Wednesday, 30 April 2014

My Wine Adventures In Burgenland Continue.

The local Vinothek.

There is a Vinothek in Eisenberg that has been in my peripheral vision every day since we moved here. We have lived here for almost three years and have either driven or walked past it. It is on the road to where we live after all. To be honest, it took me a while to realize what it actually is. Vinothek to me sounded like a bar or possibly a fancy French restaurant.

Asking a trusted source; my parents, what it is, I discovered that it is a co - op of sorts. A place where all the local wine makers sell their wines. Sell them at a reasonable price that is. Even though it is a shop, it gets manned by the various vintners. Imagine being served in your wine cellar / shop by a top vintner. A huge plus. A huge honour. A huge fountain of wine knowledge.

Entering the home - loop of my walk yesterday afternoon ( at about 4.30 ) it took me past this place. A few steps on, I literally stopped in my tracks and went back to the front door. Ostensibly to see the opening times. Looking through the window, I could see the tables were set up and noticed that it was open. Thinking of you dear readers, I ventured in. In my old walking sweats, cap and raincoat to boot.

The vintner on duty was kneeling on the floor checking out some bottles. When he heard me and got up, I saw it was one of the vintners I know. Well, know is a bit of a stretch as I had just had a few words with him at the last Weinkost. But I know that he is one of the Big Kahuna's.

" Hi, I just wanted to see what this place looks like on the inside. A bit of a snoop really! "
" Hello, come in and taste some wine."
Good golly, wow. Of course I put up a bit of a fight and told him that I still had to walk home. That of course was met with a smile and a
" That is even better because you don't have to drive. "
Look, I held out for at least 10 minutes. It was so amazing to see the various wines on display. A great selection of our area. Some of the names on the labels were from neighbours or folk that I know. Awesome, and I meant that literally. When you see the finished product on display looking all fancy and professional, one becomes in awe of the vintner when you meet them at a local do or in the local shop .

This vintner is such a nice guy and to top it off he has just become a new Dad the week before. Such a grand occasion needed to be toasted. Any wine lover out there will know how cool the next part was. Basically all the wines for sale were also there for tasting. He asked me what type of wine I like and he unerringly went for the treasure in the selection. It's not everyday that a vintner chooses the wine for you.

There are quite a few tables in this Vinothek and one can also use it to do a consolidated wine tasting. He told me that they do charge 80 cents per glass of wine tasted. If it was for free, we might all hang out in there permanantely and the poor wine estates would hardly make a profit.

We had a nice conversation and I tasted a local white and a local red wine. Very nice. I dare say that I walked home with a bit of a swagger...

On the 31st of May, they have their " Tag der offenen Tür " basically it means that all wines for sale can be tasted for free. Plus if you buy any bottles, all wines will be less 10 % on that day...Vinothek Eisenberg


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

A Typical Day, A Lovely Day, The Essence Of Life.

Finding joy in the small stuff.

Yesterday a friend asked me what had been happening in my life. At first I felt a bit inadequate because how could I describe to her my gentle & normal day. A day without any shenanigans that usually gets accomplished by the " movers & shakers " of the world. No world changing stuff here.

Isn't it funny how we get clarity of thought after we have mentioned some arbitrary comment? Again, I realized that my life is just dandy. It is a normal & seemingly slow life that is disguised as that sort of life everyone yearns for. A life to have time to enjoy and time to notice the little things.

On Thursday is the 1st of May...Worker's day and this public holiday is the start of a great long weekend of wine - tastings. Our village and vineyards will be teeming with visitors. Visitors who are bound to love their sliver of a glimpse of a different way to live. Naturally they will rediscover our great local wine and will hopefully take back oodles of bottles. Hey, our farmers need to earn a living too...( Here is a link to our local / Gemeinde website of where to go & stay ) .

The following are a selection of images that caught my eye yesterday and I hope you'll enjoy them.

The church in Eisenberg is painted a solid white which makes it stand out against the vibrant emerald green fields and the blue sky.
Framed by the clouds.
Same church during winter. Even then the white colour is a stroke of genius.
What more can I say about my love of wildflowers? Unfortunately these were awaiting their marching orders...they will become hay!
Who is watching whom?
Even though the building is in need of loving care ( it is the pig - sty across the yard and as soon as we have a bit of extra dosh...) putting a simple pot plant on the window sill makes a difference to me. Every time I see it, I feel happy...


Monday, 28 April 2014

It Feels Like I'm An Extra On " Cheers "..

Everyone knows something about almost everyone else.

As you know, we live in a village of about 300 villagers and our district is made up of three more villages with the sum total of just over 1100 people. Not too shabby. Somehow I would have loved to describe our village as a hamlet but alas it can't be done, as each little village has its own church.

