WeinFrühling! Celebrating the official start to the grape-growing season was our priority for the long weekend. This being our first time (wherever have we been for the last four years?), and because we drove,  we visited but 5 of the more than 200 vintners whose cellars were open for tasting. The more professional oenophiles toured on bicycle, with many taking advantage of the 3-day ticket to make a long weekend of the event. Now we know.

Past lambs in moats and roadside poultry, we drove along lovely village lanes to sample the fermented grapes. Of particular enjoyment was Orangenwein; light orange in color from berry husks and rather short-lived, it was unavailable for purchase, alas.

What happened next took us entirely by surprise and had us laughing until tears streamed down our cheeks. In one of the villages we found an open Gasthof and sat for lunch around 1320.  After a few moments we noticed that nearly every patron leaving the restaurant was carrying a to-go container. A little unusual, we thought, but perhaps the portions were large?

Our normal-sized Schnitzels arrived quickly and we began to dine. Another table of patrons left with a to-go container. Hmm. And then I glanced at the clock: 1350. Die Mittagspause was fast approaching, and the proprietors wanted all diners to leave! We have been at restaurants close to the afternoon break before, but never have we been rushed along. Almost felt like dining in America.

Indeed, just then the proprietor walked over and asked Jack if he would like the remainder of his meal, “To-go?” He hurriedly finished while Tony paid the tab. Tony and I then walked out while Jack went to the WC. After several minutes Jack appeared–he had been locked into the WC hallway and had to bang on the door until the proprietors freed him. Downright hilarious.

The following day the five of us decided on what turned out to be a delightful little 7 kilometer walk through the vineyards of a small village in the Weinviertel.  For Clayton Theodore it was his first up close and personal with a bison, one of the small herd at a reserve. A little unusual.

At the two main stopping points bread and wine, and fellow hikers were aplenty.

Schmalzbrot really is an acquired taste; for me, sliced garlic made it haute cuisine. Yum.

Beautiful scenery for the last couple of kilometers.

The last half-kilometer was along the village Kellergasse. And then, home.