Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
We stopped at the Strandcafe Restaurant in Spitz an der Donau and were greeted at the door by Herr Thorsten Busch (no relation to the Georges, he said) who showed us around his ground-floor shop, Der Busch, and its offerings of wines, jams, chutneys and other foods. He poured some nut-like substance into his hand and invited us to taste. Delicious! Just as I swallowed, he said that they are apricot kernels, the inside of the pits. I told him I thought I read when I was a kid that apricot kernels were poisonous. “Yeah, they are,” he said. My eyes widened. "They have a kind of cyanide in them." I think I stopped breathing as I wished there was a way I could un-swallow. “But,” he continued, “if you roast them above 80° C (that’s 176° F) for 15 minutes, the cyanide dissipates and the kernels are harmless. Then he politely added, “If you feel like you might die, please try not to do so in my shop.” He was joking, of course. We think.
"Here, try them in chocolate," he added.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The Wachau Valley, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is about an hour’s drive northwest of Vienna. Winding through this beautiful valley, especially on bicycle, is always delightful with vineyard-covered mountains on both sides, the Danube quietly but swiftly snaking through the center, medieval castles on the hilltops, charming old villages, and great heurigers—wineries—throughout. Oh yes, and the apricot trees! The entire valley is transformed every spring by the glorious white and light pink blossoms of the apricot—or marillen—trees. We went to the Wachau Valley last weekend to see the blossoms, a week early, perhaps, for the full blooms, but it was a breathtaking sight nevertheless with blooming apricot, cherry, plum and apple trees. chartreuse willows and bright forsythia.
Colorful Weissenkirchen overlooks vineyards and apricot orchards that slope towards the Danube.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
Bolzano, also known as Bozen, is another of the towns in the South Tyrol region of Italy where it’s Austrian and Italian cultures harmonize side by side. Ötzi, the ice mummy, is in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology here.