There is one priest though for a lot of the districts and maybe the villages where he is not preaching could be stretched into being a hamlet. Gosh, a hamlet is so romantic to imagine. Sundays are rather hectic for this lone priest as he does a few services on the trot. When it comes to confession, I wouldn't be surprised if some parishioners venture further out. To a place with an unknown priest perhaps?

Sunday's apart from being church days, are also days for leisurely breakfasts. Late breakfast. Bob and I are fortunate to have a Tea Room that is open on a Sunday. Most importantly though, they have freshly baked bread rolls and confectionery. A baker in a nearby town brings them around in the morning.

A lot of tradesmen do bring wares by truck. Often you can see the meat wagon ( butcher's van ) on a Friday - he is the only person who hoots, the bakers chariot and the aptly named: Bo Frost! If you haven't guessed it, this is the frozen goods van. We haven't used him yet, but I picture an assortment of frozen vegetables / ice creams etc inside.

Bob has a way of making sure I go for those fresh Sunday bread rolls.

" Schatzi, by the time I am dressed etc, the rolls will be sold out!"
Yes, that would be awful and therefore I go to the shop. At times I combine it with a long Sunday walk but always bearing in mind that the amount of bread rolls is finite.

Standing at the till yesterday, a gal from the other ' hamlet ' was paying for her bounty of fresh rolls. We greeted each other and as I was leaving, she asked me if I had walked all this long way? ( with my trusty step-counter I know that to & fro the Tearoom is 2022 steps. Not so bad, even on a Sunday morning. )

" Oh, don't you live in the Eisenberg Weinberg? That is a long way to walk. "
" No, we did in the beginning, but now we live on the outskirts of Eisenberg village. "
I think that she would have given me a lift home otherwise. But as we were talking in front of the till, the shop owner told her exactly where Bob and I live. To the tee and also who lived there before us...

Right there and then, I could hear the opening bars from

" Cheers; Where Everyone Knows Your Name "
playing in my head. Nothing is a secret here. To be honest though, that is what I love about living in our little Burgenland paradise....

Biggi The Complete Series - The Complete Seasons Box Set [DVD] UK-Import

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A Weekend Of Gifts.

My first orchid, and what a beautiful one.

Living the simpler life in the country is divine. Most folks have their own garden often complete with a chicken coop. Our one neighbour loves his chickens so much, he has created a sort of Chicken - Disneyland. Oh yes, their are slides, water features and a lounge chair or two.

The lounge chairs are for him to sit and watch his happy chickens whilst having a sun - downer. Two years ago a fox came and ate most of his chickens and he decided to create this enclosure to keep the fox out and the chickens happy. His last lot tended to wing it over the fence and one assumes almost into the fox's mouth. Those chickens were dilly because they more or less winged it one after the other.

Once or twice they escaped into our garden and pecked around. Most entertaining to watch, especially when Bob tried to shoo them back to their yard. Do you think that chicken listen? Oh no, they are stubborn as the proverbial mule. Like little children they gave Bob the slip as he herded them back into their yard. Kind of one in...the other one out!

Naturally, now our neighbour's new lot of chickens are happy as can be and fit and flourishing. Bob and I can hear their happy chatter from our bedroom and now and again we get given a six-pack of their eggs. Love it.

On Friday I helped a girl with her English and as I was leaving, her mother gave me a home grown lettuce and a lovely box of freshly laid eggs. Four eggs but rather big ones. There is just something so nice and refreshing to receive such gifts. For starters you can use them ( in fact, we had the lettuce that evening ) and it gives you a warm feeling around the heart.

On Saturday I went for a visit in Höll ( seriously, just visiting ) and as I was leaving after a lovely chat, they gave me an Orchid. But not just a run of the mill Orchid, no, this one is beautiful, purple and mauve and looks happy. Wow, I was tickled pink at such a nice gift.

Orchids are delicate flowers and with great foresight I asked how to take care of it. Like any other flower, I was prepared to give it water once a day. Oh, it turns out that this Orchid needs only a
tot - glass amount of water once a week!
Dear Orchid, that was a close shave for you...


Two years ago: Bob's trying to be a chicken looks as if the hens are bowing before him!
" I'll count to ten, but then I will look for you! "
What are they both looking for?
" I won't tell Bob, if you won't..."
Isn't this a lovely gift to receive. My purple Orchid.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

A Tasty Benefit Of Filtering Red Wine.

The penny drops for me about a House-Wine...

As I have told you recently, any work to do with making wine is fun despite the jolly hard physical aspect of it. We filtered & bottled wine the other day. Each action requires time and a lot of cleanliness. In fact this cleanliness is the major time waster. Yet 100% necessary.

In case you are wondering how one cleans: we only use a high pressure water hose. Only water gets used to clean the wine barrels, filters, pipes etc. No cleaning liquid is used. Gosh, that would be awful and leave a never ending aftertaste vintage after vintage. Imagine getting a whiff of Sunlight liquid with your red wine...?

