16 September 2009

Riegersburg - Karen & the Chocolate Factory

Last Saturday, there was a big activity for all the Relief Society ladies from church. We traveled about an hour and a half to a town called Riegersburg where there was a castle some of us hiked up to...

I was a huge fan of this green swamp pond. It reminded me of Elora and made me wonder if we could find any frogs to kiss and turn into princes.

The walk up to the castle was really beautiful and green, and the weather was absolutely perfect! Nice, considering when we left Vienna it was raining and I thought we might be in for an ugly weather day....

The fortress that became the castle was first documented in 1138. Wow. That is pretty old...

I really loved the vineyards that were planted all over the sides of the mountain and the surrounding hills. Apparently this mountain that the castle is on is an extinct volcano. Hmm.

Here we are by the castle moat before heading inside the castle. We were admiring the fat rabbits that lived in the moat and making Monty Python jokes...

This room was awesome, and this picture does not do it justice at all. The wood carvings on the doors and ceilings were absolutely incredible. And for those of you who chop wood to heat your house, that stove in the corner is a TWO CORD wood stove. Holy Cow. That is a lot of wood.

This is the "war room" which had weapons under the floor and talked about the war between the people in the castle and the Turks. The castle was not taken though, not surprising when you see the crazy huge cliffs you would have to get up to fight, and the big moat... It is still owned by some royalty from Lichtenstein.

This pic is up here for Chris. The inside of the castle was a museum, and much of it was about the witch trials that used to take place in the area. Apparently witches were blamed for hailstorms. Of course, that makes perfect sense... Anyhow, the museum had various displays about torture and such, which was interesting as well as disturbing. The above is an iron maiden, which supposedly a person can be shut inside of and still live to tell the tale...

There were also some beautiful rooms at the end of the castle tour - this was an ornate dining room, the ceiling is so beautiful.

View from the top, and some beautiful ladies to make the picture even better!

We rode down the funicular, which was jam packed full of people, but still pretty neat, I had never ridden in one before. This was the best pic I got of the view while holding my camera over the heads of all the people inside the funicular. The good news is that everyone in the funicular was really friendly and funny, so we had some good laughs on the way down...

Next we went to tour the Zotter chocolate factory. They make organic free trade chocolate, which, I might add, tastes incredible. At the beginning of the tour, they give you a little spoon called a kissing spoon, which you use to taste chocolate throughout the tour. Here is my friend Rene getting a small sample of the liquid chocolate before it is made into bars.

There were also these neat machines where you pull the lever, cut off a small piece of chocolate, and enjoy! There were about fifty different chocolate bars to try (after we had tried ten different liquid chocolates and bars)

Then! We got some hot milk, and got to stand buy this neat little contraption that carried different flavors of chocolate all around the room. You could pick whichever flavor you wanted to mix into your milk. So Good.

There was a section which chocolate covered nuts (about thirty kinds to sample), and THEN, we got to this conveyor belt which carried even more chocolate samples, some unusual flavors, for us to grab with the little fork. Wow. I was so sick, and me and Rene were apparently enjoying the chocolate too much, because we were the last two people out of the tour.

And here is the American chocolate bar they came up with... ketchup and peanuts. Complete with American flag on the wrapper. Ew. Actually, it was better than you would think. But still. There were really strange combinations of fillings, but a lot of them were really good.

Hanging out in the parking lot... with our snazzy tags to show we are part of the tour group. After all the chocolate, we went to a traditional Austrian restaurant for dinner, and I think everyone there ordered a salad... We all had a great time though, I am so glad I have such awesome friends to hang out with here in Austria.


  1. Ketchup and peanuts. Wow I would have never imagined that it was possible to put Ketchup in chocolate.


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