Our last visit to Enzesfeld, just a week ago, saw us catch up with our good friends, the Dedics, and take in trips to Eisenstadt, Rust and Baden bei Wien. This next visit was no less interesting with the added attraction that our daughter had arrived from the UK for the weekend.
A number of wine heuriges were now open and we took full advantage of that during this second 3 day visit. We also visited Hinterbruhl and the pretty little town of Gumpoldskirchen and the small village of Holles (all conveniently located in Lower Austria).
Starting with Enzesfeld itself; while Vanya disappeared into Vienna to meet up with Rohan, the rest of us (Clare, Alex and Niki – Gerhard was still in Abu Dhabi on business) took the dogs for a walk and then, joy of joys, we stumbled on a pick-nick (that’s German for a picnic, as if you couldn’t work that out) but this was subtly different. The Weingut Mayer in Enzesfeld had opened for business in their vineyards (as opposed to back in the town heurige) with a wine tasting picnic.
Hinterbruhl is a small village 12 miles south west of Vienna. Now, it is almost a part of Vienna. It is said that Franz Schubert wrote Lindenbaum in Hinterbruhl but there is no documentary evidence of that. More certain is that it is home to Europe’s largest known underground lake, the Seegrotte. The lake was formed in 1912 when a huge explosion rocked numerous caves which had been dug under the village in the mining of gypsum. The explosion released millions of gallons of water which flooded the lower caves and formed the lake.
Mining was immediately discontinued following the explosion but some of the upper tunnels and caves were reopened during WWII as a satellite camp for Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Engine parts were produced here for the fledgling lightweight (almost disposable) jet fighter know as the Spatz or, in English, the Sparrow (the Heinkel 162). There’s a memorial above ground for the concentration camp inmates here who were all murdered.
We took an informative guided tour through the cave system during our visit; walking the upper levels and being ferried around on a boat in the lower levels. At 15 euro per person it was quite pricy but I’m pleased we did it. Effective lighting throughout the lower levels of the caves made for some very pretty photos.
From Hinterbruhl we made the short journey to the delightful village of Gumpoldskirchen. This is for me the prettiest of the villages in the area surrounding Enzesfeld. Of course this view may have been influenced by the excellent wines we enjoyed in a local heurige during our visit but, even so, Gumpoldskirchen is very pretty.
The last place we visited during this stop in Enzesfeld was Holles. Holles was about the pleasant walk to and from the village from Enzesfeld and our stop in yet another heurige where we sampled Gruner Veltliner, Rivaner (a speciality of this particular heurige) and a Gelber Muskateller and; not forgetting the food, various local cheeses, smoked ham and Salzstangels (salted bread sticks).
And then it was back to Enzesfeld. Thanks so much, Clare; both for introducing us to these wonderful places and for being… Clare. See you soon, we hope!