Trip Start Jan 13, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Austria  ,
Sunday, September 11, 2005

Vienna, Austria. This is an ongoing entrey since I will be living here for the next few months. The Wine Tour which is what most of the pictures are about, was the greatest experience that I've had since I arrived. It was only my second day in Europe and I was researching different adventures to go on before school started a few days later. My hostel roomates reccomended this wine tour that they were going on tommorow and asked if I would like to come. After they finished describing the trip it sounded great and I signed up to go later that day. I had to pay 45 Euro and then 6 Euro for lunch but that covered the entire day and transportation. We left the next morning at 9am from our hostel, and were up along with ten or so other backpackers going on the tour. It was about a two hour drive to our first destination and most of us fell asleep since it was still early in the morning. As our bus motored out of the city and into the expansive vineyards we were greeted by a sprawling green valley that had been cultivated and used for wine growing since biblical times. We departed the bus and wandered into the first winery. It was built into the side of a mountain which helped to keep the wine at a certain temperature while it was fermenting. This was particularly useful when it was built, as refrigerators would not be invented for another couple hundred of years. We tasted two white wines and then one red. Apparently they have been growing white wine in the valley sice roman times and have only recently with in the last fifty years began producing red wines. After we were done chatting and sipping our wine we went into the barn and got our bikes and began our adventure.

The weather was warm and beat down on our faces as we biked along to the second winery. It turned out to be a little shop on the side of this cobble stone street that had been built before America was even founded. The little town was bordered by a river on one side and some small hills on the other. Apparently the hills had helped to shield it from invading armies over the years. Atop the largest hill was the remnants of a castle that Austria had buit to hold King Richard the Lionheart prisoner after he was cought returning from a crusade in Jeruselum. We hiked to the top and enjoyed the cool breezes once we finally made it. I could see from the top the other side of the river and an identical wine field also bordered by a series of steep hills. I could see all the way down the valley and could almost imagine armies hiking down the valley using the river for refreshments.

Once back down at the bottom of the hill we enjoyed the second winery which was more of a liquor place that made an assortment of liquors. I tried some coffee liquors that reminded me of Baileys. We set out again and biked another two or three miles to a small house where we sat around and rested. The group manager fired up the BBQ and we ate some really good ribs and burgers. The bike ride back was quick and it felt really good to be out exercising. When we got back to the bus finnaly we were all exhausted but still in high spirits. We were given a complementary bottle of wine and we split it between the group of us. I opened another bottle and that was also split amongst the group. I was exhausted by the end of the night, but what an amazing time.
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