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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?

“Steirisch aufRETTERn” : A Slow Food Festival Experience at the Hotel Retter in Styria!

If I had to describe the seminar hotel & organic restaurant Retter with one word, it would be : Phenomenal. Having already travelled quite a bit around Styria, I can say I know most of the province’s outstanding hotels, wine & foodie destinations in South, East and Western Styria. But hardly ever have I experienced such a large hotel, with well over 100 rooms, managed quite so personally. This carries forward in the fellow guests we meet, some of whom gladly take over the role of a host, if need be, quickly integrating new arrivals & first-timers such as us. Many are the regulars around here, and strong is the sense of family, despite the size of the place. A big part of this is rooted in the welcoming spirit of the family itself. A spirit that runs through the hotel and its team, spearheaded by Mrs Ulli Retter, who personally hugs and helps everyone along crossing her way. She is the head of the family, a truly amazing and inspiring woman, and I love her in an instant.

 

We are talking a Slow Food Festival with well over 700 attendees. Dozens of working teams, countless organic producers, a never-ending smorgasbord of food & wines from Austria. And yet, the atmosphere is calm, friendly, personal at all times. Amazing.

This is what it feels like, arriving at the Retter Hotel ...

This is what it feels like, arriving at the Retter Hotel …

 

... in our beautiful “Castle Room” (Turmzimmer) ...

… in our beautiful “Castle Room” (Turmzimmer) …

 

... with a good look over the rest of the hotel, as well as the awakening nature during spring in front of us …

… with a good look over the rest of the hotel, as well as the awakening nature during spring in front of us …

 

... off we go on our herbal walking tour ...

… off we go on our herbal walking tour …

 

... getting a feel for the nature around us ...

… getting a feel for the nature around us …

 

... Stefan, our herbal nature guide, is well rooted in his homeland, experience and knowledge of the local plants ...

… Stefan, our herbal nature guide, is well rooted in his homeland, experience and knowledge of the local plants …

 

... revealing many new things of old (and new).

… revealing many new things of old (and new).

 

While fellow guests end up in animated discussions with him ...

While fellow guests end up in animated discussions with him …

 

... I enjoy having my soul arrive in this beautiful place, simply watching the wonderful landscape around me.

… I enjoy having my soul arrive in this beautiful place, simply watching the wonderful landscape around me.

 

If you, too, are keen to walk in our footsteps, personally designed signposts will always guide you on your way.

If you, too, are keen to walk in our footsteps, personally designed signposts will easily guide you on your way.

 

 

Do make sure you sign up for the personal wine tasting with her, lovely lady of the house Ulli Retter: She knows quite a thing or two about local organic farming, success stories in agriculture and tourism, as well as the whole philosophy around sustainability in life. A pleasure listening to her, she is such a proud ambassador of our own homeland Austria!

Do make sure you sign up for the personal wine tasting with the lovely lady of the house, Ulli Retter: She knows a thing or two about local organic farming, success stories in agriculture and tourism, as well as the whole philosophy around sustainability in life & business. A pleasure listening to her, she is such a proud ambassador of our own homeland Austria!

 

Retter Hotel has all these food & environmental awards, it’s remarkable: Green Globe International. Grüne Haube. Das Österreichische Umweltzeichen. Bio Austria. Slow Food Styria.

Being here, I am once again reminded of the fact that rewards are but the “tip of an iceberg” of lots and lots of work, heart & effort carried out by the entire team around this family-run hotel in Styria. How else would you describe an atmosphere where 700 people gather for a food festival showing no signs of stress or chaos anywhere along the way?

“The only foodie event I’ve ever been to that compares in size and style is the “Long Table Tasting Event in Graz“, where we were hosted back in 2013 together with nearly 700 other guests. That event, however, was organised by an entire city; you are one single hotel business!” Kudos to you, dear Ulli Retter then. And yes, it’s knowing you’ve arrived at a special place of welcome & team spirit when you may enjoy moments like these. Check this out.

