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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?

Burgenland & Bratislava: #Winelover Destinations & TwinCityLiner.

“First, you hold your glass of wine carefully over a white surface in order to check its colour. Then, you sniff at the wine, not too strongly otherwise all the tender aromas will not reach you fully. And only then comes the tasting test.” *Slurp*.

What my dear friend & “winesome” blogging colleague Anna Zell has taught me during the red wine workshop in Burgenland, I am able to share with my friends a good 24 hours later travelling from Vienna to the Slovakian capital city Bratislava. Angelika & Gudrun, for example, smile at recalling some of their first modest experiences with tasting red currant wine during their youth, and I have to say that I am a) too young to laugh with them and b) have never tasted red currant wine before, a wine that is typical for the area of Devinj near Bratislava. Is it sweet or dry?, I wonder right before its tasting. But let us start from the beginning. Tasting red currant wine on this trip with the TwinCityLiner from Vienna to Bratislava only happened rather late after all (” … that you have drive home still today, well that is rather tragic!”, our dear guide for the day Richard laughs). But first of all, let me tell you about …

… our red wine seminar in Blaufränkischland Central Burgenland. Here I am, learning what I shall put to good use during my day trip with the TwinCityLiner from Vienna to Bratislava: Do’s & Don’ts of proper wine tasting!

Fachsimpeln, um (endlich, wirklich!) mitreden zu können. Meine liebe Freundin & Weinkennerin Anna Zell veranstaltet in der Vinothek Horitschon im Mittelburgenland gerne kompetente Weinseminare wie diesen Rotwein-Workshop "Kirsche im Glas"!

Happy to participate in this wine workshop organised by my friend Anna Zell at the wine shop Horitschon in Central Burgenland. Anna, from her many years of experience with wine, really knows how to teach good tasting techniques and uses a lot of creativity in doing so.

Wir lernen, Aromen zu entscheiden und Geschmäcker des Weines den wir verkosten bestimmten Obst- oder Gemüse- sowie auch Schokoladesorten zuzuordnen. So macht eine professionelle Weinverkostung gleich noch viel mehr Spaß!

We learn how to differentiate the many aromas of wine, and to attribute them to certain flavours such as mango, chocolate or berries. Tasting them really makes the connection with wine aromas!

Eines der Rotwein-Aromen ist übrigens Erdbeere: Mit frischen Erdbeeren unter der Nase entdeckt sich dieses gleich noch viel leichter ...

As proven here: Nibbling strawberries during our tasting workshop makes for a really pleasant wine workshop experience! 🙂

... oder habt Ihr lieber Lust auf Schokolade- und Vanille-Aormen?

Or is it vanilla, chocolate, muscat or pepper spice aromas that you prefer? Wine really has a lot of aromas on display, as we are able to see here.

Ich mag unser Weinseminar: Hier beim Prüfen der Rotweinfarbe, wie sich auch später beim Ribiselwein nahe Bratislava erweist!

I really like our wine seminar: Here, we are testing for the colour of the red wine, a skill I am able to put into practice only little later during our tasting experience in Bratislava, Slovakia!

Danke für die großartige und vor allem wirklich professionell organisierte Weinverkostung im Burgenland, liebe Anna!

Thank you for this really good and very professionally organized tasting experience here in Burgenland, dear Anna!

 

From Burgenland to Lower Austria to Vienna to Bratislava. Everywhere, wine grows as a connecting element of this unique Central European #winelover destination! On the Danube river, the TwinCityLiner creates perfect connections for city hoppers like us.

“Elena, where are you?” Arriving at the TwinCityLiner boat landing stage at Vienna Schwedenplatz, I am already being waited for: On this Sunday, my dear friend & travel blogging colleague Angelika Mandler has designed a really cool outing for us travel bloggers. Gudrun Krinzinger (“Reisebloggerin“), Florian & Cori (“TravelPins“), Albert Karsai (“ComedianTraveller“), Angelika of “Wiederunterwegs.com” and I hop on board the speed boat from Vienna to Bratislava and get to know the “Slovakian way of life” for the day – last but not least thanks to the efforts of our dear city guide Richard! On board, Astrid has prepared some breakfast for us which is greeted by camera flashes, Social Media shares & enthusiasm. Off we go, then, slowly making our way down the Danube canal and out “on to the open sea”, the mighty Danube river downstream to Bratislava. Well, it is a sea breeze “kind of”, as we landlocked Austrians like to think … 😉 ).

