One custom we always enjoy and are keen to support is that of sampling the local wine :) One of the best places to do this is a Heuriger. These usually simple establishments are run by local winemakers as a “shop-window” for their wines. Food is available but only as an accompaniment to the main point of your visit which is to sample the wines. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is some sort of wine-tasting exercise though, with most of the wine being spat out – you are here to drink!
Our favourite local wines are invariably those made with the Blaufränkisch grape in places such as Deutschkreutz and Lutzmannsburg, and we always bring a few bottles home with us to prolong our enjoyment.
Austrian food sometimes, unfairly I think, has a reputation for stodginess, but when cooked well it is delicious (although you can't deny that some of it is quite calorific!) As Burgenland is very close to the Hungarian border, and indeed these towns and villages have at times in their history been part of Hungary, it isn't surprising to find dishes such as Goulasch to be popular here. Dishes we always enjoy include Leberknödelsuppe (Chris's favourite - see photo) and Wiener Schnitzel. I personally also particularly like the various salads, especially Erdäpfel Salat - potato salad with an oil-based dressing, which makes a change from the English style dressed with mayonnaise. Incidentally that's also one of my favourite Austrian words - Erdäpfel, which means "earth apple" instead of the regular German Kartoffel.
One excellent tradition is that of "Kaffee und Küchen", i.e. coffee and cakes, shared with friends as an afternoon treat.
Landsee was once the largest fortress in Burgenland, but was destroyed by fire in 1772 and is now largely ruined. There remains a massive keep, surrounded by four rings of walls and a number of buildings, largely now just in outline. The setting is the main attraction, perched above the village with extensive views of the surrounding countryside.
Apparently Landsee was one of the locations for the 1993 version of "The Three Musketeers", starring Charlie Sheen.
Other castles we've enjoyed visiting in the region include Forchtenstein and Bernstein.
I love to see old buildings put to modern use in a stylish and sympathetic way, and this gallery in an old mill in nearby Deutschkreutz is a great example. Outside you can see the original water wheel that powered the mill, and inside the rough stone walls are another reminder of the building’s origins and also make an excellent background for the changing exhibitions of modern art.
The mill is on the east side of the village centre and shoudn't be hard to find if you're in the vicinity. I have a feeling the opening hours are a bit erratic so I wouldn’t recommend a special journey to go here unless you have more luck in tracking them down than I did!
Often when we visit Oberpullendorf we find that there is some sort of festival going on. The people here enjoy getting together and can always find something to celebrate. In my first photo Chris is being interviewed by a local television reporter, surprised to find English visitors among the mainly local crowd at a summer festival a few years ago.
Fondest memory: The other photos were taken at the town's celebrations of its 30th anniversary. A week-long programme of events included musical performances by local artists and visitors from "twinned towns" elsewhere in Europe, an art exhibition and a gala dinner in a marquee in the town centre, to which we were thrilled to be invited.