Our Sunday plans went awry early in the day, but not early enough for us to cobble together a lengthy outing. Luckily the little village of Rust (pronounced, “Roost”) in neighboring Burgenland was hosting its “Gans” weekend festival, celebrating all things, “Goose.” Off we went for lunch on another sunny weekend day.
I love Rust. The little town of about 2.000 was the very first to be protected by the Hague Convention; practically every building has one of the blue cross plaques, and the architecture is a visual feast, both inside courtyards and throughout the town. We have visited during Christmas market season, as well, when the town becomes even more charming, something we thought not possible.
Rust is also the “Stork Capital” of Burgenland, and nests sit atop many of the houses and buildings. Storks arrive during their migration in late spring/early summer and depart sometime in August; one year we visited when a phalanx was in town!
Panorama view of Rust from atop a giant wine cask.
The band performed Czech polkas, Polish polkas, Hungarian dances, and Austrian folk music to keep everyone entertained.
Rust wears many hats, another one being the “Gans Capital” of Burgenland. Goose Soup, Goose Liver, and the traditional Roast Goose with Red Cabbage were on offer everywhere.
What caught our attention, though, were the Bison Burgers with Mangalitza Bacon (from the Hungarian Hairy Pig 😄 ). Why not? They were every bit as delicious as they sounded, especially when enjoying them outdoors at a sunny, shared table.*
The town has a pier onto Neusiedler See (Lake Neudsiedl), which is shared with Hungary. (During the Cold War, 70.000 refugees from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution crossed the lake at a small and narrow river inlet near Andau, Austria, on the other side of the lake and were met with open arms and welcomes. In case you wondered.)
Near the pier and the marshy area we spied storks! I love storks! Had they missed their migration flight home for the winter? Normally I do not post photos that lack clarity, but because of the fencing I could not get any closer to the birds. What a nice way to end our pleasant lunch outing.
*Speaking of lunch. Several months ago the topic of “shared tables” came up on my social media, the conversation begun by someone who felt they shouldn’t have to ask to sit at a partially-empty table at a local festival, and felt it was rude of the persons at the table to have called them out. We have always asked first, or have been asked, but the analyst in me wanted more data. Since then, whenever I have occasion I will ask an Austrian friend I am comfortable with what is table-sharing protocol. Now, while my N of five Austrians is hardly solid data, friends of other Central and Eastern European heritages have weighed in as well, and it seems that the protocol is to ask first before taking the space.
In searching for a space to enjoy our lunch on this outing, we asked first, and were welcomed to a table occupied by two Rust-ers (or would that be, “Roosters?” Haha.) A few pleasantries were exchanged, and we all enjoyed our lunches. Last week while having lunch in Köszeg, the same thing: the waitress seated the two of us at a shared table, after first asking the other guests if they minded. We sat, exchanged smiles and everyone went about enjoying their lunches.
Lack of basic cultural awareness bothers me terribly. I am by far a social etiquette specialist, and am probably oversensitive to these matters. But to me, this particular matter is settled.