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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Burg Bernstein: Be My Guest, Take A Rest.


Gourmet Travel, Austria, Travel With Locals, Europe, Travel Blog 0

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“Our Canadian guests have been coming back for the past 24 years”, young host & castle knight Erasmus tells us with pride in his voice while casually showing my friend & fellow travel blogger Monika how to open a bottle of sparkling wine using a saber. We are standing inside the large palace courtyard of Burg Bernstein and find ourselves slightly nervous, more from excitement rather than fear. Well Tanja, in any case, has managed to open the wrong door and released the palace ghost … but that is another story. And one that shall be told only if you have made your way here. Because coming here is a must – ask the Canadians …!

“So all I do is slide the saber alongside the bottle neck and then …?” – “Yes exactly, just hold it down tightly and push through.” Erasmus’ voice is as happy as it is cheerful and soothing. Monika finally relaxes and goes ahead: With one single movement of her sabred arm, she has managed to open our sparkling aperitif for the night – well done, Monika! “Prost!”

 

Burg Bernstein is honorary history coupled with the flair of an old, luxurious palace hotel that sets itself apart thanks to the unparalleled personal touches of its hosts, the Almasy family.

It is my second visit to Burg Bernstein this year, and man was I eager to come back since this time we have actually been invited to spend the night at this unique palace hotel! Besides the historic ambiance marked by thick walls, ancient furniture, solid moats & castle gates as well as wild ivy growing everywhere, Burg Bernstein thanks to its affiliation with the “Historic Hotels & Mansions” quality label also welcomes us to its 11 luxury guest rooms. All those many little details to be found in the rooms, ranging from a simple “student room” all the way to luxurious suites, would not come alive, however, if it were not for the charm and passion of the resident Almasy family. It really is their vision and constant engagement that makes this place what it is – truly special.

Ankommen auf Burg Bernstein ...

Arriving at Burg Bernstein …

 

... bedeutet sich unmittelbar wohlzufühlen. Und ich lüge nicht - am selben Abend unserer Ankunft bin ich bereits tiefenentspannt! ;)

… means relaxing immediately. And I am not telling you any lies – this is me within only a few hours of arriving! 😉

 

Dazu trägt bestimmt auch die tolle Begrüßung zu nachmittäglichem Kaffee & Kuchen bei, serviert in liebevoller Hausarbeit durch die Familie Almassy.

Part of the reason must be the quality of the food they serve around here – all of it home-made, with lots of tender loving care. Yum those cakes and pastries !!

 

Die Erkundung von Burg Bernstein gibt den Blick auf den gleichnamigen Ort Bernstein frei, welche zugleich eine der höchsten Erhebungen des Südburgenlandes bildet.

Exploring Burg Bernstein offers us this view from the ancient castle wall over the small town with the same name “Bernstein”.

 

Hier erkunden wir, nur wenige Gehminuten entfernt, das berühmte Felsenmuseum Bernstein welches sich der Präsentation seltener Edelsteine, einzigartiger Bernstein-Exponate sowie natürlich dem Edelserpentin, auch "österreichische Jade" genannt, verschrieben hat.

Here, at only a few steps away from Burg Bernstein, we visit the local mountain museum explaining the mining history of the so-called “Edelserpentin” stone only to be found in this area of Burgenland.

 

Local Stone Mason Niko Potsch takes us on a trip exploring the world of (precious) stones and understanding more about their unique fascination.

“My Dad has really been very proud when we first opened the local mountain museum here in Bernstein and honoured his work about mining and carving the typical ‘Edelserpentin‘. It meant something to him.” Full of the same pride, Niko Potsch talks about his father Otto Potsch who has managed to make himself known far across the borders of Burgenland for his unique stone art creations. The “Edelserpentin” stone is also called “Austrian Jade” alluding to its similarity with real greenstone, however it is much easier to work. I watch in awe as the artist Otto Potsch demonstrates in a video recording how to carve a horse statue out of a stone block of about 200 kg. He seemingly only releases the figure, as if it had already been there, thus speaking of the creativity and imagination of a true genius. Besides the exhibition about the mining history of the “Edelserpentin” stone, the Bernstein mountain museum also offers a permanent photo exhibition featuring amber and insects photographed therein, as well as a shop with the opportunity to buy stone and amber jewellery. Something for the girls at last …!

"Glück auf!", dem Spruch aller Bergleute folgend, beginnen wir unseren Rundgang durch das Felsenmuseum Bernstein.

