Category Archives: Out and about in Lower Austria

Roman Cavalry displace their skills at Carnuntum – A day amongst the Romans (Part 2)


The four riders wonderfully brought Roman Cavalry history to life, providing the crowd with an excellent display during the recent Roman Fest at Carnuntum Archaeological Park.

IMG_8169

Carnuntum which is situated next to the Danube River, about 30mins drive from central Vienna, was a Roman Provincial Capital and today visitors can experience the feel of Roman life by spending time exploring a set of wonderfully reconstructed buildings. Images of the site on a normal visitor day can be seen here and here.

A few images from the Cavalry display:

IMG_8202

IMG_8203

IMG_8204

IMG_8205

IMG_8206

IMG_8207

IMG_8208

IMG_8209

IMG_8210

IMG_8211

IMG_8177

IMG_8178

IMG_8179

IMG_8180

IMG_8181

IMG_8182

IMG_8185

IMG_8187

IMG_8188

IMG_8189

IMG_8191

IMG_8193

IMG_8194

IMG_8195

IMG_8196

IMG_8198

IMG_8212

IMG_8213

IMG_8214

IMG_8215

IMG_8216

IMG_8184

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities for kids, Austrian History, Festivals, History, Out and about in Lower Austria, Uncategorized, Vienna Life

The Physician, religions, work and fun – A day amongst the Romans (Part 1)


Carnuntum Roman Fest – Part 1

It’s not every day that you learn how to take an arrow head out of someone’s skull, sit in a Roman Villa with soldiers and citizens milling about, or find out about the latest cosmetics and fashions in (Ancient) Rome.

Carnuntum Archaeological Park is always worth a visit but yesterday was somewhat different as my family  joined hundreds of other visitors attending the Roman Fest.  Carnuntum which is situated next to the Danube River, about 30mins drive from central Vienna, was a Roman Provincial Capital and today visitors can experience the feel of Roman life by spending time exploring a set of wonderfully reconstructed buildings. Images of the site on a normal visitor day can be seen here and here.

My daughter is a bit of a history fanatic, something I’d like to claim comes from me but in reality it’s more a result to exposure to places like Carnuntum where you can touch and feel the past, alongside watching and reading everything connected to Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories. So for her history is something real, alive, accurate, and fun. As for me, my interested in history unfortunately makes me one of those sad people who mumbles loudly in cinema’s at ‘historical movies’ or around tour guides whose historical presentations are full of inaccuracies. My daughter and I are therefore a rather tough audience to impress and it was, I suspected, something of a relief to my wife that the Roman Fest lived up to the high expectations we have of the Carnuntum site.

A few images of the day:

Tools of the trade for a Roman Physician…..

IMG_8044

Luckily the Romans had a good command of German as I don’t think most of us could manage the Latin…..

IMG_8043

All the instruments where made by the Physician himself and based upon original Roman descriptions. His talk enthralled H, especially the bits about cutting open the skull…..

IMG_8042

The main Villa was full of visitors listen to the talk by the Physician or exploring the building, but also some of the City’s military……

IMG_8051

Outside the main Villa near the shops order was being maintained by the local auxiliary…..

IMG_8045

I wonder if this chap was in need of the Physician or had already been to see him?……………..

IMG_8041

I was outvoted as we passed this cosmetics stall on the main street and some time was spent chatting about (and buying) some Roman creams etc……

IMG_8053

As the discussion of perfumes and creams continued, I was distracted by the public announcements on the new status of the Sect known as the Christians……..

IMG_8048

Not to be distracted by this talk of the Christians, I wandered further down the road to watch the priest perform a more traditional ceremony……

IMG_8247

IMG_8249

IMG_8248

IMG_8251

IMG_8252

IMG_8253

IMG_8255

IMG_8259

IMG_8261

IMG_8264

IMG_8266

IMG_8267

IMG_8268

IMG_8269

The Roman Fest had plenty for the kids to get their hands dirty and minds active. From designing mosaics…….

IMG_8218

….or ceramic painting……

IMG_8217

While other children painted shields and swords, H decided to practice her catapult (sling shot) skills….

IMG_8284

IMG_8285

Then on to exercising the brain with a Roman board game…..

IMG_8273

IMG_8274

While wandering around you had to keep an eye out for the traffic……

IMG_8245

…..but wandering was the thing to do as there were so many sights to see, people to talk to and things to do. Other distractions meant that we missed the wedding but I did get some shots of the wedding party preparing……

IMG_8279

IMG_8280

IMG_8282

In addition to the slaves, there were some free Celts at the festival and H had her name translated……

IMG_8239

 

Finally, visiting military units were encamped around the edge of the site and here are a selection of images from the camps…..

IMG_8141

 

IMG_8143

IMG_8221

IMG_8222

IMG_8223

IMG_8224

IMG_8225

IMG_8275

IMG_8276

IMG_8283

IMG_8229

IMG_8230

IMG_8232

IMG_8233

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities for kids, Austrian Roman History, History, Out and about in Lower Austria, Vienna Life

Carnuntum – Some more images of life in the world of the Ancient Romans


As the post A glimpse of Roman life – Carnuntum remains one of the most viewed items on my main blog, I thought I’d add some additional pictures here for those who would like to see more.

Carnuntum

Sitting by the Danube River, at about the half way point between Vienna and Bratislava, is the site of the Roman City of Carnuntum. An important location within the Empire, part of the City has been brought back to life with the reconstruction of a small number of Roman buildings on the original site.

