Repatriate Games



Canis familiaris meets Canis lupus

Clayton Theodore meets a wild evolutionary ancestor.

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Hiking and Schnitzeling and Drinking Wine

A palate cleanser between Chopstick Diaries installments. This last week was the spring holiday for AIS but for obvious reasons (see Singapore, Seoul, Japan; and two more planned trips within the next month) we stay-cated, though we did not deprive ourselves of day outings.

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Drinking and Driving: II. The Drinking

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.

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Drinking and Driving: I. The Driving.

Not what you might think.

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Weihnachtsmarkts in Cellars and Stables

Our Christmas holiday was like the month of March, it came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. Though holiday preparations at home kept us well occupied throughout December, we did manage to take in two unusual Christmas markets. The first, woven through the labyrinth of a 900 year old wine cellar in Niederösterreich. Quite a lovely market!

The second was a little closer to home, the Ochs und Esel market in some of the abandoned stables at Vienna’s horse track. Rather cleverly, a few dozen local artisans displayed their wares in the individual stalls. Of all of the Christmas markets we enjoyed this season, this was the one from where we were able to find those final, special gifts.

And in the blink of an eye, our Christmas holidays had begun.




Gumpoldkirchen’s Genussmeile

What’s not to like about a village who bills its vineyard wandering festival as, “The longest tavern in the world?”  Whether the statement is true or not was of little matter to us; we came for the wandering (and of course the food and wine).

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When offering suggestions for weekend activities I was surprised that Anna Grace voted for a third visit to a Hun Festival in Lower Austria. Never second-guess a Teenager?  Really, though, the light activity was a perfect complement to the day’s extremely warm temperatures. Schloss Asparn hosts the festival, and it’s always worth a visit to their outdoor museum of ancient cultures, as well.

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In the Footsteps of the Liechtenstein Family

This is our idea of Sunday Brunch.  Leave the children a Bankomat card with instructions to “get something for lunch,” then open a map and aim for whatever looks interesting. 
The “something interesting” on this occasion turned out to be Renaissanceschloss Wilfersdorf, one of the many holdings of the Liechtenstein Family sprinkled across Moravia, Lower Austria, and Vienna. What makes this particular palace stand out is that of the 27 generations of Liechtensteiners, the only surviving line is linked to the teeny tiny village of Wilfersdorf, just a few kilometers south of the Czech border.
Bernhard, the palace’s docent became our best friend and personal guide when he overheard us speaking English. He said he wanted to practice his English, and began with a thorough overview of the family tree.  Did you know that the youngest Liechtensteiner was born as recently as 2012?

 A reproduction of the crown jewels.

 Also in the collection, the hat Napoleon was wearing during the Battle of Austerlitz. Napoleon won this battle in Austria, so perhaps the hat had fallen off during the conflict?

 Our docent was rather well-informed on all things Liechtenstein; though, he was not entirely clear as to why Joseph Haydn’s stuffed parrot (who could whistle the German National Anthem) was part of the collection.

After touring the palace and its collection we walked over to the Wilfersdorferkirche, where the Liechtenstieners attended mass, and within whose crypts many are interred.

Over lunch at our favorite restaurant on the Austrian-Czech border we took stock of some of the other Liechtenstein palaces and castles we have toured…Burg Liechtenstein, about 45 minutes from Vienna, and in the family more or less since the 12th century.

 The beautiful Garden Palace, just a few tram stops from our house. I have also toured the City Palace in the Inner Stadt, still an active dynastic residence of the family.

 We as a family drove across the Principality of Liechtenstein on our return from Provence last summer.

 And to the north, the palaces of Valtice and Lednice.

Our guide to Sunday Brunch.

Kellergasse Asparn an der Zaya

Just as I enjoy seeking out the “Kunst am Bau” across Vienna, I also enjoy seeking out the wine villages and, especially, the Kellergasse in Niederosterreich’s Weinviertel. The Kellergasse Asparn an der Zaya dates back some 300 years!
The lane is longer than most I’ve seen and is lined with pretty chestnut trees. As you approach the village from the south it is near impossible not to stop the car to ooh and ahh at the scenery.

Along the lane are 48 press houses of diverse architectural styles, with most still family-owned.

In researching the village and the Kellergasse I came upon the schedule of upcoming events, including cellar tours, wine tastings, and festivals. Looking forward to a return visit!

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