Den Tag beginnen mit dem Sonnengruß im Bett ...

Sun kissed mornings …

 

... sowie beim Morgen-Yoga mit der lieben Christa ...

… continue during morning yoga with lovely local instructor Christa …

 

... das Frühstück schmeckt in dieser herrlichen Atmosphäre auf gleich doppelt so gut ...

… and wouldn’t you just love to have breakfast here with us …

 

... und zwischen dem #LifeOfATravelBlogger mit Laptop auf der Sonnenterrasse ...

… between the #LifeOfATravelBlogger where we gather inspiration posting live from our trip …

 

... Schaukelstunden in der Wiese ...

… and sweet hours of doing “nothing” …

 

... und genussvollen Kuschelstunden mit Sauna & Kräuterdampfbad im Spa-Bereich des Hauses ...

… you can just while away an entire day like that …

 

... vergeht die Zeit wie im Flug : Schon ist es Zeit für den Höhepunkt unseres Kurzurlaubes ...

… before it is time to “go with the foodie fest flow” …

 

... dem Fest „steirisch aufRETTERn“ nämlich !

… called “steirisch aufRETTERn” in the local language, referring to the Slow Food Festival during spring !

 

Das bedeutet einerseits lokaler Handwerksgenuss, wie dieser Dame hier beim traditionellen Klöppeln zusehen können ...

Essentially, a large congregation of craftspeople showcasing traditional local crafts, such as lacemaking here …

 

... andererseits, Bio-Sorten-Vielfaltsgenuss ...

… different organic crops …

 

... Brotgenuss (ach, wie herrlich, unser wundersames, köstliches, frisches Brot in Österreich, bzw. der Steiermark doch schmeckt!) ...

… beautiful bread (oh, how I just love our local Austrian – Styrian bread variety!) …

 

... Ölgenuss (Erinnerungen an meinen jüngsten Besuch der Ölmühle Fandler mit StudentInnen der FH Joanneum werden wach!) ...

… tasting all the fruit & veggie oils produced around here (bringing back the memories of my recent trip to the Oil Mill Fandler!) …

 

... Musikgenuss ...

… supported by typical local music bands & choirs …

 

... aktiver Genuss, wie hier sein eigenes Holz-Herzchen für zuhause fertigen können ...

… an opportunity for you to become hands-on, producing your own little wooden heart to take home with you …

 

... Verkostungsgenuss mit steirischen Gewürzen ...

… tasting some more of the local flavours of herbs on your bread …

 

... sowie dem passenden Gesprächsgenuss mit dem Team der Apfelschmiede Dreier ...

… talking to the locals, of course, such as the family business of the “Apfelschmiede Dreier” apple orchard …

 

... Weingenuss, wie hier beim Demeter-Betrieb Ploder-Rosenberg, die eine Ausstrahlung an den Tag legen, die symbolisch für den Charakter des gesamten Festes steht ...

… wines, for sure, such as the ones produced by the organic Demeter wine estate Ploder-Rosenberg …

 

... Fleischgenuss: Danke an die herzlichen Köche, deren Lammbraten mir gedanklich heute noch auf der Zunge zergeht ...

… beautiful, organic meat served to you by a cook wearing a Styrian kilt, like, why not …

 

... Käsegenuss ...

… and cheese, of course, to finish it all off …

 

... DANKE, Familie Retter ...

… THANK YOU, dear Retter family & team …

 

... für diesen wunderbaren und sehr persönlichen Empfang bei Euch: Ein Fest dieser Herzlichkeit und Größenordnung muss erst noch erfunden werden. Wahrlich Weltklasse! Lucia und ich kommen bestimmt wieder !!

… for such a wonderful, personal welcome! Lucia and I would love to come again and again !!

 

Check out even more photographs from our trip here:

 

Disclaimer: We have been invited by Hotel Retter on this trip to Styria, supported by the Austrian Eco Label. 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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Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
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