Tuesday 9th August 2005
Today I had one of the best days of my trip so far.
I went on the Grape Grazing
Tour in Vienna with Mitch's Tours.
A full day from 9.30am to 7.00pm cycling through wineries in the Wachau Valley in Austria!!
Tasting wine and liqueur and schnapps and swimming in the Danube!!
Was a top day!!
I am a little tired now - I have been up since about 4.30am.
But wait for the diary for that story - I don't want to spoil it for you! (see below)
Oh, and I ran into a guy called Wes at the hostel bar today who I spent my time in Lisbon with - what a small world!!
......and now to The Diary
The bus back was fairly empty so we had a seat to ourselves which was really nice.
At the hostel we ran into Kiwi
Helen (from Prague and Cesky) and decided to go to Centimetres
Our meal came in a wheelbarrow!! - but was delish!!
A few of the girls went to town but I went back to the hostel.
We had a snorer but then it got worse - at about 4.30am!!
He sat up in the top bunk and vomited over the edge and all over the stuff of the girl below him - GROSS!
She was leaving at 6.00am so there was nothing she could do!!
Poor thing was very calm - I definitely wouldn't have taken it so well!!
Anyway, there wasn't much sleeping to be done after that so I went and did my washing at 5.30am.
The guy at hostel reception also gave me a free drink voucher for the bar - how nice.
Despite the 'shit night' I had a great day.
I did the "Bike Riding Grape Grazing Tour" in the Wachau wine region outside Vienna.
We got picked up at 9.30am
and driven to our first winery which commenced operation in 1002.
We did a bit of a tour and tasted three wines.
We then jumped on our bikes and headed off.
The scenery was beautiful.
The vines were stepped up into
the hills and the rock walls holding them were built around 1000-1300.
They were so old.
The next stop was another little village where we climbed up a huge hill to an old Castle where King Richard The Lionheart was held hostage by the Austrians after the Crusades.
The views from up there were
amazing and I got some great shots.
Then it was down to a liqueur house.
I tasted Apricot, Apple and Cinamon, and Egg.
The egg was by far the best and I even made a purchase!
This place also made jam and my favourite was the apricot and dark chocolate.
Apricots are the second largest crop in the area so there is a lot of apricot stuff around.
We then cycled off to lunch.
The scenery was amazing and it was nice to be out of the city for a while.
We got to the next place and
the owner had just been given his licence to brew schnapps so
we were able to watch.
Adam our guide cooked us our barbeque lunch - it was so nice!! - and we had more wine and some walnut schnapps.
That was gross!!
The owner picked fresh blackberries and gave them to us to eat - they were good.
Then we watched the schnapps
It was apricot of course and we got to taste it on its first run through - it was about eighty-percent alcohol and was really strong!!
I couldn't finish mine but it was good to see it being made the old fashioned way.
Then it was back on the bikes
to the river for a swim.
I was the only one who went in - it was the Danube!! - I had too!!
Everyone else snoozed for a while and I joined them after my swim.
Then it was off to our third
and final winery.
The wines that we had were all really nice but I didn't feel the need to purchase.
It was just so nice to be out
in the fresh air.
It was a fairly quiet night that night - we were all pretty stuffed!!
I got up the next day and walked into town.
I got to the ring road and wandered around it past The Museum of Natural History which is a lovely building.
I walked to Rathausplatz which is the town hall where they were having a free movie/dvd showing that night as the opera is in its off season.
I then went to Hofburg Palace which is where the Vienna Boys Choir and the Spanish Horses perform but they were both in their off season too.
I then wandered up to Stephansplatz
and went up the Tower of Stephansdom.
It had great coloured tiles on it which looked excellent up close.
Then came the part of the day
I had been saving myself for - Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher.
On the bus in our guide had asked if anyone had had Sacher Torte before.
I said I had and she then said that you haven't had a real one until you have had it at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna.
So off I went.
I took a seat at the counter
I ordered a piece of the cake and a coffee with cream.
The cake was amazing and the coffee was good too.
I hadn't realised that the jam in the middle was apricot jam but being in Austria I guess it makes sense!
They went through six cakes while I was sitting there!!
I sat and savoured it and wrote
a postcard to Mum!!
I can't believe that after having the cake with Mum at Cairns Central Shopping Centre that I was now having it at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, Austria!!
I stole an astray too!!
Then I walked back to the hostel.
I had dinner at the hostel and then a group of us went back into the town hall for the Film Festival.
We watched a classical concert from 1985.
I really enjoyed it and the setting was lovely.
We caught the train back ready
for the bus to Salzburg.
Vienna is one of my faves so far.
The winery tour and cake and film festival - BRILLIANT!