Cellar it

Trip Start Jul 17, 2011
Trip End Dec 20, 2011

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Flag of Austria  , Lower Austria,
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Austria, there are good cellars and bad cellars. Example: bad cellars are where Josef Fritzl puts his daughter for 24 years. Bad cellars are where crazy Austrian woman buries her husband and lover. Bad cellars are where Austrian kids now play a game where they search peopleīs cellars. And actually find more dead bodies. You gotta love the fact that Austrian kids are running about finding dead bodies for fun when Australians are just planking.

But how about good cellars. Wine cellars.

Today was devoid of culture, architecture, art and other highbrow activities. It was to be a day of drinking and cycling. Probably not activities that are recommended at the same time. Especially in the pouring rain. But itīs got to be better than being buried in a cellar.

Early this morning we headed out with our guide to the Danube valley, Wachau. It is home to some pretty outstanding wineries, where we started tasting already by 11am at the Lagler winery in Spitz. It was a cozy affair as we got stuck into a selection of Rieslings, Gruner Vetliner and Neuburger, and big glasses at that. The Neuburger was from the īhill of 1,000 bucketsībecause they it is such a special place where very little wine is harvested but it is of a very high quality. Quickly it dawned on our ever so slightly fuzzy brains that we would have to cycle shortly. And that the rain was constant and rather heavy. Delightful.

But rain or not, there is something really special about cycling beside with Danube with the craggy mountains covered with vineyards rising above on either side. The rain created a ethereal mist making this feel like Gorillas were going to come marching out at any moment.

Arriving at Marg Hermeregild for lunch we enjoyed three more wines and respite from the wild weather. When remounting my bike I found a confidence on the machine that was worrisome. The alcohol was numbing my fear and I was unsure if this was a positive or not.

Luckily our next stop was to the village of Durstein to check out the local apricot products. Apparently they planted a whole lot of apricots one year when the harvest was a dud. They got a bit excited and now they practically have a glut of the stuff. They make everything with apricots including spirit, jam, chocolate, soaps and candles. The apricot mustard was the most unique product. Durstein is also home to ruins of the castle jail that Richard the Lionheart was housed in by his friend King Leopold. Some friend. But amazing views which might have been consolation enough to Dick because he didnīt leave Austria when finally Leo let him out. Instead he stayed to drink and kick back, no worries that he was the King of England. But I empathise as that was pretty much the view of our group today as well.

Next we were onto the most well known of the Wachau wineries, Domane Wachau. Of all the hundreds of wineries in the area they are the only one that exports and ships wine. All the rest of the wine is made in small lots that is whipped up by keen local connoisseurs. Apparently there is a big problem with the local population and alcoholism. Well I say always trust wine from a village where the locals drink it to excess. Itīs got to be good. Prost! 
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