ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER HOMETOWN. HOW TO GET TO.
Speaking about Arnold Schwarzenegger Hometown and Museum, we mean his birthplace in Thal Austria. Thal, a small rural village near Graz city is a part of Styria Bundesland on the southeast of Austria. The bus is the cheapest way to get there from Vienna. I’ve taken FlixBus from Westbahnhof station in Vienna at 8.30 a.m. (the earliest one). You cannot miss this big green bus on FelberStraBe street just near the railway station. The Vienna-Graz destination is on a daily basis. The journey will take you 2 hours and 25 minutes.
The bus from Vienna arrives in Graz 200 meters away from the main city square, called Jakominiplatz. You will just need to find local bus № 40 – it stops just in front of Macdonald’s. It runs approximately every 20 minutes. You go inside the bus and buy a ticket from the driver – the appropriate one is called Stunden Cart – it means that you can use and switch transport within one hour. It will be enough to get to Thal Austria, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hometown.
We run till the final stop Goesting (with this bus №40) – about 20-25 minutes’ way. Ten meters ahead we see another bus stop №48. It runs every apr. 40 minutes. This bus route has two versions. They both go to Talersee. In one case, as a final stop and another one – transit. In any case, to get to Thal we need to make a stop at Talersee. You can’t miss it – you will see the Talersee lake twenty meters ahead. So, we have already got to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hometown birthplace and just 5 minutes from Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum.
TALERSEE LAKE AND ARNOLD’S EARLY YEARS
Talersee is a beautiful lake in Thal Austria, where Arnold Schwarzenegger grew up. We can see the tree-store building just next to the bus stop and on the very bank of a lake. It includes a hotel and “Talersee” café-restaurant with a magnificent view over the lake and forest. Another site of the place is a boat rental station on the right hand, where you can take a boat and take a ride over the lake. The most tourist-known site here can be noticed from a distance. In 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger took a boat here and moved to the center of the lake with Maria Shriver, his girlfriend and proposed her to become his wife. This memorable boat is called “Boot des Verspechens» (Boat of promise). There are some small benches to rest and satisfy picturesque panorama. Most tourists and locals prefer an on-foot walk.
It is a real pleasure to walk all-around the Talersee lake – such a tour will take you lazy hour. Stunning views, calm and peaceful atmosphere, benches, people of all ages, also with dogs. At the very beginning of this route, local authorities have once renewed and old training site on the bank of a lake. This open-air site was passionately described by Arnold in his books on bodybuilding and his “Total recall” memoir. He used to perform workouts here with local guys and even with Kurt Marnul, former bodybuilding champion of Austria. They competed with each other and tried to make an impression on girls. The road around the lake is circled and will lead you back to the restaurant and boat rental station.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER MUSEUM
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s birthplace, his home in Thal, is just five minutes aside from the Talersee lake. A kind of serpentine road starts next to the rental boat station. In the first corner, we can see a giant yellow robot, which looks like Bumblebee from «Transformers». Picturesque Austrian rural atmosphere seems not to be changed for the last fifty years, except modern cars and solar batteries on the roofs. This walk with only two road corners makes a strong impression and it is easy to visualize how Arnold used to walk here years ago. Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum and a former house are located on a kind of a hill. Small clean parking place, three bio-toilets and few memorable billboards and flags. Just in front of the entrance tourists all over the world can try a triceps cable machine inside a box, which looks like a telephone cabin, covered with photos of Arnold in his shape. You can choose an appropriate weight and pay attention to the caution for children. Former Arnold Schwarzenegger House of yellow color, where he and his family used to accommodate the second floor, is now completely turned to Arnold Museum.
