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We began our late-September trip to
Austria with a drive along the Danube,
the river associated with Johann Strauss’s
beautiful waltz. The fall grape-harvest
season is the perfect time to view the
winemaking region of Wachau. In the
postcard-pretty town of Dürnstein, we
roamed cobblestone streets, passing pas-
tel 16
th
-century buildings adorned with
window boxes overflowing with flowers.
Picturesque wrought iron signs identified
restaurants, shops and hotels.
Above one building, a carved
wooden frieze depicted Bacchus,
the god of wine. On one corner, we
discovered the Altes Presshaus, a
grape press dating back to 1713.
Eager to try the region’s wines and
foods, we dined at the 380-year-old
Hotel Schloss Dürnstein, a Relais
& Châteaux hotel and restaurant
that overlooks the Danube and its
vineyards.
Passing vineyard-covered hills,
we continued driving along the
Danube toWeissenkirchen. As we
strolled around the village, we met
a couple dressed in costume for a
local festival. A tractor-pulled wagon
arrived with a bin of freshly picked
grapes. The vineyard owners invited
us to taste the fruit. They told us that
the most popular wines inWachau
are Grüner Veltliner and Riesling.
(Although German is Austria’s of-
ficial language, many people also
speak English.)
Austria
MORE THAN THE SOUND OF MUSIC
If there was one thing that we learned
during our trip to Austria, it was to look up.
In the cities, we gazed up at magnificent
church spires, tiled roofs, wrought iron
street lamps, golden crests, stately clock
towers, elaborate church altars, beautiful
sculptures and frescoed ceilings. In the
countryside, hilltop vineyards, medieval
castles, flower-filled window boxes,
verdant Alpinemeadows and snow-topped
mountain peaks drew our eyes skyward.
Austria’s
jaw-dropping
scenery
and
omnipresent music wouldn’t surprise
anyone who has seen the 1965 movie,
The Sound of Music
. (A diverse spectrum of
musicians, ranging from Tyrolean alphorn-
players to classical violinists, enhanced our
visit.) But the country, which is only three-
quarters the size of Newfoundland, is a
feast for all of the senses.
Travel
Wine-making villages
Hallstatt
Weissenkirchen inWachau
by Barb and Ron Kroll