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?
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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!”
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.
“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 …!
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.
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.