Friday, May 2, 2008

Riegersburg Castle

Sorry for the late posting. I fell asleep at the computer while editing pictures from the day. We had an amazing time at Riegersburg Castle and the Zotter Chocolate Factory.

The day began at Waltraut and Rupurt's house. Adrian had the opportunity to share his tree house in the garden with Mary. I love the gardens and lawns in Feldbach. They are full of dandelions and the grass in untrimmed. In Austria there are not weeds only wildflowers. No pesticides.

Victoria came to the house and we headed to Riegersburg. It is a beautiful castle in the area. We hiked up to the castle. The ruts in the road are from the wagons. The castle is about 800 years old and had never been taken. From the fortress walls to the left you are able to see Hungary and to the right (I forget - I'll ask Rupert!)

We attended an outdoor falcon show. The birds were all raised in captivity. They do not accept birds from the wild. I saw a wild falcon soaring one of our adventures this week - beautiful. The birds were well trained and flew right over our heads. I believe we saw about 10 different birds of prey: hawks, eagles, owls and vultures. The lecture was in German but Jutta translated interesting facts for me. Mary was intimidated when an owl flew right over her head. : ) I thought it was fabulous.

The castle was completely unbelievable. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. The views from the castle walls were absolutely amazing. I've never imagined anything so spectacular.

Lunch was delicious. The atmosphere was perfect. We ate outside under a grape arbor at a local restaurant. The food was amazing and wine fantastic and the company even better.

The choclate factory was really fun. Mary tried all the different types of chocolate. She chose a while chocolate as her favorite. I decided that I liked all of it but prefer a dark chocolate that is not too bitter. But white chocolate is good too. The chocolate was BIO und FAIR which means organic and fairtrade. Eating chocolate to save the planet. It's a concept that I could get into. The chocolate is all organic without preservatives. They do not produce chocolate in the hot summer months because of this. The factory employs about 80 people.

According to Joseph Zotter, What creates passion for some people, may cause sorrow for others. The aftertaste of chocolate can be very bitter, if you pause and think for a while that cocoa farmers work under extremely hard conditions, while other people profit from the fruits of their labour.
Since 2004 Zotter has been a permanent licence partner of FAIRTRADE Austria. Zotter acquires the basic raw materials such as cocoa and cane sugar from fair trade in organic quality.

That's All Folks!