Summer Festival Highlights in Lower Austria

The voice of the young singer “Rosario La Tremendita” fills the stage: Smoky, sublime, “tremendous” and full of fire as the Andalusian Flamenco she sings. While she draws her breath, the equally impressive singer Mohammad Motamedi from Iran responds in his very own Far Eastern way to the fiery flamenco, resulting in a singing duet as I have never heard it in my whole life.

These days, we are travelling to attend the Lower Austrian Festival & Culture Summer at the event sites of Krems, Melk, Schallaburg & Grafenegg. Actually, me living right here in Krems, I sometimes find we hardly take the time visiting the “treasures at our doorstep”, don’t you? More often than not, we prefer travelling instead to far-flung places such as New Zealand, South America, Portugal or France. This time, however, the world … has come to visit us here in my beautiful Lower Austrian wine district, at the cultural sites of Melk & Krems along the beautiful Wachau Danube valley. A good opportunity for me & my travel blogger colleagues Nienke & Nick (TheTravelTester), Gudrun (“Reisebloggerin”) and Monique (“Teilzeitreisender”) to check out the culinary cultural events taking place.


“Metropolis reflects power and downfall of mankind during the First World War, the current exhibition at Schallaburg directly mirrored by our summer theatre here in the Wachau Melk Arena.”

Such are the words of welcome spoken by the friendly and dedicated artistic director of the Wachauarena Melk, Alexander Hauer, at the foot of the world famous Abbey of Melk by the Danube. “Metropolis, the big soft belly of the beast” after a silent film by Fritz Lang in the 1920s … While Gudrun nods knowingly, I am still thinking about what we can expect here? Alexander Hauer takes us behind the scenes, we see the actors shortly before the performance takes place and are able to feel the excitement. Looking back, I can only say: WOW. The ability of the immensely talented actors to take us on the journey of deep human emotions and tribulations, has deeply impressed me.


“I’m not beautiful. I am alive!”

“We need a mediator between brain and hands. And that is the heart.”

“The most precious thing we have is our life. It is only given to us once. It is our chance! Let us seize it.”

Backstage in der Wachauarena Melk: Kurz vor der Aufführung von Metropolit sind wir mit dem künstlerischen Leiter des Theaters Alexander Hauer unterwegs.

Backstage at the Wachauarena Melk: Shortly before we witness the theatre “Metropolis”, we are led around the premises by the artistic director Alexander Hauer.


Die Wachauarena liegt direkt am Fuße des mächtigen Barockstiftes Melk, am Tor zur Weltkulturerbelandschaft der Wachau.

The Wachauarena is located right at the foot of the city of Melk and famous Melk Abbey, at the gateway to the Wachau World Heritage Cultural Landscape.


Kulinarisch empfiehlt sich ein Besuch der Familie Ebner im Hotel Post in Melk, welche traditionelle Speisen zu sommerlich frischen Weinen servieren.

In terms of culinary recommendations, we can suggest you head to Hotel Restaurant Post by the Ebner family, who serve a light interpretation of traditional Austrian (summer) cuisine.


Glückliche Reiseblogger in Melk!

Happy travel bloggers Nienke (left) & Monique in Melk tasting typical Austrian delicacies!


Noch bis 2. August 2014 läuft die aktuelle Vorstellung von "Metropolis". Die Kultur Melk bietet das ganze Jahr über attraktive Veranstaltungen:

“Metropolis” will be shown until 2 August 2014. The “Kultur Melk” offers many events all year long:


Das Theater nutzt als erweiterte Kulisse gar das Stift Melk im Hintergrund und stellt einen faszinierenden Spannungsbogen zum Stück selbst her.

The theatre even works with the impressive Melk Abbey as a background to its portray of human emotions – a once in a lifetime theatre experience!


Parallel to the eloquent play “Metropolis”, the Schallaburg castle hosts the featured exhibition “Elation & misery” (“Jubel & Elend”) until 9 November 2014, offering to see one of the most extensive representations of World War I in Austria. 2014 marks the 100th “anniversary year” of the war-launch: Thanks to the lively descriptions, we go right into the details about what has happened during the war years of 1914 – 1918, still impacting world events today. It takes me back to history lessons at school: Shocking, really, to deal with the fearsome war events of World War I during this visit – however, there is no denying the actuality of what has happened in the distant past in light of current world events. The atmosphere of the magnificent Renaissance castle Schallaburg, the “most beautiful Renaissance castle north of the Alps”, provides a perfect backdrop for our visit. The adjoining gardens are a true delight and invite you to relax, enjoy & contemplate past & present in peace.

