Driving home for Christmas

Vienna Rathaus

Every year we go back to Austria for Christmas with the family, this year we decided to take the camper.

We didn’t have much time between the end of school and Christmas, therefore it was just driving more than 2.200 km.
Our first stop was near Barcelona in San Sadurní d’Anoia. This town is famous for it’s cava and just off the highway, one of the very good cava producers of this area can be found close to the exit, for this we call him our drive-in cava shop. The bodega is called Ventura Soler and they produce different cavas which are all very nice to drink. venturasoler.com (41.423962, 1.799985)

Bodega Ventura Soler – San Sadurní d’Anoia
Drive-In Cava Stop

With our “cellar” stocked up, we drove on until we reached the border to France.
We parked on the Spanish side next to a supermarket and stayed the night there. (42°25’29 , 2°52’6)

The next day, we spent a lot of money for toll fees on the french highways until we finally reached Germany. Very tired we stopped at Bad Krozingen next to a petrol station and Restaurant Fallerhof, where we had our dinner before we fell into bed. (N 47.95363, E 7.6695)

Bad Krozingen, Restaurant Fallerhof

At the moment, we only have summer tires so we watched the weather forecast very intensely, but we were lucky as Father Frost stayed further north.

We crossed Germany with a short stop near Munich to drop our son at a friends house.
Finally we reached Austria and in the evening Vienna. But before we spent the night in front of my parents house, we had enough time for a short visit to one of the Heurigen – this one was located in Perchtoldsdorf just outside Vienna. At a Heurigen they serve their own wine and offer cold and warm food to go with it. A Heurigen opens only for two to three weeks a couple of times a year.  A branch of a pine tree and some lights indicate that it is open. So if you come to Vienna, try one of the Heurigen, but better ask a local and don’t choose the ones you find in your guide book 😉
Heuriger Jezek – Perchtoldsdorf (48.124539, 16.267947)

The next day we changed location and parked at the big Caravan parking Vienna, which is perfectly located next to the U6 “underground” station. So all the sights of Vienna can easily be reached from here.
(48°08’13” N 16°18’57” E)
We passed the following days with work, family and friends. Christmas was celebrated a couple of times with our parents and a traditional family come together was held at another Heurigen.

Schaumrollen – a favourite

Many people come to Vienna for all the New Year Events and the caravan parking is completely full at this time of the year, so book in advance if you want to celebrate in Vienna.

We decided to leave town for a couple of days and drove into Burgenland, a region south of Vienna with the Neusiedlersee ( a big lake). Our first stop was at Weiden am See, where we watched an impressive sunset over the lake. We had a very nice dinner at the new restaurant “Das Fritz” which offers also tasteful vegetarian dishes and is located directly at the lake.

Sunset at Weiden am See
Restaurant “Das Fritz”
Bread & “Butter”
Orange Risotto with Black Salsify

In the morning the puddles around us were frozen, but the outside temperature was already above zero when we left for a day at the Thermal Spa St. Martin near Frauenkirchen. (N 47 80859´ E 16 91678´)

We had booked a Relax day which included everything we needed: towels, bathrobe, slippers, a reserved bed on the upper floor, direct access to the sauna at the lake, drinks and snacks served,.. A day of relaxation and bliss.

When we left the Spa, we asked if we could spend the night at the parking, which isn’t officially allowed but accepted.
Nevertheless we decided to drive on, as we wanted to visit Eisenstadt, the capital of Burgenland, the next day.
Our stop for the night was finally in Oslip, a village in a bilingual area where also Croatian is spoken. There is a famous mill called Cselley Mühle, beautiful renovated and known for its events held there. (47.841059, 16.625123) It was their last evening before they closed for a winter break and we went to the restaurant for their “Restlessen” – a buffet with everything which was left for a free donation. Very nice!

Large parking in front of Cselley Mühle
Cselley Mühle – beautifully renovated

The next morning, we left and drove into Eisenstadt, where we parked next to the castle – free on weekends. As it was the 31st of December, I was’t sure the castle would be open but we were lucky and even had a guided tour for ourselves. The castle belonged to the princes of Esterházy, who were from Hungarian origin and served the house of Habsburg over many generations. Josef Haydn (1732 – 1809) spend much of his career as a court musician for the Esterházy family at this estate. At his time, he was the most celebrated composer in Europe.
He was a friend and mentor of Mozart and a teacher to Beethoven. The tour took us to the concert hall and the private quarters of the princess and ended at the chapel where a piece of Missa Sancti Nicolai composed by Haydn for Nikolaus Esterházy was played for us.

Esterházy Palace – Eisenstadt
Haydn Saal at Esterházy Palace
Chapel at Esterházy Palace

Afterwards, we walked into the centre of Eisenstadt, the pedestrian area starts next to the castle, where we went for hot chocolate and a piece of the delicious Esterházy cake. Finally the weather changed and the sun come out. Not far from the castle, we had a look at the Bergkirche, where you can see a large marble sarcophagus, the tomb of Josef Haydn, in a side chapel.

Bergkirche Eisenstadt

As it was very nice and warm now, we walked up the street next to the castle grounds which leads into the forest and to a circular route past a view tower and back to Eisenstadt.
(the route starts here: 47.853605, 16.510212)

Park of the Esterházy Palace

Before leavingEisenstadt, we strolled through the park of the castle, and then left in direction of Rust, a beautiful town at the lake Neusiedlersee.

On the way we saw a picknick spot on a hill overlooking the lake, so we stopped and had a glas of champagne to start celebrating the end of the year.

Rust and the Neusiedlersee in the background – we started to celebrate

When the sun was low we drove on to Rust, parked in the main street and walked to the lake and around town.

a storks nest prepared for the next season

Our destination for tonight was a lakeside restaurant in Jois called Seejungfrau which means mermaid.

The last day of the year ends spectacularly
No polar light at the lake, just christmas decoration under water
Sunset at Jois – Neusiedlersee

We had booked the Silvester dinner there and had a terrific evening with good food and wine, a little bit of dancing, the obligatory Donauwalzer at midnight and fireworks.

Restaurant Seejungfrau
Scalops Tartar as a starter
Sweat Treat

We had not far from the restaurant to our camper, which we appreciated that night 😉

The next morning, we slept long before we went for a walk to the hills behind Jois.  It was a foggy day and we followed a route called Marterlweg. If you don’t know what a Marterl is, I took pictures of them:

Happy New Year to all of you!!

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