The “most beautiful dead-end in the world”: After travelling to Kleinwalsertal, I found it again in the Lower Austrian Waldviertel. A happy little dead-end street that goes by the candid name of “Klein-Nondorf”, leading to the organic farmstead of the Besenbäck family. Only an hour away from where I grew up, the world has changed completely, what with total peace and tranquility being the norm over traffic and small town travel flair. “Up there”, Fritz points at the main road further up the hill, “they once redirected traffic through our village because of the existing road work. We thought we couldn’t ever sleep again! And we really started to miss not hearing a thing, realising this is exactly what our guests come for, too.”
After the “traffic jams” of past summers, Klein-Nondorf has simply reverted to becoming a dead-end street once and for all. No through traffic is allowed to pass any more. Following my visit at Grandma Rienesl’s house some ten minutes down the road, I vow to return to the Besenbäck farm, too because …
… Fritz Besenbäck is a truly gifted wood carving artist! And I am very tempted indeed to come and see him for a workshop one day.
Fritz likes to look at his works of art like he does at his children. “Everything is already in the wood” – you just have to follow its course as an artist. Of course, a lot more is involved in terms of training and technique, as the excellence of his work compared to my own little dabs at previous wood carving workshops shows. I love taking a good look at Fritz’ wood work, both decoration and furniture, around their farmhouse and garden.
The Besenbäck family has hospitality written all over, and even if Grandpa doesn’t talk as much any more, he still likes to take you by the hand and lead you right into the stables, where we watch mama cow lick her one week old calf. What a peaceful event, and one I have rarely seen in my whole life: The little calf falls asleep in its hay bed, watched over by mummy and a couple more “cousins & aunties”. Check this out.
The Besenbäck farm: Authenticity, craftsmanship, and traditional ways of life. “If you look out the window …”
… Judith Besenbäck points, as we take a look at her farm holiday apartments “Valentina”, “Flora”, and “Elisa”, “you see a very simple, peaceful-looking cultural landscape that we as farmers have created here. Our guests just love it!” And I can totally see why, I add silently, and smile warmly at her. If you add Sheila the horse grazing in front of the window, listen out for the chicken cooing in the courtyard, or watch the cows choose the best spot in the sun, dream and reality of an organic farm really come true. “Of course, at the end of the day, it’s all about making it work”, Fritz tells me as we sit down together over cake, coffee and lunch (all home-made, of course). “To run a farm, to look after and provide for your guests, to still have time for your family and your hobby, that’s what’s important to me because that’s what everybody feels – including the animals. And I believe this is why people come again, and again: They feel we are honest not only with them, but also with what we have. There are absolutely no stages here, or anything artificial. We have what we have, and it is enough for all of us.” Highly appreciated, I take – especially in times like these.
“Come and join us for lunch, Elena”, Judith invites me with a wink, interrupting the almost philosophical conversation Fritz and I have shared for a while. Earlier on, she has milled her organic rye grains and used the fresh flour for cooking four delicious servings of veggie spaetzle. Mmmh! “So good”, I smile at her thankfully, and, “I’ll gladly make a point of coming back for one of your creative wood carving workshops, dear Fritz!”
Check out Fritz & Judith’s farm holidays listing, including a well-maintained, English description of their activities & online booking facilities. All my Waldviertel pictures are published here:
Disclaimer: I have been supported by the Austrian Farm Holiday Association of Lower Austria on this trip to Waldviertel. All opinions are my own.