Kärnten (Carinthia)

The southern most province is Kärnten (Carinthia). There is not much going on here soccer wise, but it is a pretty neat place to visit. For one thing, it's not full of ski resorts. It's also full of right-wing politicians, like semi-neo-Nazi Jörg Haider, whose party caused all of the hulla-balloo in the late 1990s. However, since you won't be involved in the political scene, you can pretty much ignore that. The capital is KLAGENFURT, which also has the only soccer worth speaking of. The town itself is actually quite nice. There are several nice hotels (although I stayed in a dump on the Lidmanskygasse), and the first order of business is to head to Neuer Platz and check out the city symbol, the Lindwurmbrunnen (Dragon Fountain). Some oldtimers were high on mushrooms when they imagined a dragon, so about 400 years ago they built the fountain/statue. It's been around ever since, although every now and then it's needed repairs, like when after WW-II, British soldiers climbed on the tail and broke it off. The dragon myth is supposedly based on the skull of some "wooly, horny rhinocerous" that now languishes in the local Landmuseum. As far as other attractions, on the outskirts of town is the Mini-Mundus, which has model replicas of all sorts of famous buildings. Might be a good place to film "Godzilla vs. Mozart". Also on the outskirts is the University of Klagenfurt, but it's pretty nondescript. If you expecting a typical gigantic American campus with a huge football stadium, you're in for a disappointment. Soccer-wise, there isn't much to offer. The local club is SK Austria Klagenfurt, which has basically struggled in mediocrity. This is of course a must see. If you have time, you can check out the flagship of the Slovenian minority, Slovenski Atletski Klub.

The nearby town of VILLACH used to have a soccer club, Villacher SV, but apparently they merged with Austria Klagenfurt. You have to be quite suspicious of towns that merge away their only reason for existence. For us English speakers, you can have a good laugh when visiting a nearby lake, the Faaker See. Overall, a pleasant town to visit, like most of Austria.

(c) Abseits Guide to Germany : www.abseits-soccer.com