There is so much recorded history in Europe. Stories reside in every nook and cranny of old buildings and villages. In Grein, we took a short walking tour of the town that included an old theatre as well as the usual church and village square.
The Danube is prone to flooding and 2013 was a bad year. The Austrians have come up with some ingenious engineering to create temporary walls to hold back up to 15 feet of water. However, not all of the town was protected and the waters crept up the streets, creating a lot of damage.
The river looks so peaceful here, but if you search for 2013 Danube floods, you'll see many videos of raging water.
Later, we took a bus to Castle Clam. Our tour was conducted by the Count himself, a young man in his early 40s who lives there with his wife and three children. He was very engaging, although it felt a bit odd, as if we were intruding a little. However, conducting tours helps to maintain the castle. The castle has been in this family for 16 generations, since 1454. I find that amazing.
The tour began in the central open courtyard where a balcony runs along the second floor, seen above. The Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I enjoyed hunting and came here to visit and hunt. Some of the trophies mounted on the walls (and there were a lot of them) were shot by the Emperor. I preferred the flower boxes.
We climbed a narrow, twisting staircase to the small medieval chapel where the Count told us Mass is still held. He said that celebrations, such as birthdays and Christmas begin with Mass here. It was quite something to imagine the many years of worship that went on and continue to the present.
The family lives in a separate wing from the tour. I enjoyed seeing how the public rooms were furnished and set up as if someone had just stepped out of the room for a moment.
One of the most impressive rooms is the dining room where the table was set with Meissen porcelain and fine crystal. The Count told us that this room is still where Christmas dinner is held. He grinned as he said that they use different dishes, as these are priceless, and with children and dogs in the room, breakages are inevitable.
Just before entering the room he pointed out a portrait of one of his ancestors. He asked us to notice that his arm was in a sling. Casually he mentioned that this particular gentleman was one of three thrown out of a window in Prague during the Second Defenestration! You might remember that I mentioned the event a few posts back. I was quite tickled to make this connection from one historical site to another.
Clam Castle also holds big music festivals. Elton John, Pink, and others have performed there. The castle grounds produce wine and we were treated to a snack and a glass of wine before leaving.
Here at home the trees are beginning to change colour and when I walked today, leaves swirled down from the trees. The heat of summer seems distant now. I'm loving going through my photos and remembering our wonderful trip.
Linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Angie of Letting Go of the Bay Leaf.