Beim Verlassen des Donaukanals unmittelbar nach Wien gibt der Schnellkatamaran Gas: Nur 75 Minuten dauert die Überfahrt von Wien Schwedenplatz nach Bratislava Stadt.

Leaving the Danube canal, the speed boat does indeed “gather speed”: It is only 75 minutes from the landing stage in Vienna Schwedenplatz to the city of Bratislava in the East.

Vorbei an wunderbar romantischen Ausblicken wie diesen: Die Burg noch über der Stadt Bratislava in der Slowakei kündet von der Ankunft im Nachbarland.

Here we are, past beautiful views of the city of Bratislava in our neighboring country, right downstream, right round the corner from where we live.

Dort angekommen, genießen wir gleich mal eine Fahrt in einem kleinen, schaukelnden Stadtbus der uns die wichtigsten Sehenswürdigkeiten Bratislavas entlangfährt. Da es mein erster Aufenthalt in der slowakischen Hauptstadt ist, gefällt es mir sehr mir so einen guten Überblick über die Stadt machen zu können.

Having arrived, we hop on board this little city bus which drives us around the main sights of town – Cori obviously enjoys the trip and so do I! As it is my first visit to the Slovakian capital city, I really like the overview we get thanks to this bus trip.

Den ganzen Tag über bin ich eigentlich ziemlich fassungslos, es bisher noch nie in das schöne Bratislava, das nur 60 Kilometer östlich der Stadt Wien liegt, geschafft zu haben *Schande-über-mich*.!

The entire day, I am quite appalled at never having been to Bratislava before, it being right round the corner actually from our own capital city Vienna. Must make a point of coming back soon, anyway!

Cori von den "TravelPins" nimmt es da gelassener und setzt zum "Sprung aus dem Stadtrundfahrtswagen" an - was Reiseblogger für ein kreatives Foto so alles machen. ;)

Cori, of “TravelPins”, takes it easy and goes for jumping styles in front of our city bus. Travel bloggers “would do anything” for a great photograph, right! 😉

Hauptakteur im Rahmen unserer großartigen Bratislava-Entdecker-Tour: Richard, ein begeisterter Fremdenführer der mit seinen Antworten auf jede Frage die wir ihm stellen in Erinnerung bleibt und der mir gerne und viel über die Geschichte des Landes erzählt.

Dear Richard, our city guide for the day, likes to talk us through the history and present of this town right at the border of the former Iron Curtain, separating Eastern from Western Europe. He speaks perfect German and really knows a lot – it is a pleasure to listen to him.

Mittels Büchern erklärt er uns Zusammenhänge und Wirkungsgrad ehemaliger Herrscher, war hier doch auch mal eine Hochburg der österreichisch-ungarischen Doppelmonarchie mit der Stadt Pressburg, heute Bratislava.

Thanks to his vivid storytelling and his perfectly dry humour, we are able to laugh and learn a lot about Bratislava and Slovakia today.

Bratislava vereint sowohl die hügeligen Ausläufer der "Kleinen Karpaten", auf denen wir hier stehen, als auch die endlose Ebene Pannoniens Richtung Süden, verbunden durch die Donau in der Mitte. Die Stadt hat rund 450.000 Einwohner bei fast gleich vielen Stadtbezirken wie Wien - ein Verwaltungsaufwand der laut Richard reduziert werden sollte.

Bratislava is built on the hills overlooking the Danube River and now also stretches further south and into the border with the Hungarian Plains. The city nears some 500.000 inhabitants and has 17 districts, almost as many as its much larger neighboring city Vienna – an administrative burden that should be reduced, according to Richard.

 

Around Bratislava, we discover the pretty little small town Devinj (“Theben”) right by the Danube river: Wine. Castles. History. Nature. And views that span many hundreds of kilometres! It is beautiful here.