Ankommen im Renaissanceschloss Schallaburg: Der mittelalterliche Hof ist fein herausgeputzt!

Arriving at the Renaissance castle Schallaburg: The medieval courtyard presents itself in a perfect light and is always worth your visit – the last time I was here was over half a year ago, at the castle’s beautiful Christmas market!


Die Ausstellung "Jubel & Elend" gibt bis ins kleinste Detail Aufschluss über Geschichte & Verlauf des 1. Weltkrieges ...

The exhibition about World War I teaches us all there is to know about the sad course of events …


... im Anschluss locken zeitgemäße Freuden wie die geeiste Erdbeer-Balsamico-Suppe, ein wahrer Genuss an heißen Sommertagen!

… a century later, the world has at least changed around here: Enjoying a glacéed balsamic strawberry soup with my friends under the summer sun!


Der Besuch der Gärten auf Burg Schallaburg ist ebenfalls ein Muss.

Pretty gardens at Schallaburg castle – “Gartensommer Niederösterreich” sponsors comfy chairs to take a nap.


Ein Sinn für Romantik ...

Feel the love …


... Fotografie & Genuss im Grünen: Danke für den tollen Besuch hier auf der Schallaburg!

… for photography & gardens in Lower Austria: Thank you for an excellent visit at Schallaburg!


From the Wachau, we travel straight on to the adjoining Wagram district. Grafenegg Palace is unique in Austria – and home to a stunning, so-called “Wolkenturm Cloud Tower”, an architectural and cultural masterpiece of Lower Austria.

“If things get really busy, I just sit on my bike and cruise round the castle park in order to relax”, Julia Ornetsmüller laughs while welcoming us at the cultural event centre in Grafenegg. The castle park which surrounds the pretty Grafenegg Palace built in English Tudor style, has, in fact, something to calm you down almost instantly. Wide green spaces alternate with tall park trees and cosy little corners, such as the newly constructed hamlet. Again and again, I find myself returning here in order to take a walk with a good friend, for example. The castle itself, as well as its modern addition, the “Wolkenturm Cloud Tower“, are really worth seeing. The latter represents a stage for internationally acclaimed classical concerts with access to almost everyone: Tickets on the green areas around the auditorium are sold from € 10,-! “Especially local people from Lower Austria take up the offer for access to high culture in such a magnificent surrounding”, Julia tells us with pride in her eyes.

Der Kulturstandort "Wolkenturm" im Schlosspark Grafenegg begeistert architektonisch wie musikalisch: Hier finden Konzerte von internationalem Weltruhm statt.

The “Wolkenturm Cloud Tower” houses classical concerts and, thanks to its unique architecture, renders the sound of an orchestra in a most particular way, despite – or because – of being open air!


Das schmucke Schloss Grafenegg steht inmitten des gleichnamigen Schlossparks.

Pretty Grafenegg Palace set right inside the park.


Auch hier wird geprobt: Junge Band mit regionalem Volksorchester.

Here, too, they are rehearsing music events: We watch a young local folklore band in the palace courtyard.


Die Bibliothek des Schlosses führt uns zurück in die Geschichte ...

The library of the palace has us time-travel …


... und mich & meine Freunde in "herrschaftliche Positionen". :D

… leading my friends & me to take up “important positions”. 😀


Gleich im Anschluss erwartet uns mitten im Schlosspark dieses exklusive Sommerpicknick der Gourmet-Caterer Mörwald ...

Right after our visit of the park & palace, we are spoilt to a beautiful luxury gourmet picnic right inside the park …


... mir läuft schon wieder das Wasser im Mund zusammen.

… provided by local catering company Mörwald. I am getting hungry again … you?


Und auch hier kann ich nur sagen: Vielen Dank für den tollen Besuch in Grafenegg !!

Thank you so much, dear Julia, for hosting us here in Grafenegg !! Another great place to come back to, especially given the many attractions offered around here.


“Glatt & Verkehrt: We take traditional Austrian folk music. Weave in contemporary elements. And thus ‘knit’ a unique music & performance festival.”

