I’m long overdue for a wander. In recent weeks we’ve had guests staying with us, then work commitments, and worst of all, stifling heat. No one said the summers weren’t warm in Austria, but temps have hit 40°C+ this year, making all but sitting and breathing impossible.
Anyway I’m on the move and heading north to the Medieval town of Eggenburg. The day has not gone terribly well. I appear a bit rusty this morning as I grab my gear to go. My camera’s battery was a bit low and I don’t have time to charge it. Fortunately my train has power so as I type, the battery is charging. Still it all feels a bit rushed this morning. Complicating matters is that there’s only one train to Eggenburg an hour, and it’s an hours journey. So I rush out, forgetting my parasol in the progress. That by itself makes me a bit grumpy. The U4 U-bahn line though pushes me to the limit. Checking my journey today, I have 8 minutes to leave the U4 at Heiligenstadt, get my ticket and board my train. The U4 line has other ideas. The U-bahn pulls in slowly, two minutes late, then proceeds to pull out of the station just as slowly. My 8 minute window is shrinking. By the time i reach the end of the line, my time has been cut in half to just 4 minutes to get off the U-bahn platform, down to the front of the station, buy a ticket and get back onto the new platform. I pick up my stride up to a near jog and make it with a minute to spare. The good news is that the hour train ride takes in some beautiful scenery along the way.
As the train leaves the comfort of the Danube, the mountains and hills drift away into the distance and the countryside opens up. The train only has five stops along the way including Tulln which I visited on day 3 I believe. Out beyond Tulln the stops are in small towns with just a few thousand people. What I find particularly interesting is that the stations, despite they’re remoteness, are pretty ‘upto date.’ OEBB have been upgrading the stations throughout Austria for a few years. Pushing further north and Vineyards start to scatter the landscape. Niederösterreich is one of Austria’s biggest wine producing areas. The humble Grüner Veltlinger may not have the same recognition as a Pinot Grigio but I really like it. Plus where a bottle would cost you €8 in the UK, it’s just €3 on average. What’s not to like. Over 44% of all wine in this region goes to produce Grüner Veltlinger. I make a note to see if I can find somewhere to try a glass later.
The train pulls in on time and I’m treated to a gorgeous view over the town. Sadly I can’t get a good shot with the camera. The sweet spot was back before the platform. Nevermind though, because I’m here in Eggenburg. I head off the platform and out to the front of the quaint little station. The road to my right points down so I figure it’s a good way to get ‘into’ town. I’m not wrong. The road winds along a hill with beautiful homes mixed in with much older buildings. There are also pine trees that sit dark green against the bright blue sky. In common with other little towns I’ve visited, it’s also amazingly quiet. Some of this will be down to it being summer. Austrians love a good Urlaub, and August is a great time to head out and enjoy the sunshine somewhere else. With a population of just over 3500 though, the quietness is probably a standard thing. The twists and turns eventually bring me to the first photographing spot.
The Krahuletz Museum houses lots of different things including art works that are produced locally and a full scale model of the town itself. There are several statues near the museum. Several are just Granite or marble blocks, all engraved with a name of a local business. They’re quite modern compared to the statue behind them. That’s more of your standard religious icon. Oddly there’s also a cutout reindeer that seems out of place. No idea why he’s there, but he’s cute.
I move on and the streets become tighter with little alleyways splitting off from the street. It’s starting to feel more medieval as I keep going. Then , the street opens up and I find myself in the Hauptplatz. It’s a beautiful square littered with cosy cafes and cute little shops. The Café Weiser sits in a building that’s completely covered with decorations. They look old, very old and I struggle to find a good spot to get a shot.
I continue walking along and take a left out of the square which brings me face to face with the massive medieval church. It’s huge, impressive and a bit gorgeous. It’s walls are almost completely covered with various stone tablets, statues and other bits and pieces. Their age varies but it’s certainly impressive. I wander around a the whole of the outside, snapping as much as I can. At one point. I find myself walking under a beautiful Gothic arch that has a side door to the church. Along with the door is a huge mural, and another huge mural sits behind me. I can’t get them all in shot, but these murals are more 20th century than medieval. It’s still very nice to see.
Leaving the beauty of the church, I wander back to the Hauptplatz and find something unexpected. Sitting in the middle of this medieval town is a museum called Nostagiewelt, and it’s squarely in the 1950’s. I pass it’s windows and see old microcars like the fiat 500 and and a Peel microcar bubble car. The museum also contains all sorts of 1950’s memorabilia like classic Jukeboxes and old cinema projectors. At €8 it would be a nice way to spend an hour or two. If you don’t fancy paying for a visit to the museum, maybe you should grab a malt and a burger at the 1950’s themed diner cafe attached to the museum.
I take a rest and discover my stomach is grumbling. It is lunch time after all. I didn’t bring my usual packed lunch today. It’s Friday and I feel like celebrating. Food options aren’t limited. However, tucked away on the far side of the square is the Landgasthaus zum Seher. This quaint little place offers Austrian food the traditional way, and is the holder of a slow food award. For those who aren’t familar with the slow food movement, slow food towns are gaining popularity. The Slow Food movement promotes local produce and traditional cooking. I’m a bit excited about this. Last night I ate at a Burger King In Wien. It will be the last time I do so. No judgement, but I’m 40 and I think life’s to short to eat rubbish like Burger King. Ok that was a bit judggy. Back to the Landgasthaus. I peruse the menu and settle on an Austrian favourite, Schweinsbraten. Schweinsbraten is a traditional dish of roasted pork served in a delicious sauce or gravy and accompanied by a Knödel. I’ve eaten it many times as a microwave meal. (I know, see Burger King!) but I’ve never had it cooked fresh. All I’ll say about what i was served is OMG, I neeeed this in my life. The pork slices were melt in your mouth delicious and the Knödel was the perfect consistency to mop up that gravy. I can’t recommend the Landgasthaus Zum Seher enough. I finish off my meal with a glass of local white wine, also delicious.
With lunch dispatched it’s time to hit the road again. I leave the Hauptplatz and follow a road that takes me to the city walls. The old walls are in surprisingly good condition. Even better, I have the option to climb the walls and look at the city from the battlements. It’s soooo freaking cool. From here I get a great view of outside the city walls, and an even better view into the town centre.
I climb down off the walls and head outside their protection to a lovely little park with a lake. There’s a nice bench to sit at and best of all, ducks. I love ducks. I love them so much I can’t eat them. The ducks, like me are feeling the heat a bit and they have no interest in my presence. I sit for awhile with them before I decide to call it a day.
I stop for a beer at the Café Weiser before climbing the hill back to the Bahnhof. Time for one more beer before the train.
Eggenburg had been a revelation. I didn’t know what to expect but I found the place to be friendly and pretty gorgeous to walk around. It’s well worth the hours journey from Vienna, if only for the food. If your looking for somewhere off the beaten track to visit, then Eggenburg may be the place for you.
Eggenburg – http://www.eggenburg.at/
Nostalgiewelt – http://www.nostalgiewelt.at
LandGastHaus zum Seher – http://www.landgasthaus-seher.at/This entry was posted in 10 Day Challenge