Tony and I found ourselves with a free afternoon yesterday; and with temperatures being unseasonably warm in Vienna heading for cooler areas, like Lower Austria’s Waldviertal (“Forest Quarter”) made for an excellent respite.  And of course, there will always be a castle or two to stumble upon.
In the little village of Pöggstall we found a castle of sorts. Built in the the 13th century as a moated structure, a Renaissance portal was added sometime thereafter. The castle is undergoing much-needed restoration, but we were still able to wander around the courtyard and grounds.

Tucked into a corner was this beautiful spiral staircase, the banister and walls cool to the touch.

From the arcade at the top of the stairs, a view of the courtyard and its murals. A breeze was floating through, and we could have perched ourselves on chairs for the entire afternoon.

The bridge connecting the castle to the church, to allow the Lords and Ladies a private entrance.

Returning home we motored past this unnamed, and long abandoned castle…

…through countless villages that all looked pretty much like this one, give or take the dried May Pole.

Soon enough the luscious green hills of the Wachau peeked out.

The Wachau is beautiful in all seasons, and even on hazy and humid summer days. We found a shaded Gasthof along the Danube, sat for a most delicious local lunch (and wine, of course), and toasted having escaped the heat of Vienna. This could become a habit.