Sunday, September 24, 2006

Burgenland

The last three day have been slightly overwhelming with a heady mix of traditional Austrian music, wine and food. A couple of concerts, some vineyards and some great homecooked food.

On Friday, H's parents had given us 2 tickets to go to the Musikverein for a concert. The whole family is involved with music and they have season tickets and a great pair of seats. It's also a very formal place and I had to out and buy a decent jacket and a pair of shoes. My hiking boots and T-shirts didn't quite fit in. It's one of the most famous concert halls in the world and the moment I walked in I was a bit open-mouthed. I managed to sneak in a picture before the concert started.



The concert was great though the elaborate chandeliers gave off a lot of heat and the last 20 minutes were a bit uncomfortable as slight movements and noises are frowned upon. Went out to a slightly upscale bar for a drink since we were both fairly well dressed. After the grungy underground bars and clubs this was a bit different.

Woke up a bit late on Saturday and we missed the train to Burgenland. Hung around in the train station and had a coffee and then caught the next one. Burgenland is the wine country of Austria and that's where his girlfriend and his parents live. Reached H's parents lovely house around noon and had a fabulous meal. I'd asked for traditional Austrian food and I couldn't stop eating. Relaxed in the house for a while and enjoyed the view.



Headed out to meet H's girlfriend C, who lives about an hour away and it's a nice drive through vineyards. It's the harvest season and there were a lot of grape-pickers all over. Picked her up and drove to a vineyard run by a family they've known for most of their life. Their son D now runs it and he studied with C in school so he gave me an extended tour of his winery. Explained all kinds of things in detail and then brought out about 10 different bottles. His family joined us soon and we spent about 2-3 hours just sipping wine and getting more and more drunk.



Drove back to C's house and had dinner and more wine. Hung around for a while and then drove to a weird event. It was the annual festival for the local arts. The art was pretty bad and the music even worse, so after an hour of sitting around we drove back and opened a couple more bottles. D and his sister came by around midnight and we were up till 3 drinking, smoking and fooling around on the piano. C is a professional pianist and after much coaxing sat down and played for everyone.

Woke up today around noon, hungover and hungry. Drove back to H's parents' house for the sunday lunch. Lazed around most of the afternoon and then headed out to another winery run by another childhood friend of theirs. Had a special drink called stürm, which one gets only for a few weeks in a year because of the harvest. It's the wine before the first fermentation and it tastes a lot like grape juice with some soda. Drove back to Vienna around 11 and since we were close to the border with Slovakia and Hungary saw signs for towns in those places. A big part of the vineyard is in Hungary but I couldn't go in. Unfortunately, an Indian passport doesn't allow such easy travel.

9 comments:

Beks said...

Nice pictures...so is C. the girl on H's right?

fatterbelly said...

your poshhts are shounding shomewhat tipshy to me....here'sh to more good timesh ..hic

amitabha said...

what was the music? was it a large orchestra / big sound or chamber concert variety? were there any contemporary compositions? who was the conductor? some facts will help us enjoy vicariously.

bandafbab said...

Beks:

C is the one on H's left in the green T-shirt.

bandafbab said...

they played bartok - concert for orchstra 116 and beethowen, symphony no 3 and in the end some mozart for an encore. it was the orchestra from dresden (the name in german is too long) and the conductor was georges pretre.

Deniz said...

good to hear & see ur having fun. pearl jam is gonna play in vienna tomorrow if you got sick with classic music and german disco songs :P

i sehe dich in amsterdam bald. machs gut !

tabula rasa said...

dear jack,

good to hear from you. glad you're having such a productive time. remember not to work too hard, though! don't forget to have some fun once in a while.

love,
mom.

bandafbab said...

deniz:

saw posters for the pearl jam concert but am too broke to buy tickets.

hansraj said...

The orchestra was the Sächsiche Staatskapelle Dresden.