At the start of any wine activity ( filtering, bottling etc ) the equipment used gets cleaned again. Before & after. Not much fun but what can you do. We had finally set up the filtering paraphernalia and even before we filtered the wine itself, about 100 liters of water got filtered first.
Cleanliness = fabulous wine .

It was rather fun to at first see the water shoot through the pipe and then it started to pink as the first bit of red filtered through. The trick was to know when the last bit of water mix is out of the pipes. Just in case, a big bucket got filled with the deep purple liquid that smelled like heaven. This red wine aroma alone would have switched any white wine lover to red. Once the bucket was filled, the rest of the filtered wine got pumped into its proper home.

After all was done and dusted, cleaned and cleaned again, this bucket of deep purple nectar was filled into about 5 or 6 liter bottles. As you might have guessed, this is what the Garagistes call their " House Wine ". A wine not to be sold but good enough to drink yourself or haul out when friends come over.

As a helper of this wine making process, I got given 4 of those House wines and the other day I cracked a bottle open. Funnily enough, these bottles get closed with a lid similar to a coke bottle. No corking there!

When I took the first sip of this House wine, it was as if a philharmonic orchestra of flavours performed on my tongue. This ordinary house wine was out of this world. The delectable berry note was front and center. The red wine taste was pure and sensual. Overall it had a lightness that made it uncomplicated to have a second or third glass.

A simply divine wine indeed. Can you imagine, what the actual wine tastes like if the house wine
( which is a tad bit diluted with some water ) makes you break out in a song of praise, joy and sheer pleasure at being able to drink wine...

P/S: My Mum is the wine maker / Garagiste! Mum, I bow to you.


Friday, 25 April 2014

Our Village's Elite Birthday Squad Strikes Again!

A stealth unit of a different sort.

My gosh, this year there have been a lot of 50th birthdays in our village. I only know this, because the Birthday Squad struck again. They come out at night under cover of darkness and anonymity. They are our own elite birthday unit.

You should come and move here just for the fun birthday surprises. But only the round ones!
( 30 / 40 / 50...). At first I thought that the family puts up the display. A very public one to boot. Not for the faint of heart because let's face it, when you live here any thought of dropping a few years of your ' number ' are a waste of time. When they drive past your house and spot your real ' number ', good luck explaining that away. Who on earth would believe that the elite squad made a mistake and wrote 50 instead of 40?

When you stumble across this birthday display you can take it as a signal to come and drop in for a piece of cake and a tot of Schnapps. No appointment needed and everyone is welcome. Bob and I spotted a sign like this outside a friend's house. Oh we thought, let's give this a go and visit her.

" Happy Birthday...., I love your display outside. Did your kids do this ? "
" Oh no. They came in the middle of the night and put up the dummy along with everything else. "
Upon further questioning, I discovered that one has no control over this display. Some village ladies ( gosh, there might even be a committee for it ) organize all the bits and pieces and go out on their midnight runs. Somehow I imagine them to be dressed in village fatigues and have their faces smeared with dark grease...just in case they get seen or recognized!

There are a few ways to circumvent this public birthday ' Show & tell '.

  • You can go to the district office and ask them not to publish your birthday
    ( oh, did I mention that everyone's momentus birthday is published in the village news ). Begging would be more like it.
  • Or you could mysteriously go away on an extended holiday covering the relevant date.
  • Of course the best way is to join in and hope your dummy image is not too way out!


This is the latest 50 year old on our street. Kind of cool display, isn't it?
Each dummy looks different. I know this sounds rather terrible, but they dress the dummy to favour you...

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Oh Drat It's True, We Women Do Snore!

Extra, Extra, the secret is out...

Bob knows better then to mention in public that his Schatzi might be snoring the night away. If he would dare do such a stupid thing, I would fight him tooth & proverbial Nail!
Now and again he drops such heinous comments but I tend to torpedo them asap.

Reading various literature ( and granted, often the Romances ) hardly anyone mentions a woman snoring. Somehow it doesn't fit the image of a heroine. Oh no, in fact the are always depicted as sleeping so beautifully and silently, that their hero watches them for hours one end. As if!

If Bob were to watch me sleep for hours on end, he would see me looking less then glamorous. How else does one explain an open mouth where the odd gurgling sound comes from. Hardly stuff of romance novels.

Unless Bob is a sadist, he might be onto something and it is useless of me to deny it any longer.

