Graz Interview #3 – Katcha

Interviews with locals and expats offering their own perspectives & recommendations for living in the lovely city of Graz.

I would like to introduce you to the fabulous eco designer Katcha Bilek. Having lived all over Europe, Katcha is now settled in Graz. She is passionate about human rights and the environment (as well as yoga and skiing!). She founded her own business making very cool handbags out of recycled inner tubes, and recently added a cheeky range of jewellery ‘Dangly Bits

During the current corona crisis she is working on her BraFace project – making unique masks out of upcycled bras for €20 each and donating all the proceeds to a great cause the Frauenhäuser Steiermark​ (women’s shelters in Styria). Did you know that the abuse hotline has received 50% more calls since the lockdown began? The collection can be found at the design shop ​Kwirl​, Mariahilferstrasse 11 or you see her designs on-line and contact her on the following: 0670 2042077

Katcha is a fun wild spirit and loves the outdoors, parties, good food and living life to the full with her two kids and partner. I’m very pleased that she kindly agreed to share some of her favourite places and thoughts about living in Graz.

Welcome Katcha!

What do you enjoy most about living in Graz?

I love the pace and the quality of life in Graz. It’s so laid back, it’s a good-looking city and it’s easy to get out into breath-taking countryside. People here are really quite lovely, once you get to know them.

What was your biggest challenge or culture shock after moving here? 

My biggest and only shock was how long it took me to get to know Austrians. I’ve lived in quite a few different countries throughout my life, and I’m very gregarious;  I’ve never had any difficulties in that department. They have a hard outer shell but they’re real softies inside.

How does Graz differ to your hometown/country?

OK this is hard for me to answer, because I’ve lived all over.. Let’s just say that I was living in Bristol, UK for nine years before I moved to Graz, but I’m a central European girl at heart. So I’m attracted to living in Altbaus, lakes and forests, mountains, snow and skiing. Bristol was grey, damp and rainy a lot of the time. It was chaotic, vibrant, busy and multicultural… and a complete mess. Graz seems almost sterile in comparison, but everything runs so smoothly that it’s easy to get used to 😉

What are your favourite places to eat / hang out / relax?

Hmmm, where to start? OK, a simple pleasure: the farmer’s market. It’s where I buy nearly all of my food. It’s a great place to get to know people, speak German, and learn more about local food and food production. A one-stop foodie/culture place. My local and favourite market is on Kaiser Josef Platz, but Lendplatz is also very popular. A simple hang-out: Herz Jesu Kirche! It’s a really lovely place to chat with friends while the kids run around. A perfect weekend: A day skiing or at one of the nearby Therme in the winter. A day on a lake (any!) in the summer. Oh, and outdoor pools all week long! Autumn is reserved for walks and Buschenschanks in Südsteiermark. Wonderful!

We’re an active family & love the surrounding countryside. Favourites Buschenschanks are Bockmoar (nearby, lovely view, big plates) we go for a swim in Wildon first. Likewise with Posch, near Stubenberg Badesee. Spend the day swimming then go up to Posch for the spectacular views, lovely food & friendly vibes. Steinberghof is on the border to Slovenia – it’s really special, I should really keep it a secret 🙂 Go for a beautiful walk first. Another swim & dine option is at Riegersburg Badesee: swim & dine with a great view of the castle. The restaurant is really good. Finally Haberl & Fink‘s near Ilz. It’s special, try to get a babysitter for that one 😉

When we do buy food out in Graz we are more interested in the quality of the food rather than the look of the restaurant. These three places are our go-to: Best pizza at Pizzata. Best handmade noodles at Panda. Best Thai at Easy Asia. Then for drinks you’ll find me at Locals, Cafe Wolf or on Lendplatz.

For more personal recommendations you can read my other interviews here.

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