With Markus and Berni in Burgenland


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Letter 18

 

Sunday 07.08.11
I wake up early and transfer my last letters to the computer. So when the family shows up, I'm ready to send them. I have to transfer them to Markus Apple via my USB-stick. They don't have wireless LAN.

They suggest we go to Burgenland. It's one of the smallest austrian "bundeslšnder", bordering Hungaria. I'd better bring my passport, if we're crossing the border. Both Markus and Berni originate from there. Never the less they've met in New York, but that's another story... We go in their small CitroŽn, that can have us all four and the folding pram.
Burgenland is rather waving hills than mountains and with plain like areas in between. It's the transition from the Hungarian plains to the austrian mountains. Vineyards are seen all over. First we go to an old stone quarry from roman time, where the stones for Sct. Stephans Dom later were collected. Now it's been changed into an outdoor theater and ther's going to be a performance tonight. Markus hasn't been here since he was a kid and is a little disappointed by the looks of it now.
 


Neusiedler See in the mist A quite common sight in these areas


Then we go to Neusiedler See, where they have a sailing boat together with his parents. Unfortunately the accu has broken down yesterday, so we can't go sailing. It's not a big boat, but 3-4 people can sleep there. There are no big boats in the harbour, the lake is too shallow. Around 2 m all over.
I meet his mother, who's at the boat already. Markus is 30, so his mother must be past 50 but still looks young. She speaks a little english and I've started believing I can speak some german, so we manage.
 


Burgenland is flat with hills

 

In stead of sailing we go to the beach, which is a big fenced area with grass and some trees, where people enjoy the sun or goes swimming - there's a LOT of people. The water is a little brownish, but should be close to drink water. The bottom is lightly stony until you reach the point where you sink 5-10 cm into the mud. It feels really soft around your feet. If you don't like it you hav to swim. Part of the lake is in Hungaria, it was patrolled during the time of the iron curtain.
 


In Mummys arms... ..and in Dads

 

It's turned unbearable hot and moist, so there's nothing else to do. But when we get back from the water, the sky is getting dark to the south. We pack our things and go to the village (1000 people), from where Markus descends, and where his mother and father live, and the grandmother and grandfather. The last runs a farm. It's the last day in "Der Heuriger", a period where the farms keep their "bierstuben" open, so people can come and taste their products - and buy wine, suasages, meat a.s.o. I say hello to the grandfather, the grandmother, the uncle and the aunt. It's a family business. First we're served a glass of "Spritz" - white wine with mineralwater. In come some starters, bread with different things: Liver pie, as when it's best in Denmark. Fat with onions, kvarg with paprika. It's been many years since I last had bread with fat - and even with onion - it's not bad! Then the real dinner starts and Markus suggests I have ..... a little of it all.
It's a huge plate with grossly bread. It's farm food like when it's best. A sausage, a blood sausage, some ham and something like roasted pork. With Kraut. It's been made by pure products. And a glass of GrŁner Veltliner. White wine like I had it the day before yesterday in Melk. This one's a bit more exclusive. Die Bierstube quickly gets crowded. Markus points out some: Those three only speak croatian. He spoke both as a child. It goes back to the time where the emperor kingdom had to be defended against the turks and they called for some croatian soldiers, if I understand it correctly.

The rain has started and for a short moment the light disappears when a lightning strike nearby. A minor cloudburst, where it's nice NOT being on bicycle, but only having to walk out to the car. All the old people are mad about Maxomillian, as their son is called.

Then we go home through the rain. The 40 km to Vienna. The traffic is dense. Most are probably coming from the show in the stone quarry, I wonder if it was called off? When we drove back from the lake people were swarming to, but the rain started shortly after.

 

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