11 July 2011

Spitz and Durenstein, Austria: The hills are alive...

Today, Janine and I got out of Vienna, and went 1.5 hours northeast to the Wachau Valley...wine country!  The valley runs for 35 km (22 mi) along the Danube, and is world-renowned for producing the grapes that make Austria's excellent white wines.  Interestingly enough, only one winery out of the forty-some in the area exports their wine anywhere; all of the rest of the wines have to be purchased locally.  Quaint little towns along the river with traditional architecture, lots of bikes, and hills just filled with terraced vineyards made this quite a picturesque place to spend our day. We tasted wine at three different places along our journey.  We also tasted the local schnapps, chocolates, and jams--all of which were made out of the apricots that are grown everywhere in the valley--at a fourth location.  It was all delicious!

We road our bicycles between stops, and actually ended up covering about half (17km/11 mi) of the valley.  I know, I know, bikes and wine are probably not a good mix...but no one got hurt, I promise :-)  The picture above is along the bike path that winds through the vineyards, and you can see the terraced vines growing on the hills behind me.  We had just gone swimming in the Danube (we had to change on the beach--quite the feat!), which is why my hair is all wet.

In Durnstein, we climbed to the ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionhearted, king of England in the twelfth century (the Robin Hood king), was held for a few months.  The ruins were in ruins, but the view of the valley from the top was absolutely spectacular.  I felt like I was in the Sound of Music--it was awesome!


grandma feldt said...

what beautiful country, looks cooler too. is it?Love ya

linda feldt said...

dad says hi! Wine, biking, swimming, more ruins sounds like a marvelous Monday in the country. How tasty was the white wine?