Tuesday’s activity du jour was an outing to Naturpark Sparbach, Austria’s first nature preserve, bequeathed to the empire in 1810 by the Liechtenstein Family.  The preserve contains Roman ruins, including a temple, and the remains of three 12th century castles. There are farm and wild animals, as well, including the star attraction, Wildschweine (boars).

Beautiful paths and gorgeous weather.

First up, donkeys and goats.

While cooing over the farm animals we heard rather loud squeals and hurriedly walked up the path a bit to find real boars!  Without an enclosure!  The rangers feed the boars twice daily, and we happened to be there at one of the feeding times.  There seemed to be some tensions between the pigs, so at all times we city slickers remained close to an enclosed area to which we could retreat. You know, just in case.

We are a little late in the season to see the striped piglets, but we were totally charmed with this little guy. Except for the eau du piglet aroma.



Leaving the boars we continued along the path, with one of the castle ruins peeking up from the Vienna Woods. Had we planned better (as in hiking shoes and water bottles) we would have climbed the 571m to the top to view the other castle remnants as well as the Roman ruins. Next time, as the park is less than an hour from the house.


The first time I have ever seen Zander in its native environment! Usually they are grilled and on my dinner plate with a lemon wedge.

We walked to the base of the Ruine Johannstein, not an impressive feat given what we are capable of, and then took a different route back to the Visitors Center.

At one point Anna Grace grabbed my arm and said, “Look!”  About 5 meters away, we were being spied upon.

And nearby was this little piggy, heading into the cool forests for a nap perhaps.

To end our preserve outing, several deer sauntered by, but darted away too quickly for good photos.  No matter, we city gals had all the nature fun we could manage for one day.

On our way out of the preserve we stopped at the Visitors Center for a snack. (No, we did not have the Widlschwein sausage!)