The latter part of the Easter holiday week was spent in the Waldviertel in Lower Austria, with the occasional trip into the Wachau. One such trip found us meeting up with friends for a quiet evening eating and drinking in a Heuriger just outside Spitz. Surrounded by the stepped vineyards cut into the hillsides, on a warm sunny Friday evening, I was enjoying our setting when suddenly the peace was broken by the loud cracking of wood.
The sudden noise was reminiscent of the sound made by old fashioned football rattles. The cause of the evening’s disturbance was two lads armed with wooden contraptions. My companions, as well as those sitting around us, seemed in no way surprised by this turn of events but on seeing the look of puzzlement on my face said that the boys were using wooden instruments called ‘Ratschen’. Further explanation revealed that between Easter Thursday and Saturday evening the church bells are silent and youngsters take Ratschen round their neighbourhood instead.
As we drove back to the cottage that evening we passed a number of trees decorated with painted eggs. Such egg, as well as those made from chocolate, were also found to have been delivered to our garden the following day by the Easter Rabbit….but that story has been described in detail in an earlier post.