Easter Weekend in Austria with Family   6 comments

Easter Weekend in Austria with Family

Vienna, Burg Liechtenstein, Burg Plankenstein, Schallaburg Castle, Burgruine Aggstein, Spitz and Durstein.

March 26 – 29, 2016

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What could be more fun than visiting in Austria when your daughter and son-in-law live in Vienna?  This time we decided to pass through Vienna on our way to join a river cruise that began in Budapest, Hungary and went to Bucharest, Romania.  Our oldest son, Eric, and Jim & I arrived in Vienna on Saturday March 26, 2016, of Easter weekend.  The first order of business was to go to the Easter Markets in Vienna.  And we all know that with this family, it will involve eating!

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Fun times!

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Next Kellee needed to buy decorated Easter Eggs, there were so many beautiful eggs to select from.

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The Vienna kids rented a car and we all loaded up and headed out of Vienna to enjoy some time in the countryside.  Our ultimate goal was the Wachau Valley and to stay two nights in a ancient restored castle.  So off we went!  Following the red arrows on the google map below it shows we left Vienna and drove to Burg Liechtenstein and then to Berg Plankenstein.  The next morning we went to Schallaburg Castle, Burgruine Aggstein and then back to Berg Plankenstein.  After a another delightful night staying at Berg Plankenstein, the next morning we drove to the Danube town of Spitz, then the Danube town of Durnstein, and late that afternoon drove back to Vienna. 

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Liechtenstein Castle:    Our first stop was before the Wachau at the Liechtenstein Castle.  It was less than an hours drive from Vienna.  The Castle is located at the edge of the Viennese Forest.  The original castle was built in 12th century, and was destroyed by the Ottomans in 1529 and 1683.  The Castle was the seat of the Liechtenstein dynasty until 1295, when it passed out of the family.  In 1807 Prince Johann Josef I of Liechtenstein reacquired control of the Castle for his family, and it has remained their possession since.  It was rebuilt in 1884, and this is the castle we see today.  (Pictures were not allowed inside the castle.)

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The Wachau Valley: This is the name given to the 20 miles stretch of the Danube between the towns of Melk and Krems, Austria.  This is where the river cuts a narrow, rocky valley between the foothills of the Bohemian Forest and the Dunkelsteiner Wald.   This area is considered the most beautiful part of the Danube.  This valley is noted for its many ancient little towns nestling below historic old castles and castle ruins. At the time of the Renaissance, some 31 monasteries were known to have operated here.  (We didn’t tour Melk, because we had all been there previously.)

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So, this family toured this magnificent part of the Danube.  Jim and I have seen this area by boat and by train, but never in an automobile.  So thanks, to our son-in-law we’ve done that now.  It was a grand tour.  We started this adventure by staying in a castle.  So…in the Wachau Valley we stayed in a castle, visited a castle, explored a castle ruin, and wandered the streets of the ancient towns of Durnstein & Krems.  The drive along the little country roads also contained many fun discoveries.  And we managed to do all of this on Easter weekend from Friday evening to Monday evening. 

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Berg Plankenstein:  We stayed two nights in this historic, 800 year old castle.  It was definitely off the beaten path on the top of a hill about a 30 minute drive from the village of Melk, Austria and the Danube River.  Burg Plankenstein offered individually furnished rooms with ensuite bathrooms, and heat registers in every room.  The rooms weren’t luxury but they were clean and comfortable.  How often does one have the opportunity to stay in a real castle?  I booked it on booking.com.  I loved our stay in this centuries old castle! 

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First we climbed the circular stairway up the castle turret two levels to our rooms.  Our rooms were grouped together in this part of the castle.  Somewhere along the way we found a big banquet room for dinners & receptions. 

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The reception & tavern area were all very cozy.

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We enjoyed dinner both evenings at the castle.  They served traditional Austrian and regional dishes at the castle tavern.  And there was ample time for a few hands of cards after dinner.

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The breakfasts were very good and the castle cat enjoyed watching us eat. 

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Schallaburg Castle:  Located about 3 miles south of Melk stands this 900 year old castle.  This castle is considered the most important piece of Renaissance architecture in Lower Austria due to the rich terracotta decoration on the two story arcaded courtyard. The castle dates back to the Middle Ages.  It is a combination of a Italian Renaissance residential castle and a Gothic chapel.  It was originally built as a defensive stronghold, then redesigned as a princely seat at the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern era.

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The castle features elegant staircases and numerous terracotta decorations depicting characters from mythology.

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The Gothic Chapel.

