right and beautiful place for poets, authors, and artists. We can see the total Graz-city from our house. The sunlight can easily enter into the room through the window-glass. We wake up in the morning in the soft light of the dawn. We can see Moon-light at night from our bed. The drops of rain enter into the room through the open window even during a little rainfall. We can see from the room the various formations of clouds. Sometimes we can hear the loud sound of thunder. The house has also a charming flower garden.
There is a beautiful garden of grapes at the main door of ‘Cherrini Schloss’. The sweet grapes are within the reach of the hand. There is a thick forest beside the house. In the forest many kinds of unknown birds play with the wild cats and in the trees. As it is the famous tourist spot, thousands of people gather here everyday. The most beautiful corners of the city can be seen from the Clock tower. Our homesickness is low after we see these. The natural environment of this place always keeps us delighted. We have passed about two months in Graz, a place of natural beauty.
On July 19, 2010 from, I received a mail from Luise Grinschgl. She is a worker of Kulturvermittlung Steiermark. She informed me tells me that a cultural organization has organized a `Mountain Program’. Are we interested (my family) to take part in this program? I thought, we have not yet walked up the mountain. There is a big similarity between the valleys and the nature around. The nature-lovers join such kind of programs.
I have never taken part in this type of program in my life. However, I agreed to take part my wife and child. So I sent my ok to her.
Luise informed me the program-organizer would send me detail information. The Organizer of the Mountain program is ‘Der grazer Kunstverein’. Luise Kloos, the Director of this Organization phoned me. She informed me about the program. A group of artists from many countries would take part in this program. I am included an author in the group and is to be ‘Seetaler Alpen’ from July 26 to 30. I , my wife Farhana and son, Fiman have started to join the Mountain program on 26 july from the ‘Cherrini Slooss’.
From the Tram-station, Luise Kloos has taken us in car to Luise’s house. Andriz and other six fine artists from Croatia and Britain were present there. The Croatians were Nica, Josef, Martina and British were Nancy, Tim and Rawley. We took tea and started for „Seetaler Alpen“ at 6.15pm. Under the leadership of Luis close the number participants were ten including my child Fiman. Three cars began to run fast. We were Luise’s car. Luise has drives car very carefully and heartily. Nica and Josef have followed her. Green forests were in both the sides of the road. Something in distance, we have visualized as a fort. .
We reached at ‘Huette (Hut)’. It was the place of our residence, a small cottage, made of wood. Such kinds of cottages are generally made for the Summer season. From outside it seemed, it was not possible to sleep nine adult persons in this small cottage. After the entry, my doubt was gone. There was a big bed room in the first floor of the two storied cottage. Toilet-bathroom, kitchen and dining room were all attached to this cottage. There were also some small bed room up stare.
The cottage was in the inner part of the valleys. The weather was very cold. But a fine hitting system was there. We have gathered there, the people of different culture and environment from Austria, Britain, Croatia and Bangladesh. We were to sleep in the first floor of the cottage and for others were is in the upper floor. Next day at 11.30 am we had our breakfast and started for rising the mountain. I walked with my son Fiman on my shoulder.
There were green jungle and different kinds of trees. The cattle were grazing on the green field. The rings around the shoulders of the animals rang with their movements. There were crowds of nature-lovers on the sides of the road. There were heaps of earth, stones and the fountain here and there. Farhana felt pain to walk. But Martina accompanied and encouraged her. We crossed the path in two hours amidst many calamities. After that we had a short interval.
There was a small Bar named “Hothaidenhuette”.We had our lunch there. The Bar worker Cristina served us drinks according to our liking. After lunch we could gather some energy again. The struggle for rising the highest part of the mountain began again. The goal was to rise up at“Zirbitzkogel”. After walking half an hour from Hothaidenhuette, Luise told me that Farhana could not go further with us up to the apex. She was tired with pains in her feet.
We have decided that Farhana would have to go back to the cottage. After that Farhana, Fiman and some others returned to cottage. Luise. Nika and I began to rise up to “Zirbitzkogel”. The apex is 2394 meter from the plane. We were walking through rough path. I became enchanted seeing the natural beauty. Sometimes I felt an urge to take photographs and also to take moving pictures in video. I had no experience of climbing a mountain. Naturally I was left behind. At a time Nika and Luise went far beyond my eyes. Then I became anxious.
I thought that the desire of my climbing in the mountain would not be fulfilled. But I began walking to reach the apex of „Zirbitzkogel”. Sometimes it seemed to me that the joints of my knee would be broken. I felt pain in my shoulder and legs. My lips became fractured for the cold wind. I felt thirsty. But I did not lose courage and mental strength. Lastly I reached at “Zirbitzkogel” at 4.30 pm. I could touch cloud with my hand. I got the chance to enjoy the natural beauties from there.
