If adventures do not befall a young lady in her village she must seek them abroad.
Or simply in another spot, I say! I enjoyed walking to the metro/train station on Mariahilfer Strasse, in Vienna, because I always discovered something new along the way. One day it was LUSH, a shop of freshly made cosmetics. Soaps, lotions, face creams, and more, oh my! The fragrance from that shop permeated out to the sidewalk and literally pulled me in. Once inside, lovely women tried to explain to me in German/English what all the goodies were and what they could do. I bought round shampoo cakes, for different hair types (all in the loveliest of colors and fragrances) and tins to store them in.
I would have bought more of their products, but because they are freshly made, some had to be kept refrigerated. The cake shampoos were one of the best purchases I made on my vacation. Every time I opened my suitcase I would get that clean, fresh, fragrance wafting up from the shampoo paper sacks. Take a deep breath, can you smell them? When I returned home I placed the shampoos in the tins, for gifts, and the sacks went into my dresser drawers! Then I looked LUSH up online to see if I could buy the products in the U.S. Yep, there they were! Maybe I should always travel with one!
Continuing on our walk to the train station I came to a small portico opening in the storefronts that looked like it was wide enough for a horse and carriage in days gone by. My curiosity got the best of me and I had to turn in and see where this little lane took me.
The lane went on and on. Here was a collection of small shops and restaurants that looked like they had been inter-connected houses in a different generation. I wondered if this was the way the streets looked before the addition of the modern high-rise buildings. The lane was so charming! I am glad I took the time to turn in. These un-expected finds always interest me the most!
Planning a day trip to Melk was fun too. Taking the elevator on the street to the multi-layered train station (there were local trains and metro trains all converging into one area) we found the trains conveniently stopped in a large, beautiful, shopping mall and market, they called the train station. You could just skip the train and spend a lovely day eating and shopping here! The Austrian Railway Office sold a convenient Combi-ticket, which included the train trip from Vienna to Melk, entry to the Melk Abbey, a boat cruise to Krems and the return train trip to Vienna for 47 euros. What a deal! So early one morning off we went to Melk!
The train adventure for me is the scenery and the allotments stretched along the railroad track. Miniature houses (I call them doll houses) are tucked into gardens as far as the eye can see; doll houses with tiny windows showing off small boxes filled with abundant, draping, riotous colored flowers. Leaning near the door frames were clutters of ladders and old rakes. There were neatly ordered flower beds and well tended fruit and vegetable gardens behind picture perfect picket fences. Sometimes there were happy-looking, waving folks, enjoying the sunshine, while plumped in white plastic chairs and cooling their feet in a small child’s wading pool. Others were grilling, while some were bent over their plots in peaceful, nature retreats. These areas, outside the cities, in Austria and Germany, especially along railways, are the spots for garden obsessed people to rent out a small plot and plunge into the soil. They are called Schrebergartens. There are strict rules that regulate the exact dimensions, color, and style of the doll house and how the gardens are to be maintained. The gardens were very neat, and tidy, just like Austria!
In the early 19th century, it was the idea of Dr. Daniel Gottlieb Moritz Schreber, to create athletic fields for children to escape the crowded, larger cities. Before he realized his dream, he died, and his son decided to use the plots for gardening and to teach children the basics of gardening. The idea quickly caught on. In WWI and WWII the gardens rapidly rose in importance as sources of hard-to-get fresh fruit and vegetables. After WWII a lack of housing across the country resulted in the common practice of erecting small structures on the plots so families could have shelter. The result is what we see today; miniature housing developments of nature retreats! Families can enjoy the sunshine, relax, party, and tend their gardens. A village of adventure, to be sure! And now on to Melk! Enjoy!
PS, since the train zipped along the rail over 100 mph I couldn’t take decent pictures! So please……..
Check out Allotment images HERE!