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The Wachau shines with a beautiful landscape and excellent specialities. Apricots, for example!Älgbert Elgson
I love apricots! In all imaginable variations like apricot dumplings, apricot cake, apricot jam, apricot liqueur, … She also has many names: Malete, apricot, Armenian plum or even barilla, but all designate the same queen of fruits.
In the Wachau they grow exceptionally well due to their special location. The harvest usually begins between the beginning and middle of July. I always find the perfect time for a trip to the Wachau with the help of the homepage of the Wachauer Marille. This homepage is unfortunately only available in German. There I discovered a webcam which updates itself automatically every ten minutes and with which I can watch the apricots growing.
When this year the apricots were to be seen in strong orange color, we started our day trip close to Linz and drove along the „Romantikstraße“ (Austrian romantic road) and the Danube up to Dürnstein. Already on the way there we observed some farmers harvesting apricots along the way. The trees really bent under the heavy load and I wanted to help immediately.
When the first stalls were set up, we took the opportunity and headed for one. The nice saleswoman explained to me that due to yesterday’s rain the apricots can be harvested only now, because otherwise they would become very fast bad in the damp condition. So I had to wait a few more minutes for the hotly long looked-for apricots and in the meantime I chose a few bottles of grape and apricot juice. Finally my desired amount of fresh apricots was ready and I could even choose the variety. While the traditional Wachauer apricot (main variety: „Klosterneuburger“ or „Hungarian best“) has to be eaten or processed within one day, the early varieties last a few days longer if stored cool enough. With the help of this information and a taste of both varieties, I decided on …… both!
With a car’s trunk full of apricots and various juices we drove on to Dürnstein. Immediately after the road tunnel that runs under the town, I discovered a parking lot on the left side of the road. Since there the day ticket was not much more expensive than the three hours ticket, I bought this to be on the save side and we set off in the direction of the old town. After a short distance we already saw the eastern city gate, the „Kremser Tor“.
But before we crossed it, we turned right, because we wanted to walk up to the castle ruin Dürnstein. On the chosen theme trail the legend about the English King Richard the Lionheart accompanied us to our destination. On the ruin we climbed all the way to the top and enjoyed the wonderful view. We admired the surrounding landscape, watched the ferry on the Danube and refreshed ourselves during the snacking of our provisions at the sight of the stone terraces where fruit and wine are grown.
On the way down we decided to take the other way, which seemed a bit shorter to us, but was steeper and rockier. We came out in the beautiful and very small old town of Dürnstein, where we stayed for some time. At this time of the year many swallow nests can be found on the facades of the houses in the town and many hungry little birds look out of them and wait for food.
In the many shops, apart from the countless trashy goods for tourists, there are also some culinary specialities such as the „drunken apricot“, apricot liqueurs, brandies or whiskies and also the fruit itself or its stone processed as sweets.
Our further journey led us through the surrounding wine-growing area into the neighbouring region of Waldviertel. During the trip we passed many wine taverns, which invited us to stay with their cosy gardens.
In the Waldviertel we visited the Mohndorf Armschlag. We would have expected more from it. Not because the poppy fields were already fading – no – we had imagined the surroundings differently. We saw only two poppy fields in half bloom and some people with their cameras were standing around and in the middle of them. In the hope for a taste of the Waldviertler speciality „Mohnzelten“ (some sort of pastry made out of poppy seeds) we visited the „Gartenstadl“ (Austrian style restaurant) there, where regional products were sold. For me incomprehensibly exactly this speciality was not offered there. Most of the places were occupied by the local poppy farmer and the rest were reserved. So if you plan a visit to the poppy blossom and want to stop there, a reservation is recommendable as a precaution.
On our way home we admired some flowering poppy fields right next to the streets. The poppy village is therefore not absolutely necessary for it. I absolutely wanted to take a few souvenir photos at this sight. Well, what do you say?