Beim Heurigen

Day three greeted us with another stunning blue sky over Vienna. Not at all a certainty in Austria to have so many sunny days in a row. Glad not to worry about umbrellas, sweaters and jackets, we hopped on the Tram, the Underground and then on the bus and headed up into the surrounding hills to Leopoldsberg. With the weather fairy shining on the city of music and it being Sunday, a lot of folks had the same idea as we, for the bus trip up the winding road was packed. And I mean PACKED. With no personal space between fellow travelers, we stood squeezed between strangers like sardines in a can almost the entire ride (45 minutes) to the top. But the spectacular view from the historic castle crowning the top of Leopoldsberg was worth all the pushing and shoving. It was from that very stronghold that Vienna’s destiny was determined in the 17th century when the Viennese army launched an attack on their Turkish invaders and chased them away once and for all.
Thinking of how the face of Austria could have changed back then, we rode down the hill in a bus half empty and got off in Grinzing, a famous community of charming wineries, called “Heuriger.” Heurigen are places where people gather with their own food if they choose and savor the wine of the current season. Of course we didn’t bring our own delicacies but bought some scrumptious spreads, salads, cold platters and breads at the Heurigen we ended up in after ambling past Heurigen after Heurigen. Only upon leaving did we notice that this grapevine-draped courtyard of the Bach-Hengl Heuriger had hosted celebrities and statesmen, among them three former US Presidents (Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush), the King and Queen of Sweden, Russian President Putin, and many international dignitaries and celebrities.


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