The visit of some friends at the beginning of November was an excuse for us to make a last visit to Carnuntum before the site closed for the winter. One of the advantages of visiting when the weather is cold is that you really get to appreciate just how effect under floor heating in Roman villas really was. This large room was a very heated to a very welcoming temperature and the floor was warm to the touch…

IMG_5796

It took us a while, as usual, to reach the restored buildings as the visitors centre provides plenty to read, listen and watch. These displays and presentations give the visitor the opportunity to gain an awareness of Roman life and the Carnuntum site which adds to the later experience of actually walking through and touching life in the restored buildings…. 

IMG_5686

IMG_5690

IMG_5689

IMG_5693

IMG_5694

IMG_5696

IMG_5698

IMG_5700

Just outside the visitors centre a model of the ancient city gives you an overview of the geography and layout of the settlement and military installations…..

IMG_5703

IMG_5706

IMG_5708

Once on the main site you will spend a wonderful few hours exploring the Ancient Roman world……

IMG_5709

IMG_5747

IMG_5749

IMG_5753

IMG_5768

IMG_5771

IMG_5779

IMG_5785

IMG_5788

IMG_5789

IMG_5790

IMG_5792

IMG_5794

IMG_5799

IMG_5800

IMG_5803

IMG_5798

 

IMG_5820

 

IMG_5823

 

IMG_5834

 

IMG_5835

 

IMG_5842

 

IMG_5843

 

IMG_5846

 

IMG_5857

 

IMG_5859

 

IMG_5867

 

IMG_5868

 

IMG_5872

 

IMG_5880

 

IMG_5881

 

IMG_5883

3 Comments

Filed under Austrian Roman History, History, Out and about in Lower Austria, Vienna Life

Richard the Lionheart was here!


I’ve driven past it many times and have also strolled around the town of Dürnstein – which sits below – but I had until the other day never walked up the hill to the ruins of Dürnstein Castle.

For those finding themselves in the picture postcard town of Dürnstein……

… and thinking of making the hike up the hill I say it’s worth it for the view along the river Danube and the surrounding villages of the Wachau region, but not for the ruins themselves.

There is little of historical interest in the site itself, which is disappointing for a castle that played host to Richard the Lionheart in his captivity.

While the steep path up is fine for those in ordinary shoes if you are comfortable traversing the mix of smooth stone and loose grave but even on a hot, dry day I’d recommend footwear with a decent grip – especially if you intend to climb around at the top.

If you don’t fancy the climb then you can simply join the many other tourists enjoying the chance to wander around the town before jumping back on their coach and rushing off to the next stop.

If you aren’t in a rush then I’d recommend spending a few days exploring the Wachau – which sits on either side of the Danube – with it lovely villages, terraced vineyards, and relaxing heurigen.

Personally, I love spending my time here eating and drinking, but cycling, walking and playing in the Danube are all available in an area only an hour or so from Vienna.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Out and about in Lower Austria, Vienna Life

Magnificent entertainment in the hunchback world


On the last Sunday in May we headed south of Vienna into a region in the State of Lower Austria known as the hunchback world. Nestled within this rather beautiful hill country is the small town of Bad Schönau, our destination for a day of wonderful entertainment.

The purpose of our trip was to take H and her friend to the Fabelhaft – a festival of storytelling through words, mime, puppetry, music and magic. What I had expected to be a fun day for the kids turned out to be marvellous entertainment for ‘children’ from 4 to 104!

My personal favourite was the feet puppetry of Laura Kibel from Italy:

I’ve posted a selection of pictures from her performance here

While they loved the feet puppetry, the girls couldn’t stop laughing at the silent comedy of the KGB Clowns from Russia. Their performance captured the audience who were drawn deeper and deeper into the crazy world created by two artists who had no need for words.

A selection of shots from their performance can be seen here

Other acts (amongst others) on the day included these wooden puppets….

…musical entertainment……

…storytelling….

….and magic…..

In addition to the festival, I was also rather taken by the village of Bad Schönau and the surrounding area…

As we sat drinking coffee in the sun, outside a local restaurant, the quiet of the Sunday morning was broken by the sounds of the village band playing as people came out from a church gathering:

The local church itself sits on a small hill dominating and defining its environment:

Walking through the fields near the village we came across this tiny chapel:

From the chapel we entered a small coppice and through the trees could be seen a local castle nestling on yet another hillside:

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities for kids, Art, Festivals, Live performances, Out and about in Lower Austria, Theatre, Uncategorized, Vienna Life

A major wetland on our doorstep


Earlier in the week I had the chance to go walking in a small part of the Marchauen Donau National Park. I say part, for as you can see from the website it starts inside the boundaries of Vienna and follows the Danube River for the 36km through Lower Austria to the Slovakia border.

This major central European wetland provides a valuable range of habitats as well as offering those living in or visiting our corner of Europe the chance get close to nature. On this short excursion I had the opportunity to observe a colony of Storks, nesting, engaging in mating displays and hunting in the watery meadows:

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities for kids, Environment, Out and about in Lower Austria, Vienna Life

The Planets and the Cockerel


Whilst visiting part of the Marchauen Donau National Park I came across this rather interesting weather vane:

Leave a comment

Filed under Environment, Out and about in Lower Austria, The odd thought or observation, Vienna Life