Winter in New Zealand is naturally a slower time for millinery – so what better time for a few weeks in Europe.
My 5 1/2 weeks trip to Austria is only a few hours away and the excitement is growing. So many plans, so many things to see. Starting off in Vienna – down to Styria – up to the Czech border – Czech Republic / Prague – down to the Wachau Valley – back to Vienna – hopefully over to Budapest….and who knows where else.
Vienna has sooooo much to offer – I don’t think one could run out of things to explore and see, I so love this city. The perfect place to wander and getting lost in small streets amongst old buildings. My bucket list is quite long by now and who knows how many more things will be added to it.
Graz and Styria – my breeding ground – taking my daughter there again will make me re visit lots of childhood haunts.
the medieval Dürnstein Castle Ruins – the famous site of the imprisonment of the English King Richard the Lionheart , Aggstein Castle with it’s breath taking views over the Danube are but a few points we will revisit this time.
The valley is of course a famous wine growing region established during the medieval period of the Roman settlements but equally well known for it’s apricots. Lucky for us we will be there in time for the harvest and we will no doubt gorge ourselves on those delicious globes. One of the most loved dishes – Marillenknödel – will be on the menu. Apricots are de stoned – a lump of sugar is placed inside and the apricot is enveloped in a potato based dough. They are then cooked in simmering water and rolled in a butter and breadcrumb mix. Sprinkle with icing sugar and devour. Heaven!
Another thing on the ‘to do’ list is mushroom foraging! One of the things I miss in New Zealand is the variety of wild mushrooms and going out into the forest to try and find these tasty fungi is a lot of fun…especially if the weather is right for it: warm weather with recent rain…boom….
Coming home with a basket as full as this makes for a delicious meal – good knowledge of what’s edible and what’s poisonous is a must – and there are lots of very edible treasures to be found.
Walking and biking will be a big part of our mode of transport – not least to counteract the effects of all the calories ingested during this time. Austria is famous for its pastries and coffee house culture and we will indulge. The Viennese Coffee House is an institution and listed as “Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Austrian inventory of the “National Agency for the Intangible Cultural Heritage”, a part of Unesco. Coffee is said to have been brought to Vienna during the Turkish sieges in the 17th Century. The ‘Kipferl” , the ancestor of the croissant, is also said to stem from that time, the shape representing the Islamic crescent and commemorating the defeat of the Ottomans.
And of course I will look out for all things hats and millinery. Fortuna has arranged for a hat exhibition in Vienna to be visited and I hope to have some lucky finds at one or two antique fairs.
So for now……