I snore!
In the middle of the night and dare I mention, Schatzi, in the middle of my deep sleep
( R.E.M. is not just a band, you know ) my husband issues his demands...No, not those but, a terse and slightly angry one-liner:
" Baby, for goodness sake turn onto your side; you are snoring! "

This one liner is so popular in our bedroom, that I have subconsciously trained myself to sleep on my side. Oh, if he has made me cross, I will defy niceties and sleep on my back. ( Married people do know how to torture each other )

Men do have a short memory or rather, Bob has. Often there are times when the volume button on the remote control doesn't go high enough to trump his snoring. TV snoring tends to be the loudest. Apparently I do it too, but I have yet to hear it.

Falling asleep in public ( such as at a party of sorts ) is of course dangerous. I don't know about you, but I have woken myself up with a chortle and groggy noise coming from my throat. In fact, those are so loud that at first it's easier to assume someone else was the culprit...until you see the suppressed laughter of your friends.

Look, it is official, I Snore. If you snore too ( or your better half does ), give off the social media equivalent of a smoke signal and let me know....


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Living History.

Hearing stories first hand is such a treat.

History doesn't have to be centuries old. No, even talking to someone in their 80's or 90's is a chance to experience history. As I would call it, living history.

It holds such a strong fascination for me when I can hear stories of how life was back in the day. It is a pure pleasure and treat to be able to have a conversation with an older person. They surely are the treasure keepers. They are the one's who know what is actually important. Of course we never take in that bit of information because as it is said, youth is wasted on the young...

Sometimes, just having a 'squizz' at their picture gallery is like being given a glimpse into the past. Seeing a wedding photograph that is over 70 years old is such a privilege. Oh, they are prim & proper photographs yet there is a twinkle of joy and expectation in their eyes. They were happy in the knowledge that they would together navigate life's intricacies.

Those who are over 80 years old are made of stern stuff. They were born in the depression era and survived a World War. Most of us have no idea of the hardships war flings on families. We can only imagine what it is like not to have enough food to eat from one year to the next. Never mind the heart wrenching fact of losing loved ones or seeing carnage firsthand.

Whereas we crumble at the first hurdle life throws at us, the older generation stands up to whatever life gives them. Good or bad, because they know that the only way to live, is to take it one day at a time. Everything can be overcome.

In our villages it used to be that after a hard day of toiling in the fields etc, the women would meet in the streets. Most houses had a bench in the front facing the road and that was where everyone would sit and chat. Laugh and maybe shed a tear too. But they helped each other through life.

Ironically we only know after we have lived through something, that it was hard or difficult. At the time it is just our everyday life.

Sadly, all those treasure keepers are often ignored by us. How many are languishing lonely & alone in an Old Age Home? I know that life is hectic and stressful for most of us, but if we took the time to go and visit an old(er) person, we would be rewarded with so much more. Aren't they the
" keepers of the key to a happy life "...?


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Living Around The Corner From Hungary.

Going for a drive takes on a whole new meaning.

Often I forget that we live so close to Hungary. Borders are a thing of the past, as Europe is now an open collection of countries. Fabulously easy to take your car and just drive where the whim takes you. As long as you have some formal identification, Europe is your oyster.

My mum phoned yesterday morning and asked if we wanted to have a pot of curry later on in the day. Do we ever...oh yes! She phoned back two minutes later and asked if we were keen to rather have lunch in a nice restaurant in Hungary. They had been to it once before and it left an impression. It didn't even take us two seconds to say ' yes '.

We did " Rock Paper Scissors " to decide the designated driver for the return trip and Bob lost! Going on a drive is nice especially when you can sample the local wines . A car gives me the feeling of being in an safe, warm, comfortable & cozy place while seeing the world go past. We had the lovely village of Kozseg on our radar. If you haven't been to it, it is so worth your while. Great ambiance, history, architecture, food and friendly people. Tourists are appreciated and handled in a friendly manner.

We were all hungry and made a beeline for the Restaurant. It is just off the wonderful town square so it was nice to imbibe all the ambiance on the way.

Bob and I on the way to lunch...
If you look at the wooden door, you can see the garden in the back. The hidden jewel!
The Restaurant has a medieval theme or it just used the surroundings. There are weapons on the wall that could cause a lot of pain. Amazing what they used back then. But the place was simply great.
My parents waiting for the food.
No one went hungry. The wine was good. The price was a tad bit misleading because it said a glass of wine was 150 Forint ( 50 cents ) but it is per deciliter. They give you a full glass of wine and that then costs 300 Forint ( 1 euro ) which is still an amazing deal.
Bob walking off the meal ( steak / fish baked in a bread crust / fried liver / venison ) amid the stunning houses and the church.
This cafe will be on our next visit: The Relax Cafe & Pub!!!
The village square: There are numerous cafe's to sit and absorb the beautiful surroundings and to have delectable ice creams. A scoop of it is 100 Forint ( about 30 cents ).
A war memorial plaque of fallen World War 1 soldiers. We forget how easy our lives are...


Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Breakfast Or Lunch With Family, Isn't It Nice?

