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Published: August 21st 2019
After nine days of fairly full-on travelling, sightseeing and blog writing I am spending three days of relaxation with my close friends Reni and Gerhard in their holiday home in the small village of Haugschlag, in the Waldviertel area of Lower Austria. Waldviertel simply means the Forest Quarter or area, and you can immediately see why. Reni and Gerhard bought a property there over 20 years ago and over the years have lovingly created this extended, comfortable and welcoming property. I love coming here - and I generally manage to get here at New Year and in August.
Most people reading this blog already know the story of our friendship. Reni and I were exchange partners aged 14. At the time I really hoped to ‘get’ a partner from the Tirol region, as I had read the entire Chalet School series and was looking forward to the mountain experience. So I was slightly disappointed to be paired with someone from the capital, Vienna. Little did I know how much impact both this friendship and Vienna would have on my life. And by the way, I ‘fessed up to Reni years ago about this!!
a really lovely and relaxing time together - mainly eating, drinking, walking and laughing. On arrival we share a bottle of Croft Original sherry. They got bitten by the sherry bug at my Mum’s (but like Jean, it can only be Croft Original). But Reni and Gerhard don’t really get the concept of the size of sherry glasses!! So a bottle is always drunk in one sitting. Reni’s son, Domi, is also here for a few days with his girlfriend, Katharina. Of course, I have known him since he was small. They are both wonderful company too. It is like having an extended family. In fact, during my stay, one of Reni’s two lovely brothers, Norbert, comes for the day with his wife. Their home in the Waldviertel is one of those places where everyone is welcomed - at any time and for however long.
Most of the time here is spent properly relaxing although we do a couple of good walks. We also visit the local festival on the Friday evening as Reni is singing in the newly-formed ‘Peace Choir”. After listening to the choir we linger over wine and goulash in a lovely spot by
the lake. All other meals are lovingly created by Gerhard. He is a fabulous cook, and we are all wonderfully appreciative! We are lucky with the weather, especially my final day - it is gloriously warm and sunny. On a slight domestic note, I take advantage of Reni’s washing machine and the sunny weather to get all my kit washed and dried.
All too soon it is Monday morning and I am catching the 08.44 train to Pragues. I am sad to leave but I shall be back very soon in Vienna to celebrate Reni’s 60th in three weeks.
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