Casually, Jo Aichinger, the artistic director of the Glatt & Verkehrt Festival, leans against the pillar in front of the Sound Space “Klangraum” Minoritenkirche Krems-Stein. He admits to being not quite awake yet, and when asked for how long he has already been the artistic director of the festival, he responds mischievously: “Far too long!” We join in his laughter, his openness drawing us right into the festival and concert series of “Glatt & Verkehrt“. His vivid account of his career, and that of the festival, seems to wake him up. He describes how “Glatt & Verkehrt” has developed into one of the most successful and established festivals in Lower Austria, taking place each year in July featuring national and international sound & performance artists. The festival series starts with “Imago Dei” at Easter and leads all the way into autumn: “HerbstZeitLos” is home to more sound artists during late September, as we are now able to experience during the summer time.

What has especially impressed me among the festival performances, as I mentioned right at the beginning, are the singing skills of the duo Quasida Rosario “La Tremendita” & Mohammad Motamedi, who have seemed to marry Andalucia & Persia through vocals and instruments. The band “Fanfarai” from Algeria & France also brought an exciting addition of upbeat and heart-warming rhythms encouraging us to dance – “even us tired Austrians”, as the singer proclaimed: “In France, I am used to people freaking out completely, dancing, going wild, spitting, all sorts of things. I THANK you for giving me so much attention and really listening to our music. We are not used to that!” After these words – and especially the subsequent music & rhythms – even the Austrians could no longer stay on their seats and danced away happily – awesome! Wearing my Bad Aussee typical Austrian Dirndl dress for the first time during this festival, I felt really proud and happy to join in the feeling!

(The fact that we were previously spoiled by the Winzer Krems to a glass of wine or two may have contributed to the good mood … pleasure, joy, music and dance go hand in hand after all! How fortunate to have it all right here at our doorstep in Krems. :D).

Los geht's: Auftakt zum "Glatt & Verkehrt" Festival mit Nienke auf dem roten Teppich von Krems.!

Off we go, celebrating “Glatt & Verkehrt” festival in Krems: Nienke with her Kaiserschmarren favourite Austrian dish on the red carpet. What better way to celebrate!


Kurz vor dem internationalen Musikgenuss "gönnen" wir uns noch eine Führung durch die Weingärten & Erlebniswelt der Winzer Krems - Sandgrube 13 ...

Shortly before the festival takes place at the Winzer Krems concert venue, we are hosted on a wine tour around the premises of the Wine Growers’ Cooperative of Krems …


... hier ist es möglich, die gesamte Weinlandschaft rund um Krems, Wachau & Kamptal "abzugehen" ...

… who have devised this walkable map, allowing us to get a feel for the local wine growing areas we are stepping on …


Die modernen Kellereien mit zahlreichen audio-visuellen Erlebnisstationen sowie gar einem "Wein-Kino" begeistern uns.

The modern wine cellars with lots of interactive tasting stops even surprise us to a “wine cinema”! Definitely check out their beautiful film about Wachau, Krems and the winesome surroundings of the Danube valley.


Prost mit einem guten Achterl aus Krems!

A toast with a typical glass of Grüner Veltliner from Krems to you! Here, we are with dear Lucia (second from left), who runs a resident blog called “DieKremserin” reporting live from all things Krems. Check out what she has to say about “Glatt & Verkehrt” Festival hier.


Jetzt aber mal auf zu Glatt & Verkehrt ..

Check out the festival homepage for more information about upcoming events!


Den Auftakt an diesem Abend bildet das stimmgewaltige Duo "Quasida", Flamenco-Sängerin & iranischer Sänger in einer Liaison an Melodien wie ich sie noch nie zuvor gehört habe. Eindrucksvoll!

First of all, we get to enjoy the tremendous songs by “Quasida”, Flamenco artist & her Iranian counter part, a liaison of melodies as I have never heard it before in my whole life. Beautiful!


Weiter geht es mit den fröhlichen Klängen der algerisch-französischen Musikgruppe Fanfare!

We continue to the joy and dance moves of the Algerian-French band Fanfarei!


Den Tänzerinnen zuzusehen, ist ein wahrer Augenschmaus.

Watching the dancers and feeling their passion for rhythm and music has been a true delight.


Irgendwann sind alle "von den Socken" - und tanzen ausgelassen mit !!!

At some stages, everybody is up dancing too !!!


Was für ein Abend! Ich freue mich jetzt schon auf das nächste Glatt & Verkehrt Festival im Juli 2015 !!!

What a night! I already look forward to the next “Glatt & Verkehrt” Festival series in July 2015 !!!


Check out more photos and travel tips from this weekend in Lower Austria here:


Disclaimer: We have been invited by the Lower Austrian Culture & Festival Association to travel in the Wachau district of Lower Austria. All opinions are my own.

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