A day to savour being with family.

There are a few days in the year that we all spend with family, think of family or contact our family. Nowadays it can be virtual or in real life. Either way is nice. Nice enough to remind us what is important in life and to ground us again.

Many of us have forgotten the real religious reason for certain holidays, but despite that, we are doing what these holidays were intended for. We are spending it with family and put them first. Isn't being a family one of the cornerstones of religion?

We had an Easter breakfast or rather a brunch and it was nice. Spending time with family is a treasure. Is it not family that sticks with you through the good times as well as in the not so good times...! Family adores you despite any faults. Friends are not often as forgiving.

Driving through the village yesterday we saw so many family " reunions ". The driveways were packed with out-of-town cars. Especially here in Austria, the number plates are distinctive and clear. Clear enough to spot the non-locals...not that we are spying or anything like that!

Easter breakfast had plenty of delectable stuff. Yummy. Bob and I pigged out so much that when we got home just before lunchtime, both of us dozed off in front of the television. Before you scoff at this, remember that it is a compliment to the food had, if you do the ' nap ' after the meal. Bob even changed into his comfy stretch pants...

Those stretch pants of Bob's have seen better days. In fact they are tatty in looks and reality. Before Bob adopted them, they were my work out pants that I bought before Bob came on the scene. Oh yes, they are old and have holes where there shouldn't be any. With wifely ingenuity I try to hide them from Bob but to no avail. Like a tracker dog, he unearthed them. When I organize a pile of clothes to give to away, he ( almost in a state of panic ) looks to see whether his comfy pants ( or his old cameo pants! ) are in the pile. As if I would be so stupid....Maybe the washing machine will gobble them up soon?

Yippy, I received a nice big chocolate Easter bunny from my parents. Gosh, it has been yonks since I got a chocolate Easter bunny. Bob has been amiss slightly, don't you think? Oh, but frankly I haven't bought him any either. Okay Bob, you are off the hook ( on that one ).

The bunny got attacked as soon as we got home and I am ashamed to admit, that this chocolate bunny is headless at the moment. Sorry Bunny! At least I am part of a general trend. The social platforms are awash with photos of offspring searching & finding hidden Easter eggs etc. Some of the more detailed pics show the happy chocolate trail on their faces. I tried to be more grown up and avoid the chocolate smeared face, but my fingers did get their fair share of chocolate smear...

Easter Monday is great too because you can lounge all day and finish off any left over food. Or in my case the headless chocolate bunny...Happy Easter and I hope you could spend it with your loved ones.


Sunday, 20 April 2014

A Sunrise Is Precious & Always Welcome.

Morning has broken!

Again, it is the little things we take for granted, that are the most precious. To be privileged to see a new sunrise is special. Seeing the sun rise means getting out of bed early ( or as they say at the crack of dawn ) but that is arguably the best and most soulful time of each day.

Starting off around the corner from our house. Could this be our local Wisteria Lane?
Everything looks more intriguing when it is bathed in a sunrise.
Even the humble grass blade seems to greet the sun rising.
Nature's splendid colour range. Another ' Wow ' moment.
Further on in my ' sunrise ' walk, the sun was at a different angle and instantly a different colour spectrum. All the blues, purples & pinks. Also nice, don't you think? The pile of wood almost could be mistaken for a bonfire offering...
The Deutsch-Schützen Weinberg being greeted by the morning's ambassadors. Again, the vines are bathed in a special light.


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Tale Of A Kitchen Daredevil: Cooking Without An Extractor Fan!

The cooking aromas that last forever.

It has finally dawned on me or rather the penny dropped, why stoves have that fancy bit of design over them. You know, those extractor fans. Those ugly looking hovercraft things often suspended mid-air above the stove. Who hasn't hit their head on the edge of one...?

In my last flat, it was merely a dust gatherer and wouldn't have worked even if I had switched it on. Somehow I never thought I needed it. Fast forward to now and it is a whole different sort of story. Bob was given a big lump of meat.

He came home from a drink or two with his friend and casually mentioned that he had been given this piece of meat. It was late enough already and I was ensconced on the couch avidly enthralled with some TV program. My response was a kind of general wave which was meant as a

" Hello & Oh that's nice dear ".

In the middle of the night while going to the bathroom ( where else does one go at that hour? ) I hit my toe on a packet standing in the middle of our entrance hall. Jeez-a-lou, what on earth? Bugger it, Bob had left the bag with the lump of meat right where he put it down when he came home....!

Luckily it was wrapped in plastic and felt still frozen to the touch. Fair enough, no need to put it in the fridge ( no space in any case ) because it was still icy. The next morning I told Bob that he would have to slow cook the piece of meat / roast as I had to go out.

