I’m not sure we’re the day went: in between bit of a late start, a lazy lunch, a wine tasting and a few walks, it’s somehow slipped through our fingers. We barely travel 20 kilometres, between the villages of Willendorf in Wachau, Schwallenbach, Spitz and Weissenkirchen in der Wachau.
It’s very easy to lose time here, winding our way through the valley with its picturesque villages and terraced vines, the Danube at its heart.
And we’re in no particular hurry to get to Vienna – I’d rather arrive on Sunday in the hope that the weekend crowds might have started to disperse.
Lunch is a rather delicious affair, on a terrace overlooking the valley,
with the added bonus of a small parking miracle. Who would attempt this, other than Fearless himself. And I won’t even go into the road he came up, to get there.
Hearty home cooking the focus here, with little allowance for the summer months. It’s delicious though, if a little heavier than one might usually have in summer. Himself has a pork fillet in pepper sauce,
whilst I have the cordon bleu – delightful. Such an old school dish, one I haven’t seen on a menu in decades.
As charming as the Wachau Valley appears, later in the day, a vintner offers a more pragmatic view.
The growers have their hopes pinned on this year’s harvest – the last two years failed, both lost to frost. It’s a tough life, at the mercy of the elements. The area is prone to flood too. Some houses are marked with flood levels, back to the 1700s. 2003 was a particularly bad year with floods in March and August, the latter rising to roof height. And these are places set well back from the river.
Later in the day, we wander through Weissenkirchen in der Wachau, another village named for its white church.
Harsh realities of flood and frosts aside, you’d be hard placed to find a more picturesque setting.