Once you get into the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum, you will face multiple souvenirs for tourists that may become a notable personal reminder of a trip. Movie posters with Arnold, Frisbee, t-shirts, shower towels, cups, and beer stein, pens, bottles of wine, trinkets, Terminator T-800 plastic models. And also Arnold’s books both in English and German: «Evolution of a bodybuilder» and «Total recall: My unbelievable true story». It’s enjoyable that all purchasing here is packed in a symbolical package with Arnold’s face. Ticket to enter and visit the whole exhibition of Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum now costs 9 euros (September 2017). Exposition occupies both the first and second floor of a building on Linakstraße 9.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum in Thal Austria is symbolically divided into topics and periods of Arnold’s life and personal development. Arnold Schwarzenegger Birthplace and youth. We can visit the former kitchen where the family used to gather and where Arnold used to have his calories to gain muscles within the first years of training. Arnold enthusiastically described their first fridge in his book. Authentically toilet of the 1960s as a part of Museum exposition with an old newspaper. Rooms with bed and some lifting equipment with exceptional rarities of Arnold youth. Multiple photos now cover the walls – the same ones that used to be covered with strongmen and bodybuilders of the past, which had motivated Arnold Schwarzenegger to become the greatest bodybuilder of all time. For example, posters with Reg Park.
We also see the school board with some thematic markings, depicting Arnold’s school period in Thal Austria. Open locker with army uniform of the same period when Arnold did his service in the 1960s. Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum in Thal is also famous for its full-size statues. One of them, made of vax, depicts Arnold in his competing shape in the 1970s in his posing trunks with famous front double biceps pose. Thus and so this particular part of Arnold Schwarzenegger House describes us youth and bodybuilding past of Arnold – from a burning desire to build muscles when he was fourteen to the titles of Mister Olympia and the status of the sports icon. It is of additional interest to observe Arnold’s real prizes and medals. Rare tablets for tourists ask not to touch so important exhibit items.
Few rooms of Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum are devoted to Arnold’s movie carrier. TV screens show fragments of famous movies: «Pumping Iron», «Conan the Barbarian», «Terminator». The exposition includes rarities – stage property from the real sets which will be given to Arnold as a gift. The wooden box keeps the sword of Conan – the very one used in a famous movie. And the manikin wears a leather sheriff jacket from “The last stand” (2013) and a revolver and t-shirt are stored nearby. You will be impressed with two full-size models. T-800 skeleton made of plastic and metal and. Of course, Arnold’s iconic model from «Terminator 2», after all injuries received. Another significant artifact of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum is to be a bike – the same one, we saw in «Terminator 2: Judgment day». Arnold, as an icon of this Museum, sometimes visits Thal Austria and his former house.
The third subject of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum in Thal Austria is devoted to his political carrier and his public activities. It is a means of great interest to find oneself in a décor of the Governor’s cabinet. It includes real Arnold’s furniture, brought here from Los-Angeles. Big screens demonstrate fragments of public interviews and speeches. Another vax manikin depicts Arnold as a Governor of California state in the USA. You can make as many photos as you want.
WALKING AROUND THAL
After visiting all the rarities of the Arnold Museum on Linakstraße 9, I’ve decided to make some journey around Thal between rate homes and green fields. Just out 100 meters ahead, I’ve noticed two young dears, who crossed the field to the forest and symbolized magnificent nature. A circled route can be fulfilled within one hour with a few authentic Austrian rural streets. I’ve visited local Thal cemetery but failed to find Gustav and Maynard Schwarzenegger graves – they were probably buried in Graz. The next memorable site is St. James Kirche, which Arnold used to attend with his mother Aurelia. Thal Volksschule across the road – a place, where Arnold spent his youth. Then the road alongside forest will lead you back to the Arnold Schwarzenegger birthplace, his home and then to Talersee lake. These 4 hours, spent here were exceptionally emotional and memorable. It motivates us to move forward, to develop. to think outside the box, as Arnold likes to say.
After finishing my planned routes and one more look at Arnold’s house, I’ve waited for the same bus № 48, which previously brought me here and than №40 in Goesting. It was one of the best days of my life and I’m willing forward to come to Thal again.