Well, Bob cooked it perfectly but we both didn't realize that it was a smoked piece of meat. Oh, and as the headline says, we do not have an extractor fan. Oh my golly gosh, does our house smell of meat. It has been two days and that smell still hits you the second you come into the house. It is not even a nice smell and that makes me wonder whether this meat actually needed to be cooked? Maybe it was a new age ham?

This morning a friend came over to get a bit of help with an English paper. Bob and I cleaned and scrubbed for two hours beforehand trying to get the smell out. Since the cooking episode, we have had all windows open almost non-stop! Do you think that would help...of course not.

I had scrubbed the oven earlier and it looked clean & fresh and thought I might as well bake some cookies to get a biscuity smell permeating in our house. A sort of kitchen deodorant. Well, all we could smell was a cookie aroma mingled with that awful meat one. Great combination!! Percolating a pot of coffee kind of helped a little bit.

Of course the cherry on the cake was when I was sitting at the kitchen table with my friend and Bob walked in to make himself a cup of coffee. He opened the fridge and all of a sudden, a nauseating whiff of something wafted across. Spilled milk perhaps gone bad? Let me tell you, the meaty smell is far more preferable to the " off " milk one....

It was one of those moments where you hope that the other person didn't get a whiff of the offending smell, but that is like saying the Easter Bunny won't leave any chocolate eggs outside!


Friday, 18 April 2014

Looking At 80 Through A Different Lens.

Age shouldn't be discounted or dismissed.

We all do it. Oh yes, we think that the elderly are for want of a better word, " old ". They might move a bit slower, they might walk with a hippy gait and they definitely speak with a lot more sense than the young ones.

The other day, I went to visit a lovely lady who had recently turned 80. Oh, she is still full of life and manages a big home by herself. Turning 80 is a big deal and her kids and grandkids did a lovely montage of her life on the birthday party invite. ( Oh yes, there was a big party for her ). Those birthday invites normally have a few pictures of the birthday kid at various stages of their life.

Looking at this particular card made me see her in a different light. Those few well chosen photos reminded me that she was also a young gal once. She was also a young mother once. She was also trendy once. A picture is worth more than a thousand words after all. In my minds eye I see her as this young and trendy mother.

Last year one of my uncles turned 80 as well and my cousins only put one picture on the invite. Oh, and what a picture it was. He looked like a James Dean sort of guy. He had the pose down to a tee and had the smoldering looks to boot. Although, his pants kind of looked like pyjamas. Never mind, the rest was cool and this picture is imprinted on my mind!

Age has its advantages. Such as being offered a chair, the door being held open for you and being served first at meal times. But apart from that we should all pin a birthday card of sorts on our T-shirts. Show those younger than us that we were once trendy ( or angry ) teenagers, newly weds or just young people.

No, we don't need to be 80 or more to wear this badge. We could start at 40. Or at what age do the younger ones start to treat us as if we:

  • know nothing,
  • have never been to a club / disco / dance,
  • and are a tad bit embarrassing to hang out with?

It might also be rather amusing and certainly interesting. Going to family occasions might be fun not only for us, but also for the badge wearer...How many of us have forgotten that we were once young & perhaps with-it...?

What would you put on your badge?


Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Famous Artist Lives Just Up The Road On The Eisenberg Hill.

Another treasure here in Burgenland or rather Südburgenland: Lajos Gerencsér.

Now and again I take the high road and walk on the upper Eisenberg Weinberg road. As you can imagine, the view is stunning and rather lofty. The road winds itself around a mansion or two, a lot of holiday Kellerstöckls and normal lived-in homes. Albeit homes with a view over the whole valley. Nice.

Getting to the top road or as I like to say, taking the high road, means walking up a bit of an incline. That is probably why it is mostly the people living up there already who do justice to the enticing scenery. Fit tourists now and again on either their bicycle or on foot complete with walking sticks...The majority of tourists though, come here to enjoy doing " not much " while sipping our delectable local wines! Can you think of a nicer way to unwind on your holiday?

Usually my walk up the Eisenberg is on a Sunday. Every now and again, I meet up with an elderly couple. When I do, they always have a friendly smile and he a humorous word or two. Of course, I know that he is an artist - painter - who has his home and gallery up there. Gosh, I have walked past it often and seen the sign.

One of the local papers has done a write up of him recently. To be honest, I forgot that he is a famous painter. After reading about him, I looked online and found a YouTube video of his works. When you see the wonderful artwork he creates and most of it of the ethereal, stunning and beautiful Burgenland nature you feel humbled. At least I do.

Here is a link to his YouTube video showing his works. Of course you could also see it in real life and visit our area for a few days...Fair Warning, there is a bit of hard work involved: Sipping our local wines, taking short leisurely strolls around the vineyards & visiting an art gallery while taking in our breathtaking nature all around...

