Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wolkersdorf and Vienna

 We arrived in Austria last Tuesday (May 19), and though our home in Wolkersdorf (outside of Vienna) did not have Internet service, it was essentially perfect in every other way, and we were thankful to get to stay there for a whole week. It was a large three bedroom home, with plenty of room for us to spread out, including a lovely little yard for the kids to run around in. But the very best part was that our landlords and neighbors took us in as family, and we will not forget their many kindnesses to us. We truly felt at home during our stay here and were a little sad to say goodbye this morning, as we continued on to Hungary.

Our fabulous house in Wolkersdorf--the front on the left, the back on the right

On our first night, the craving for Mexican food finally became too much,
so we raided the local grocery store and were able to put together some decent soft tacos.

We visited a couple of heurigens (wine taverns), this large one in Vienna,
where we sampled a variety of local fare, including schnitzel, apple strudel, topfenstrudel,
and, of course, the wine. We also visited a much smaller one our neighbors took us to in a nearby village.

As an early birthday gift, we gave Ruth tickets to the morning exercises at the Spanish Riding School
in Vienna, where we saw the beautiful Liperzaner stallions strut their stuff.
Our tickets also included a tour of the amazing palatial facilities.
We all had fun, but Ruth declared it her "favorite birthday gift [she] has ever received!"

These ruins from the Roman Empire have been unearthed just outside the riding school,
in the heart of Vienna. They date back to the 6th century.

One night, we had a great party in our neighbor's wine cellar.
From the street, you go down a flight of stairs and enter into the room pictured on the right,
which houses an enormous wine press that the room was built around.
Another flight of stairs takes you down into the room pictured on the left,
and then another flight of stairs takes you further down beneath the earth.
It was a very cool (in every sense of the word!) space and a really fun time!

We had a nice visit to the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, though we didn't tour the inside.
We focused our attention on the gardens and labyrinths and playground.
We also indulged with some coffee and sachertorte in the cafe, and Clay was enamored with
the living statue of Mozart, though a bit too shy to get his picture made with it.

The weather was rainy and cold most of the week, but yesterday it was gorgeous,
so we went for a long walk with our neighbor through the country and then had a barbecue
with she and her family in the evening. We walked for a couple of hours, passing through
some beautiful farmland and a couple of neighboring villages, including "the village without chimneys,"
which is comprised almost entirely of wine cellars. We saw Regina's huge Shire horse and her friend's 14-day old colt, as well as a wide variety of other farm animals. The sweet white elderflowers scented the air, and we learned that they make a syrup from them that tastes like it smells. The vineyards and other flowers and crops were also lovely. 

 *You can click on the pictures and collages to see the pictures larger. Since I'm writing about the whole week in one post, I decided it made more sense to condense the pictures into something more manageable.

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