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Some of our group is listening to the auto guides and trying to learn some history, others are not.  

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Another inner courtyard and a view of the countryside from the castle. 

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The castle garden & a picture of us at the garden mirror. 

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Berg Aggstein:  About 10 miles north along the Danube from Melk is the ruins of Aggstein Castle (Burgruine Aggstein).  It stands high above the shores of the Danube River on a steep cliff and it is built on a massive long rock.  The castle was founded in 1231, and was destroyed and rebuilt several times.  The surviving sections include parts of the dining hall, kitchen, chapel, towers and its mighty walls.  The castle is known as the place where the Kuenringer (robber barons) lived.  They are alleged to have captured ships traveling downriver with an iron chain stretched across the Danube.

 

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And time for a little refreshment.

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We all really enjoyed climbing around and looking at all of the castle ruins. 

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The castle chapel and then a picture of the castle toilet. The contents would just drop down to the level below. 

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Recent findings allow dating of the oldest remains of walls of the castle ruins Aggstein to the 
period around 1200.

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One can see that below the castle is the Danube River and can imagine how the Kuenringer (robber barons) captured ships traveling downriver with an iron chain stretched across the Danube.

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Our pleasant drove through the Wachau Valley.

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Loved the frog crossing signs we saw along the way!

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Spitz town on the Danube:  It’s located on the left bank of the Danube. This old market village, has been occupied since the time of the Celts and was first mentioned in 830 AD.  It’s known for the vineyards rising above it, and the Late Gothic church of St. Maurice.  In the church is a carved group of Apostles from 1380 and an altarpiece by Kremser Schmidt on the high altar. Sitting above the town is the ruins of the Hinterhaus Fortress.

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The Late Gothic church of St. Maurice.

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Inside St. Maurice we saw “The apostles” which date back to 1380.

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This is the altarpiece by Kremser Schmidt on the high altar and another picture of the very pretty church. 

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Spitz is famous for its production of apricots.  They even have an “Apricot Festival” in July.  The apricots are available as dumplings, cakes, strudels, marmalades, fruit stews or fruity and delicious brandies.  We tried out the liquid apricot.

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Durstein:  This was our last stop on our Wachau Valley adventure.  Durnstein was first mentioned in 1019 and gained notoriety in 1192 when Richard the Lionheart was held captive in the castle by Duke Lepold V of Austria.  Durnstein is well-known for its wineries and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Wachau region. 

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Durstein Castle ruin sits above the town.  We didn’t hike up to it. 

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And you wonder….what could possibly be going on to have this group watching so intently?  Well, I guess we were all trying to figure out how a car was going to ever get out of a tiny area that it had been wedged into by numerous other cars.  And yes, after considerable maneuvering it went purring on down the by-way.  It doesn’t always take a lot to get the attention of this family!

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The best and most memorable times in the world…..are with family!

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Then the family happily loaded up into the car and Jim B drove us back to Vienna.  Jim, Eric & I spent the night with Jim & Kellee then early the next morning caught a train from Vienna to Budapest to begin our next adventure which was from Budapest, Hungary to Bucharest, Romania by river boat.  That blog will be my next post. 



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Posted April 25, 2016 by marilynfarmer in Travel

6 responses to “Easter Weekend in Austria with Family

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  1. Thanks so much for continuing to share your wonderful pictures of your travels. I am hoping, one of these days, I will actually meet you on one of the GCT or OAT tours if you still take them.

    Frank Dunbar

    • Hello Frank. It would be so nice to meet you because yes we still do OAT and GCT trips. My next post will be Eastern Europe cruise and interestingly enough a gal heard my name and rushed up to meet me because she follows my blogs. It was fun! Do you have a trip booked?

  2. Great pictures! Looking forward to the next chapter! Thanks for sharing!!!

    Becky and Don Reynolds
  3. Loved your pictures and commentary, Marilyn. Armchair travel is kind of fun, too! I loved that one bragging point feature of the castle was the heat register in each room. That’s a definite plus as castles can be pretty cold! You saw some beautiful scenery and loved St. Maurice’s. Looks like a great weekend with a great family! Love, Vera

    • Hi Vera, thanks cousin, glad you enjoyed our Easter weekend. It’s always so much fun putting the blog together. Until I started putting this together I hadn’t realized that Jim took the picture of the four of us looking over the wall watching that car try to get out of the weird place it had been parked. It was fun all over again! Then you realize how fun and important the little things of life are. Oh yes, the heat register in the castle was delightful, because like you said I had a feeling it might be a bit drafty. Always so much fun being out and about with family.

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