Last week, for the first time in my life, I got to visit amazing Styria, birthplace of the Styrian Oak, in eastern Austria.

Suggested song: What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

I was there on business. And while this evokes the image of stressed out business consultants commuting to some drab conference room in the early hours of the morning, business travel offers an amazing (read: paid) opportunity to get a glimpse at a location. An appetiser for some future leisure trip. This september, my colleagues and I did so on a trip to Austria.

To read a bit more about how I plan and approach business trips, you can find that in this post on how to make business travel an adventure appetiser.

The gates at Frankfurt Airport
The gates at Frankfurt Airport in the morning.

A quick one-hour flight got me and my colleagues, or rather friends,  to Graz, Austria. The sun was shining, the weather balmy, and we were going there because we were nominated for an innovation award. The day was going to be long and this was a business trip. But here’s the thing: Whenever I get to travel, it’s a privilege.

And being afforded this privilege, I make it my mission to enjoy it as much as possible. This means, making at least a little bit of time for enjoyment. So, before tending to our responsibilities, we picked up the rental car and headed into Graz. The town is beautiful, filled with fin-de-siecle architecture and people strolling leisurely. And, as you may be aware, if you are in Austria, it is your duty to have coffee and cake. We did! Sachertorte (well, actually a Viennese specialty — close enough) and a big cup of Melange.

 

A perfect appetiser — the sights and the cake — digested, we headed towards Bad Radkersburg. The landscape is beautiful, perfect roadster country. The region, Upper Styria, extends towards the Slovenian border; rolling hills, picturesque villages, and rich green pastures were gliding by the car window on the way to the spa town of Bad Radkersburg. The little town itself is sedate, beautiful and seems perfect for a long weekend to spend strolling around and enjoying the hot springs. Well, I was there on business, so no spa treatments for me. But, I made up my mind to come back some time for a relaxed, romantic weekend escape.

 

The rest of the day went perfectly. Stéphane won the innovation award, the banquet had us sample amazing local food and wine, and the networking opportunities were everything we had hoped for. A short business trip to Styria  provided a pleasant glimpse of a location that I will be back to explore more of. Make a bit of spare time to get a taste for a place, even when spare time is limited!

 

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