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Baden bei Wein

Written on: Saturday October 31st, 2009

A journal entry from: Austria and Germany 2009

So for the first weekend of my trip I spent it in Baden near Vienna which is in the lower state of Austria. I am delighted to be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of my friends, Franco, Tina and Maximillian. The Algeri family have been gracious in inviting me to experience a different part of Europe.

Tina and I were just reflecting on the fact that I first met her 15 years ago as a 19 year old arriving to visit Canada. Her family were friends of our dear friends the Kastner's. Seems incredible to have this opportunity to visit with them in their new home here in Austria as they've just moved here in 2008.
Tina is expecting a new addition to the family within the next few weeks(12th) so it's an exciting time here. On Sat. afternooon Tina and her 8 year old son Maximillian showed me around this beautiful spa town. Only 26 kilometers from Vienna, this city with a population of twentysome thousand offers a rich variety of baths and springs parks and gardens, coffeehouses and idyllic wineries. It is surrounded by about 120 wineyards and has about 70 wine pubs so this is definitely wine country!

We enjoyed some hot maroni from a street vendor( roasted chestnuts) and then visited a wonderful coffee house in the city centre. There reading the paper or magazines is so much a part of the daily coffee culture that papers are fitted unto long 3 foot wooden clamps to facilitate holding the paper and I'm sure keeping it in order etc. They're obviously comfortable with patrons relaxing and staying a while! Baden has some thermal hot springs and was renowned as the summer residence for the wealthy citizens of Vienna. Baden received town privileges in 1480 so many of it's buildings are several hundred years old. Part of my fascination with European cities is their rich and long history.

Tina & Franco explained to me that the local wine growers get a special license to have meals and their own wines served for a two week period of time maybe 5 or 6 times a year out of their homes. So Saturday night we went down a couple of streets to a local wine growing families private home to enjoy a fabulous home cooked meal and their local wines at one of these heurigens. What a pleasant way to spend an evening with the Ceidl family and their wonderful wines. It's so well set up as a restaurant that it's hard to realize that most of the time it's used for family purposes and then transformed into a restaurant for select periods during the year. A light at the end of a pole hanging from the front of the house unto the street is the only sign that it's a business. When the light bulbs are on it's the signal that they are opened for business. Highly recommend the experience as a unique way to discover these wine growing families.

Sunday we headed to Gaarden another small local village and tried another local family Gasthaus zu den Linden. I ate the wild boar special which was a very nice meal! Tina was telling me that they visit there about once a month to enjoy a Sunday brunch. The menu is quite varied as his specials will depend on what the local hunters and farmers are able to provide him that week. Their pumpkin soup was amazing, will definitely have to try making a pumpkin soup as that was my first time tasting a pumpkin soup and it was fabulous.

In the evening Tina, Maximillian and I headed to the Römertherme, a thermobath that was found by the Romans when they came to this area. Around 100 AD the Romans were drawn to Aquae, the name they gave to Baden by its 15 thermal springs whose temperatures reach between 24 to 35 C. What a beautiful facility with fabulous outdoor and indoor hot spring pools. Maximillian and I played for 3 hours in the pool. He had brought a inflatable ball, a noodle, a flutter board so we had plenty of activities to keep us busy. With my deep water exercise class we often try standing on flutter boards for a great balance exercise.. I'm afraid I was even busy showing Maximillian how to try standing on his flutter board which resulted in some pretty hilarious moments. A very pleasant evening and great relaxation for tired muscles!

The biggest difference I've found with the pools here are that all the locker rooms are common rooms with some change cubicles at the ends of the lockers. There is then a seeparate men's and separate women's shower area at the edge of the locker room. Sure makes it easy for families to go to the pool and stay together, makes so much sense that I wonder why we haven't adopted similar ideas for our swimming pools and recreational areas.

Tuesday is turning into a day to relax and await the visit of Tina's midwife. A slight snowfall here is reminding me that winter has arrived here as well with a temperature of about minus 1 degree. I'm hoping to see if I can get some of many photos loaded unto the internet so it should be easy to spend the day doing very little!

Anyways time to go! I'll tell you about my day in Vienna later!