Starting our exploration of the mountain museum in Bernstein …

 

Auf anschauliche Art & Weise lernen wir, dass ganz Bernstein "unterkellert" ist - und nicht etwa, um Wein zu lagern wie in meiner Heimat, sondern um den grün glänzenden Edelserpentin zu gewinnen ...

… learning how half the hill is actually carved out digging for precious stones here …

 

... von der Mühsal früherer Bergarbeitsschritte erzählen uns diese Maschinen ...

… machines such as these ones telling us about the hardship of the former mining industry here …

 

... und blicken wir umso anerkennender auf die große Privatsammlung an Edelsteinen der Familie Potsch.

… whereas the Potsch family has always been linked to large (private) collections of beautiful stones from all over the Alpine regions of Austria.

 

Niko Potsch ...

Our host and managing director of the local mountain museum in Bernstein, Niko Potsch …

 

... hat dem künstlerischen Erbe seines Vaters zum Edelserpentin hier ein lebendes Denkmal geschaffen.

… honouring the heritage of his father, himself a talented stone mason and artist, by opening this museum and permanent exhibition centre.

 

Die Pferdeskulptur, dessen Werdegang wir in einem Video verfolgt haben, ist wahrlich einzigartig.

The horse sculpture Otto Potsch has managed to carve is truly outstanding and of very high value …

 

... ebenso wie diese "Zeitgenossen" hier: Fotografien 40 Millionen Jahre alter Insekten, sogenannte "Inklusen" im Bernstein sind hier ausgestellt. WOW!

… as are these photographs of about 40 million year-old insects, secluded away in amber stones. WOW!

 

Danke für den tollen Besuch hier im Felsenmuseum Bernstein!

We loved our visit here. Thank you so much, dear team at Bernstein museum!

 

From Burg Bernstein, it is easy to start exploring the Southern Burgenland country district. Alternatively, you can follow the local motto and simply relax: “Time for a book. Time for a holiday. Time for Bernstein.”!

Burg Bernstein is a place for “happy people”. Do not look here for constant entertainment such as night bars or TV inside the rooms – it is far different from that. All the rooms here, as well as the entire ambiance of Burg Bernstein talk about the philosophy of SLOW – Slow Travel, Slow Food, Slow Me, values that appeal especially to us as we travel quite a lot and quite intensively. I for instance still find myself surprised at how quiet it is here even on the third day of my stay. How warm & cosy the luxurious palace rooms have been heated up using the original stoves provided. How magnificent Andrea & Erasmus’ smiles are, both our hosts loving to talk about food, healthy cuisine, cooking and offering cooking courses for their guests in the nearby future. There are so many more little details that speak of love, attention and care in this place; values that truly deserve your attention in return.

Mahlzeit mit Frühstücksfreuden auf Burg Bernstein - dieses Frühstück vermisse ich schon jetzt ...!

I will miss those beautiful, lavish meal times at Burg Bernstein – breakfast it is here …!

 

Von den gemütlichen Burgzimmern aus ...

From our cosy, luxurious palace rooms (this one being called “Aunties’ room”, by the way!) …

 

... sieht man direkt in den Garten und weit über die Landschaft des Südburgenlandes hinein ...

… it is only a look outside the window to find this pretty little garden and wide open views into the countryside …

 

... die liebe Monika erklärt sich bereit, unseren Sekt fürs Abendessen zu "köpfen" ...

… dear Monika is being taught by our local host Erasmus how to open this bottle of sparkling wine using a real saber …

 

... nach getaner Arbeit heißt es entspannen ...

… when after she has managed, it is time to sit down together for dinner, having “time” at Burg Bernstein …

 

... genießen (natürlich: Hier bei der Nachspeise mit hausgemachten Buttermilchtörtchen auf Uhudlergelee ...!)

… time to enjoy the beautiful local food, of course: Butter milk cake with a special type of Sorbet called “Uhudler” made from local Isabella grapes …

 

... sowie das wohlig warme Kaminfeuer im Kaminzimmer auf der Haut spüren. Einfach. Nur. Herrlich.

… time to enjoy the comfort a warm fire on your skin, enhanced by a bottle of great Austrian red wine.

 

Diesen Besuch möchten wir bald wiederholen !!!

Let us repeat this visit soon, dear friends! Here is to our host dear Andrea Almasy, already in our middle: Keep up the good work and efforts!

 

Next time, let me tell you how many more excursion targets palaces there are in the BURGENland. My sneak preview reads as follows: Wine Tasting, E-Bike-Trip, Wedding Bakery, Kellerstöckel wine bars, open air museums & a historic Dracula theatre … Burgenland simply is outstanding all over Austria!

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by Burgenland Tourismus on this BURGENland trip during the wine autumn season. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

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