My fabulous weekend transitioned from exploring the WasserSchloss to exploring the, “Best of Austria,” this year’s theme for the annual Genuss Festival in one of the city’s largest parks and peddling 52km along the Danube.
“Best” Tirolean Pecorino? Why not bring home a wedge? We did. 

Schlicher Gespritzt, from a grape exclusively found in the Steiermark, and best paired with a plate of cured meat. When in Rome…

 From Kärnten, the Kärtner Knodel, dumpling-like and akin to the Polish pierogi. At the demonstration I gave the preparation of the Knodel my best effort and, according to tradition, am now, “Marry-able” because I can press a Kärtner Knodel good enough to woo a husband. Good thing, too, because Tony and I celebrated our anniversary on Sunday and I’d hate to think that 23 years was all for naught.

 Ah, Wildschwein (boar) salami and something white from Niederösterreich.

 Back to the Tirol and its Kaspressnödel, a delicious concoction of potatoes, farm cheese and herbs that have been shaped into cakes and fried. We brought a bag home.

From a Wiener vendor, the Käsekrainer, a grilled sausage studded with cheese. Not for everyone (I dislike the street vendor versions), though I found myself taking more than a single bite from the plate.  When paired with something G’spritz, the sausage was quite good. 

 What is not to love about a country that displays its Schmalz (lard) on cake stands?

 Or slices its meat with table saws?  Hard to believe, but we somehow managed to find ourselves hungry in time for dinner on Saturday!

And on Sunday, the lure of a gorgeous day had us up and out of the house by 0830, peddling our way along the Donau and the Donau-Auen, Central Europe’s largest wetlands reserve. 

The things one discovers. Along our path we found a marker erected as recently as 2010, memorializing the Jewish women and children who had taken refuge in the woods along the river between 1938 and 1945, just on the edge of Vienna.

Cycling through the wetlands was a highlight. We were even treated to several beavers flapping and splashing about!

Hunger struck about halfway into the planned 60km ride, but there was not an Imbiss (“fast food” stand offering Wursts and easily-eaten snacks) in sight, so we were left with no choice but to sit for lunch at the only restaurant in a nearby village. Everyone was dressed for Sunday lunch (except we) and fussing over Mutters and Großmutters for Mutterstag (except we). Though no one in the restaurant was overtly rude (unless you count the stares), it was clear that we English-speakers (we spoke German to the waitstaff, natürlich) dressed in shorts and polos Did. Not. Fit. In. 
Like the dutiful people we and our children were raised to be, not a morsel of that ginormous Schnitzel remained on our plates when we left the restaurant. That probably explains why we only finished 52 of the 60 planned kilometers for this ride!
Exploring a WasserSchloss, eating our way around Austria, and cycling the Danube. How much better could a Mother’s Day Weekend be?