After an easy train ride, I arrived at Gerald’s house in Pöchlarn, in Lower Austria. Rohan had already been enjoying his stay there for a couple of weeks. It was easy to settle into an easy rhythm at the Amazing Höchenhauer castle in the company of Gerald, Anne, their daughter Sophie and the two awesome dogs, Sunny and Charlie.
One evening, we went to a “heurigan”, a cool concept specific to the wine region of the Wachau valley. An heurigan is a simple establishment, typically in a little village along the Danube that serves local wines and local cold food for 90 days out of the year. Each heurigan can decide which 90 days it wants to be open. It is a 300 year old tradition. On previous trips, I have had some great heurigan experiences and this time it was no different. This was a particularly picturesque heurigan, set in a beautiful flower garden. There was a marching band practicing nearby and the moon was almost full. In a typical heurigan style, we sat on benches on a picnic table. We had some delicious Grûner Veltliner with an assortment of amazing cold dishes, including one that Rohan and I loved the most: wildschwein, shavings of roasted wild boar with fresh grated horseradish and a cranberry preserve. Even though an heurigan is a simple place (the bill is added up by hand), the food and the wine are of a very high quality and the serving staff is super friendly. As it got a little cooler later in the evening, they brought out blankets and candles, adding further to the romantic atmosphere.
There was a lot of hanging out by the pool and drinking beer. Rohan had apparently made a habit of visiting Waldi’s, a local watering hole and had developed a taste for käsekrinen, a sausage with cheese inside. We checked it out a couple of times. The käsekrinen is quite a treat!
Pöchlarn is right on the Danube and there are wonderful walking and biking paths along the river. One evening, I went for a walk with Anne, her friend Andrea and their dogs.
After a nice walk, we ended up in the village square, where there was a little market going on. There was some serious sausage action and the locals were enjoying a pleasant summer evening drinking beer and socializing. We didn’t have any money, but no problem, Anne knew everyone and soon we were drinking cold beer and chatting with the sausage guy.
On the last day, there was a big party. Gerald is the president of the local chapter of the Lions club and there was to be a feast, complete with a whole pig roasted on a spit. Unfortunately, we had to leave to catch a flight to Geneva, but just before we left, the schweinmeister gave us s little taste.