Alpha and I went to the southern edge of the Austrian province of Styria last weekend to hike around the vineyards and rolling hills and drink wine. It is right on the border with Slovenia, this area. Here is a picture of a road we walked on for a while – the border meanders down the middle of it: so I suppose I was actually standing in Slovenia when I took the picture.
It is a pretty time to be there, the leaves are changing and the morning fog is pretty. Our hotel was nice, if a bit larger than we like – we had expected a pension. It was the first hotel bed that didn’t break my back, and the couple who ran the place were very nice and hospitable to us even when we drank a lot of wine and got into circular arguments (with each other, not them).
Also the food is good there. Southern Styria in general, I mean.
We got pretty lost in the woods for a while, which is a tradition of ours, we always do that when we hike with these friends. Once we went to see some bears in cages for some reason. It was about a 3 mile walk, one-way. Returning home was one of the times we got lost. From our hotel, then, upon returning, I noticed you could see the bear cage place from our hotel, about 200 yards away through some vineyards. So I guess we took a real detour.
We drank some Sturm, which is fermented grape juice, but not yet wine. And we ate chestnuts. There are a lot of roadside stands there selling Sturm and chestnuts. I guess if chestnuts were called Drang in German it would be perfect, but unfortunately they’re called Kastanien, which sounds like a former Soviet Republic.
Here are some vineyards. We may be looking towards Slovenia there.
The third photo shows more vineyards, this one with a Klapotetz in it, which makes a sound that sounds like the name and is intended to frighten off birds that would otherwise eat the grapes. This is the romantic version of that “Raptor Reloaded” thing I mentioned the other day, where they play modern compositions to drive off the starlings.
I think everyone in our party enjoyed the trip. We may have drunk a little more wine than we should have. At least I think I may have. One morning I couldn’t find my pants right away, and I began to mentally retrace my steps, trying to reconstruct the previous night, because it seemed at that moment entirely logical that my pants could be somewhere other than in our hotel room.
I eventually found them on a chair under my other clothes. But from then on, I kept close track of my pants.