12 September 2010

Our Excursion to Kahlenberg

In honor of the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, and in memory of the great victory won by King Jan III Sobieski and the Christian forces of the Holy League over the Ottoman Turks, we drove out to spend the afternoon at Kahlenberg, the site of the King's encampment the night before the historic battle at the walls of Vienna.

First things first, we climbed up the slope before the Kahlenberg, which can be seen above running down toward the Danube, to one of our favorite heurigen for a few glasses of Sturm. September and October are Sturm-season in Austria and it is one of our favorite times of the year. Sturm is wine at the second stage of fermentation. Since much of the sugar from the grapes is still unfermented at this stage, the Sturm is lower in alcohol content than mature wine and quite a bit sweeter. It is also intensely fizzy. In fact, no matter where you buy a bottle, whether at a big grocery store or at a little stand at the edge of a vineyard, it will never be sealed, but only loosely capped, for fear of explosion. It's great stuff.

Anyways, walking through Kahlenbergerdorf up to the heuriger we passed a mural depicting the siege of Vienna. The banner reads: Wien 1683. II T├╝rkenbelagerung (Vienna 1683. Second Turkish Siege).

After a few drinks on the hillside, we continued on to the top of the Kahlenberg, where we had a modest picnic with some friends - a very pleasant time except for the few minutes of hysterical screaming following Maria's first bee-sting.

The Church on Kahlenberg.

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