The radiant sun on this intensely luminous spring day, which opens the view on a fascinating and immensely vast landscape, surely does play a big part in our happy TwinCityLiner excursion. However, to fully understand the area and its history means also getting face to face with what has been here not so long ago: Meter-high barbed wire fences, the shooting command of the local police and the fear & shackles of the former “Iron Curtain“. Unfortunately, I have to admit, the consequences of this recent history, which ended only 25 years ago by the fall of the Berlin Wall, still form a part of our reality today: Almost all our travels that we have taken either as a family or on my own have led us almost exclusively into the “West”. And so it happens that I am here for the first time in my life, on this beautiful day in May, at what is literally only a stone’s throw away from where I live in Lower Austria.

“For us, the boundaries have simply always been open”, I nod in agreement to Florian & Cori, of “TravelPins”. We are so lucky, really. Check this out.

Die romantisch gelegene Kleinstadt Theben ("Devinj") begeistert mich schon ob ihrer Ähnlichkeit zum "schönen Ortsbild" vieler eigener, österreichischer Städte.

The cute little small town “Theben” (Devinj) gets me enthusiastic just by its pretty look, which surprisingly matches what we see in terms of cute little small towns in Austria. We are one big family, after all!

Ein Modell erinnert heute, wo früher eine Kaserne stand: Schon die Römer und davor die Kelten wussten sich diesen einmalig fruchtbaren Landstrich am Donaustrom zunutze zu machen.

This is a model commemorating past peoples’ efforts to cultivate the land here, such as Romans and Celtic tribes before them, who have all had their history and part in shaping the land we see today.

HIer blicken wir auf die Donau hinab, direkt an der Grenze zwischen Österreich und der Slowakei.

View upon the Danube river, right at the border where Slovakia meets Austria.

Richard in Aktion ...

Our dear guide Richard deep in explanations and thought …

... "wie tief ist der Brunnen?"

… “how deep is the well?”

Etwas weiter unten, direkt am Donaufluss, erinnert uns dieses Mahnmal mit "Original-Schusslöchern" an eine wilde Zeit vor der Wende ...

A little further downstream, we walk upon this memorial site that reminds us of past times when shooting was common during the Cold War …

... dazu gefällt mir besonders gut dieses Herz, welches ein Künstler aus übriggebliebenen Drähten des Eisernen Vorhanges der hier verlief, geschaffen hat.

… and I really like this statue of an artist, who has used part of the original barbed-wire fences to create this sculpture. It now stands right by the Danube and is visible to everyone cycling or walking past.

Ein sicherer Weg, "es besser zu machen", lautet auf Völkerverständigung, Vertrauenschaffen und Nähe erleben. Wo geht dies besser als beim Besuch eines örtlichen Weinkellers? ;)

A good tip to create a better understanding among different people is to go and sit and drink with them: Here we are, entering a wine cellar in the small town of Devinj that is known for its (sweet) red currant wine! 😉

Hier lernen wir alles Wissenswerte rund um die Ribiselwein-Produktion des kleinen Ort Thebens ("Devinj"), die erstaunlich weit gediehen ist und sehr professionell betrieben wird. Hier gibt es Ribiselwein in sämtlichen Ausbaustufen und Jahrgängen, sogar in Barrique: Die Slowaken sind bemüht, auf Qualität zu setzen!

Did you know that red currant wine can be sweet or dry, and even stored in barrels to add a certain flavour pretty much as any wine? We learn all there is to know about red currant wine from this cooperative of dedicated wine growers in Devinj, near Bratislava in Slovakia.

Bye bye Slowakei: Schön war's dank des einfach zu organisierenden Tagesausfluges mit dem TwinCityLiner!

Bye bye Slovakia: What a cool trip, and so easy to organise thanks to the good connections with the TwinCityLiner!

 

Check out even more travel pics about Bratislava as well as our trip to Theben (“Devinj”) and the TwinCityLiner here on Flickr:

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by the TwinCityLiner on this trip from Vienna to Bratislava. 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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