Last Thursday was a holiday here in Austria, and since it was warm and sunny I took the opportunity to go for a walk in the Wienerwald, the hilly forestland around Vienna. My route lead me to the remains of Araburg Castle which was first built in the 12th century and continuously extended over the course of the next few centuries. Today, it is a formidable ruin towering above the Triesting Valley:

Situated at a height of 800 meters over sea level, Araburg is the highest-located castle in Lower Austria and, as you’d expect, therefore offers great views, especially from the keep.

The most impressive view is towards the South where, on a clear day like last Thursday, the view goes all the way to the Schneeberg, the highest mountain in eastern Austria. The name Schneeberg literally translates as Snow Mountain, and as you can see in the picture below, even now in spring the peak lives up to its name:

The landscape immediately surrounding Araburg Castle, however, is a lot less rugged – indeed, it’s all soft rolling hills, meadows and farmland interspersed with trees, orchards and woodland:

Now, I suppose you won’t remember, but longtime readers of this blog will have seen both the castle and the landscape around it before – if you don’t believe me, just go and compare the picture above with the fourth picture in this old post of ours. Or check out this post dedicated to Araburg Castle.

Both of the old posts just mentioned are from November 2010 when [m] and I went for a walk almost identical to the one I took on Thursday. I believe it is well worth to have a look at those photos from two and a half years ago, though: While they show the same geological formations, the same buildings and the same trees, due to the change of seasons the character of the landscape is entirely different. It really was a fascinating experience to revisit this stretch of land under such different conditions and I believe at least some of it comes across in the pictures.

I must admit, at first I had even been a bit skeptical about returning to Araburg Castle and its surroundings in springtime – that landscape had been so amazing in the autumn gloom of November that I somehow doubted whether it could be nearly as impressive this time of the year. You know, with actual green in it and with leaves on the trees and whatnot… Fortunately, it turned out my doubts had been quite unnecessary. As you may already have gathered from some of the images in this post, almost all of the slopes and meadows were covered in a sea of blossoming dandelions…

… turning the entire landscape into a slightly surreal yet incredibly beautiful sight to see.

So, to neatly round things up, here’s one more picture with the castle in the distance and some more of those dandelions in the foreground:

Seriously? Snow?!

October 29, 2012

I know I’ve said it before, but I really love autumn, the time of year when the sky goes all grey and sombre but the colours on trees and bushes and suchlike just seem to go into overdrive…

This year, though, here in Vienna we were in for something of a special visual treat, the rare combination of the red and golden leaves of autumn with freshly fallen snow:

Now, I must admit that last week when the forecast promised snow for the weekend I remained sceptical – after all, it’s only October and we don’t usually get snow around here before November. Well, as it turned out, the forecast was right…

While there was only very little snow in the central parts of the city, things were looking decidedly more wintery in the Wienerwald hills just outside of town.

Even there, however, the snowfall hadn’t been all that intense and it looked more as if some heavenly being had sprinkled the land with powdered sugar overnight.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist therefore to take a Sunday morning walk in the Wienerwald woods yesterday, though I must say I was glad that most of the walk actually lead through the woods…

…where the trees provided shelter from the chilly wind.

   

Out in the open, unfortunately, the strong wind somewhat perturbed my enjoyment of the glorious views and proved a harsh reminder that winter’s pleasures come at the price of often annoyingly cold weather…

Not that I’m complaining, though… After all, there is such a thing as hand-knit sweaters to protect oneself from the cold, and the beauty of the autumn woods in the snow more than made up for any inconvenience the weather might have caused.