My mind was filled up with peace observing the scenery. There was a small bar at “Zirbitzkogel”. The bar was operated by the aged pair, Frang and Malita. I drank my favorite Bier. Franz told me that near about two thousand people used to gather here in a week. That day, July 27, till 16.30 pm there were about three hundred people did arrive here. Franz and Malita had to climb up the mountain two hundred times a year to maintain the bar! In summer, every where in the valleys are dark green. The overlapping of the clouds and the valleys make a wonderful scene. In winter everything in the valleys become white with snow and ice. The scenes of the valleys attract the nature-loving people.
Now, the time was to return from „Zirbitzkogel”. We took a new path. Luise kloos found the more attractive way to return to the cottage. From the apex, strait below, there were beautiful lake and fountain. But I could not move my legs. Before going down to the lake, I took a little rest sitting in the green woods. Then we started walking, it had no end! Around us there were forests, jungle, grass, flowers and fountains. A blowing breeze was created on the confrontations of the heads of the long trees of the big thick forest. They were hit by the air. Sometimes I heard chirping of various kind of birds.
The scene of the sun set, the sound of water flowing from the fountain, had an immense attraction. The nature and the animals surroundings received us with plenty of love. Luise and Nika again went far away. I could not see them. I was alone on the way. There was no sign of life! Darkness was coming near. Big forests were on the both side of the path. I became very frightened. I was walking with being afraid. But the path seemed to be much longer! Sometimes birds chirped. Then I got my courage back. At last Huette came in the front. I was out of fear and hesitation. I reached at the cottage at 7.45pm. About one hour before, Luise and Nika came back.
At the cottage I felt a big pain my body. It was my first such experience. Kind e Martina gave me pain killer tablet. In the deep sleep, I could not realize when the sun rose in the next morning. For some reasons, we were late to go out on July 28. We were all tired. After breakfast, our team was divided into two groups. Josef, Tim and Nika were in one group. Luise, Martina, Nancy, Rolley and I were in another. But Farhana and Fiman stayed in the cottage. Walking with Fiman was very difficult. That day’s program was to visit the lake near Naturfreundes Haus. We finished our lunch at “Hothaidenhuette”. We reached at „Naturfreundes Haus“ after walking a long time through the forest.
There was a beautiful lake beside Naturfreundes Haus. We started to see it the second lake after drinks. It was more beautiful. We all bathed there in cold water. From Naturfreundes Haus, we returned to the cottage by car. We went to visit Benediktinerstift St. Lambrecht Museum on July 29. The weather was bad. It was not possible to go anywhere. The Museum Officer Mr. P. Gerwig Romirer showed us the whole museum. There were many significant articles of arts and culture in the museum. We finished our lunch at the park near the Museum. It had been raining heavily. As a result we were bound to back to “Huette”. We driank bear at the “Huette” bar.
Young Cloudia, the worker of the bar told me that about 200 people come here to drink and had their meals everyday. There were 14 rooms for the tourists. All the rooms are booked at the weekend. Additional rooms are needed for some weekend. Luise Kloos had taken foods and drinks with him for a week. Everyday many people gathered there and took part in lovely gossipings. Cooking for night meal were done as in a picnic.
One evening Luise prepared special and tasty item of foods and also did the same in another evening. Rolley, Tim, Nancy, and Farhana helped Luise in cooking. A function of songs was arranged one night after dinner. Nancy sang English song and Farhana Bangla folk. The function was a total success!
July 30 the last day of climbing on the mountain, we got out of the cottage by car. Then we went to Naturefreundes Haus. Farhana and Fiman remained there, because, they were sleeping. We others went to visit the third lake.
As we rose up the mountain, the clouds touched our bodies. Form that peak down to the ground, we found a big lake. Truly, this lake was divine-beautiful. The great mixture of chanting lake with clouds, valleys attracts any person who would be there! There were indications on the trees, in the forests and in the valleys, shadows of living beings! Here none should be loud. It is forbidden. The animals could be afraid of. The path was marked by the rings on the trees.. They are for the tourists and the nature-lovers so that they do not lose their ways.
Next day July 31, we have visited Kunst House in the island of Graz city. With this sight-seeing, we have finished our tour. This mountain Program will be a living memory in my life. Thanks a lot to Luise Grinschgl and Luise Kloos.
Translated from original Bengali to English by Md. Selim Uddin, Principal of a college in Panchagarh of Bangladesh.
Nature with clouds and valleys
November 8, 2010 by Euro Bangla for Peace and Human Rights edited by Jahangir Alam Akash