The Motherland

My sister suggested that we travel to Prague in 2018. My mother and her sister joined us. Our trip happened to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of our Czech family establishing a homestead in the U.S.

Sisters Drink Wine

We spent the day riding along the Danube River in the Wachau valley, which is known for its production of apricots and grapes, with a winemaking tradition that dates back to the medieval period of the Roman settlements. We biked through Willendorf, a town where in 1908 the Venus of Willendorf was uncovered. It's a 4.4 inch-high statue believed to be from 25,000 or 28,000 years BCE.

The ride was relatively flat along the river on the Donauradweg bike path, passing in and out of towns and terraced vineyards with castle ruins atop cliffs. 

We passed by an old white church called Wehrkirche St. Michael. I am glad I decided to peer through the keyhole/window because there was quite a sight inside.

After lunch in Melk, we quickly explored the Melk Abbey, a Benedictine monestary. Many of the impressive sights could not be photographed, including the scriptorium and library with approximately 100,000 volumes and a baroque church.

In the evening, we had a wine tasting at the Nikolaihof wine estate. With almost 2,000 years of history, Nikolaihof is the oldest winery in Austria.

The owner, Christine Saahs, poured a few glasses for us, including a couple of Grüner Veltliner and the 1995 Nikolaihof Vinothek Riesling rated 100 points by Robert Parker (a dry Riesling). Nikolaihof is one of the first wineries in the world to work by biodynamic principles. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermented without artificial yeast and stored in big old Austrian oak casks for up to 20 years. Christine showed us the casks which are carved with a name for each of her children. Her daughters Christine and Elizabeth are around the same ages as me and my sister.

We took a group photo of the sisters before dinner at Landaus Bacher, a two-star Michelin restaurant.

Dana, Sequoia, Christine, Beth ... they called us nuns because we were sisters dressed in black drinking wine

Dana, Sequoia, Christine, Beth ... they called us nuns because we were sisters dressed in black drinking wine