Unexpected smokiness in Graz

In terms of its restaurants, Graz had one unpleasant surprise: smoking was allowed almost everywhere, and few places seemed to have a no-smoking section. We hadn’t thought about it when we first arrived, because there was certainly no smoking in the organic vegan restaurant where we ate. In the cafĂ© where we later had a hot chocolate, there was a separate, sealed room for the smokers, so we didn’t even notice they were smoking.

But most of the restaurants we visited on our second time around reeked of stale tobacco smoke. On the first night of our two-night second visit, we ended up going to a grocery store, buying some excellent and cheap fresh-made sandwiches, and eating in our hotel room.

So on our last night in Graz, it took us most of an hour to find a non-smoking restaurant which, ironically, we had passed up earlier as looking like a place they’d allow smoking.

I’m not someone who has a grudge against smokers. I used to be one myself and, for a while, I enjoyed it. But what I enjoy even more is going out and not having my clothes reek of tobacco after a dinner or a drink.

We were quite surprised at the prevalence of smoking in restaurants and bars in Graz. Even Slovenia either did not allow smoking or kept smokers in a separate room. Austria seemed an unlikely holdout against the right to breathe clean air.

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