Our Gemeinde / district is very cutting edge and as of this month, they have created a Tourist Taxi. A taxi to fetch & collect tourists from the Buschenschanks & winetastings. With us you can have fun without having to drive your car...


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

What A Frightfully Entertaining Salad!

A healthy lunch...I am not so sure anymore.

Tell me, what is worse than finding a hair in your food? Oh, eating a plate of salad and right towards the end seeing a little brave fellow crawling across a now nearly white plate. Yuk, yes there was a worm in my salad.

The funny thing was that I had made the salad. Cleaned it in one of those salad spinners that are such fun to use. Don't you also like that spinning feeling and wringing every last drop of water out of the washed leaf? Obviously the salad spinner keeps the leaves packed with natural protein. They should put a disclaimer on the spinner: Worms will survive the spinning. When that little fellow crawled across my plate he wasn't even wobbling!

You know, when I ate my salad ( in front of the computer and for the last time perhaps! ), I didn't taste anything strange and even hollered out to Bob in the lounge:

" Schatzi, come and get your plate of salad. It tastes nice."
When Bob is doing something on the computer, he is sometimes hard to tear away from it. Ice cream will do the trick because he knows that I will finish it if he doesn't hurry up. Chips, chocolate & cake may also fall into the same category - run or nothing is left! ( For some unknown reason, I have a deep affinity with all the above ) A mere salad doesn't stand a chance or in this case a mere salad will stand for a long time...

When I took note of this little worm ( dark in colour with two little feelers at this head, at least it seemed like the king of its species ) I stared at it for a second wondering what I had put in this salad. As usual, when you see something yucky, the brain gives you a few seconds before you start to scream.

" Ugh Bob, there is a worm in the salad. Oh my God, I must have eaten a few worms! "

I have to say, my Bob is a Man in a Million. You can just imagine my horror and instant nausea when I realized my salad's side kick, can't you? Bob ( still in front of the computer in the lounge ) just shouted a little homily that was oddly soothing. He knows me and what will calm me down. Oh, I married well indeed....

" Oh, don't worry Schatzi. Don't you know that worms don't come in pairs. There is only ever the one. Just relax & stop screaming. "


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Drinking A Glass Or 2 Of Wine Is Divine!!!

The sun peaks through.

Early yesterday morning, I hot footed it to the Eisenberg Weinberg to take out a rubbish bin belonging to friends of ours. It was the paper-bin collection yesterday. Instead of driving there, I changed my walking route to include a loop past their house. Less pollution and a lovely walk next to the forest. Although, next time I walk this early in or next to the forest I will take a big stick with me. There were definite noises of wild animals and for all I know it was that dreaded wild pig that the locals keep telling ( and warning ) me about. Apparently it wouldn't be such great fun being met head on by one of those!!!.

Normally it wouldn't bother me, but a while ago one of the early morning cruisers ( taking the car to get milk & a newspaper ) stopped next to me while I walked adjacent to the local forest and asked:

" Aren't you scared of those wild pig in here? "
Naturally I smiled and nodded politely in return but I thought:
' Well, you silly man, I am now ! '

The rubbish collection schedule says to put it out anytime from 7am. Realistically, it never gets picked up so early but as I found out the last time, it did get collected early. Luckily it was the paper bin and not the general rubbish one. Paper has no potent aroma after a six week wait. Nevertheless, I almost ran yesterday to make sure I was on time. Oh yes, this time it got collected!

Once I had wheeled out the rubbish bin, I could slow down in my walk. Slow down and enjoy the different scenery. The sky was overcast but that added to the overall allure as you will see from the picture.

When I saw this, I straight away knew that the vines
( & of course the wine ) had the nod from above. Yes, it was the sun peaking through, but how do we know that it wasn't a blessing from above?
This only brought one thought into my mind:
" Drinking wine is divine "
I had walked a further 500 meters when I heard a low-flying plane. At least that what it sounded like. It was a microlight and I think he was a bit surprised when I had my camera ready. This was too good to pass up.
This made me think of the fable of looked as if he was being drawn up into the light. Of course I stayed around long enough to see what happened to him, but he just flew into Hungary. His perspective must have been spectacular and divine. Imagine seeing those sun rays peaking through at close range? Wow, definitely a thrilling adventure and sport. Alas, not a sport for me.

It is amazing that each day has so many new aspects to it. Life is an adventure when you see it as one...


Monday, 14 April 2014

Seeing A White Horse Means Your Luck Is About To Change For The Better.

Horsing about on my Sunday walk.

We are rather lucky here, because a white horse lives just up the road from us and often it can be seen frolicking about the meadow with her ( ? ) two mates. As all the horses have Lipizzaner blood in them, they are a spirited bunch indeed. Taking photos yesterday was almost harder than taking photos of people...

