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“Am Brunnen vor dem Tore, da steht ein Lindenbaum …” Gently, I recall the famous melody to this traditional Austrian folk song written by Franz Schubert, Austria’s famous 18th century composer. We follow in the footsteps of our host, Irene Moser, who leads us around the historical Höldrichsmühle hotel. A property close to Vienna, yet still in the midst of greenery, embraced by the biosphere reserve of the Vienna Woods right next to Vienna. It’s wonderful to finally be able to “breathe again” after all this heat. That must have been what the famous composer Franz Schubert thought as well: Two hundred years ago, the area around Hinterbrühl and the Höldrichsmühle hotel was already regarded as a “summer holiday area” by the well-off people of that time. “In fact, Franz Schubert must have found the inspiration to compose his famous song at exactly this mill here … Even Japanese have already arrived and were able to recite the song perfectly”, smiles Mrs Moser and points to an outside area of the house, which is dedicated to Franz Schubert. “The oldest part of the house. Where you’re having breakfast this morning was once a granary. And right behind it, near the creek, the former mill.”
I like that. In my thoughts, I try to conjure up an image of the people of that time, their stories and fates, their everyday lives and love affairs. To do this, one also has to enter the Vienna Woods, which have hardly changed over time and are still regarded as an original habitat worth preserving today under the protective label of “biosphere reserve“. So close to Vienna. So vast and diverse. No wonder that this piece of Austria has always fascinated people.
Enjoy your meal at the Höldrichsmühle hotel! If you are keen to learn more about the hotel and its history, you may watch this movie (only in German, unfortunately) which takes you on a nice image walk around the property:
Out of town and into the Vienna Woods: Go on a short hike up to the Hussars’ Temple and follow the “Schubertweg” trail.
The short walk (less than an hour) to the so-called Hussar temple is a perfect start into the Vienna Woods: Brave Hussars are said to have fought here, and thus a temple-like monument with a fantastic view over Vienna was created for them. On numerous panels along the way, you will also find short anecdotes about Schubert’s life and work in the region …
Further in, you can visit the world-famous Abbey Heiligenkreuz, the nature park Sparbach, and explore countless other hiking opportunities.
I must admit that I’m not such a big fan of mountain biking (check out other blogs for that!), but I can definitely vouch for visiting Heiligenkreuz Abbey while on your visit in the Vienna Woods. There are many little trails around, and I have spent the night there just recently, which you can do as a pilgrim or even as a spiritual visitor to the abbey. Check this out.
Finally, the area between Vienna & the Vienna Woods is also home to … wine! We have visited the organic wine grower Birgit Pferschy-Seper and had a lovely, “winesome” chat with her.
“I’d love to come back! When did you say you’d open the Heurigen again?” I ask Mrs Pferschy-Seper happily, who enjoys leading us through the historic wine cellar. She tells us all there is to know about her family wine estate, and the Heurigen that her guests love so much. Now, what’s a “Heurigen”, you may wonder? Very similar to a pub, it’s a kind of extended Austrian living room to drink wine and enjoy local specialities together with the winegrowing family. Lovely.
The Pferschy-Seper Winery, which has now been making organic wines for the past fifteen years, goes even further: “From the very beginning, it was important to us to work in harmony with nature and without any chemical pesticides. The result is a wine that is now internationally renowned – the autochthonous grape varieties that are so typical for us, such as Rotgipfler or Zierfandler, are now very well known even across the borders”, smiles the winemaking lady in all her modesty.
Fancy checking out eve more travel photos? Here is my entire Flickr Photo gallery of that trip:
Disclaimer: We have been invited by the Austrian Eco-Label together with the Hotel Höldrichsmühle on this trip o the Vienna Woods. All opinions are my own.