There she is. A handsome horse indeed. Spirited down to the hooves. I stood there for ten minutes trying to take good photos. If anyone had walked passed me, they would have heard a concoction of tongue clicking, whistling & horsey talk..." Here horsey...!"
The three amigos of the meadow. When I first got there, the brown one was on his back and kicking up his hooves in glee. Unfortunately I didn't get there in time to take a pic, but I was waiting in case the others would follow suit.
Oh, I thought this is it...but alas she just moved the grass to her liking and proceeded to munch.
Do you also get the message of: " Surely that is enough now. How many photos can you take already? "
A few more it seems...Horses do have the most amazing lot of expressions. Even the flick of their tail or the set of their ears is enough to tell a full story.
Aren't they just like a bunch of naughty kids?
The " It wasn't me ! " look.
Just to end of, here is another shot of our lucky white horse. Have a fabulous and successful week.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Do You Think It's Harder To Bottle Or Un-bottle Wine?

If you love wine, you should have a turn at bottling wine too!

Living in a wine making region has moved the abstract idea of how wine gets into the bottle from the peripheral subconsious to the front and center..." oh, this is how its done!" followed by
" oh, this is jolly hard work."

A few of the big winemakers in the area do have machination of sorts, but for the smaller ones, all hands on deck is a familiar mantra. Bob and I will do a spot of bottling today. As easy as this sounds, there is a lot of manual work involved.

  • The empty bottles ( either refurbished & washed or new ) need to be spritzed with sulphur water, to make sure they are clean. We do that by pressing down the bottle over the nozzle of the spritzing device. After doing a few hundred, the biceps and shoulders start to tell their story.
  • A pump with what seems like a lot of hoses leading to & fro from it, needs to be assembled. Figuring out which switch is forward or backward, is always a new challenge especially if you have tasted the wine that is being bottled....The hoses go from the wine barrel through the filtering pump into the dispensary trough. It looks like a trough were the bottles get lined up to be filled by the delectable nectar of the gods.
  • Understandably the most fun is had at this station of the filling process. If you empty the wine trough to quickly or rather don't fill it quickly enough, the wine stops flowing. Only one thing left to do...the same thing you do to get petrol out of a tank. You have to syphon to get the wine flowing again. Needless to say, the person at this bottling station loves to run into a bottle neck and thus is rather a happy soul. The pre-taster of the wine!
  • " Bob put a cork in it! " is the call of the day. Oh yes, Bob is the corker. Oh my, his biceps get a good workout. Pushing that corker down a few hundred times is far from easy.
  • The co-ordinator or commonly known as The Boss or La Petite Général, flits between the various stations and also makes sure the filled bottles are filled to the correct level. Putting the filled & corked bottles into a crate and then onto the shelf is also not easy because you constantly have to bend and stretch.
  • Of course the most tedious job is always the washing of everything. Before and after, the equipment ( pump, hoses, barrels trough etc ) get cleaned with a high pressure water hose. Cleanliness is top when bottling wine.
  • The last job, gosh what a hardship, is to go to a Buschenschank for lunch...

Once you are privy to the wonderful process of creating delicious wine from a humble grape, an appreciation gets hold of you. A bottle of wine is not just a bottle of wine. It is a result of hard work, effort and lots of loving care by the vintner. Every sip of wine needs to be savoured and appreciated for the wonder that it is....


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Look At These & Then Book Your Trip!

Südburgenland is clearly the place to be seen...

Our area of Südburgenland has great wines. Award winning wines. World class wines. Best of all, they are oh so drinkable wines.

The calibre and award winning quality of our wines & winemakers is enough reason to put us on your holiday itinerary. Heck, you should make us your only entry on this itinerary. But here is the best part: Our area is so stunning and has something for everybody. Nature, bicycle paths, ramblers paths, a quietness that refreshes the spirit and of course vineyards wherever you go
... ( never fear of going thirsty here ).

How is this for colour? Driving around is rewarded with views of note. A little church across the border with stunning rapeseed in the foreground.
Our village with the telltale slopes of the vineyards in the back. Oh, this is wine country through & through.
Can you already see yourself walking or cycling in the midst of this? Just standing there and looking outwards, will make most of your cares slip off your shoulders.
Are your legs itching to get the pedals turning?
A wise old tree in front of the Bildein Church. Can you see how small I am in comparison? Bildein is a ten minute drive from us.
Here is a typical Kellerstöckl to rent that has been refurbished and made into a holiday cottage ( cozy & oh so romantic bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and a big comfortable table ). Views to thrill because they are right in the midst of the vineyards. Can you see yourself sipping a glass of delectable Grüner Veltliner or Blaufränkisch red?
Yet another beautifully refurbished Kellerstöckl to rent in the vineyard up the hill. Great views and a fabulous restaurant & wine bar within walking distance.
Imagine how nice it is to wake up and look over the vineyards...