IIASA's staff association organised a tour of the Wine Tour and Cultural Sightseeing trip for the staff and YSSPers interested. For 15 euros it was definitely worth it. A group of us dragged ourselves out of bed at 7am to get to the bus in time as we journeyed to Graffenegg and Glaubendorf.
Our bus trip started with a buck's fizz, champagne and orange juice and choc-chip mini cakes, I could definitely get used to this.
We started our cultural excursions with a tour of Schloss Graffenegg (yes another castle), a Tudor style castle. Why is there an English style castle in Austria? The Count who owned the castle spent some time in England and loved the style and had his castle remodelled in the Tudor style of whimsy. From the outside it looks like you've arrived at the Disney fairytale castle complete with turrets, dragons guarding the entrance and drawbridge of the (drained) moat.
The side of the castle was over the top, we could have spent hours in each room exploring the tiny carpentry details, the artwork etc. The chapel in the church was a sensory overload with bright blue ceilings (complete with stars), dragons and dolphins carved into the seating area, gold paintings over the alter and stained glass windows.
The English garden that surrounds the castle was yet another interesting experience. Graffenegg is very proud of their musical reputation and have recently built a new open-air concert arena that seats 1750 people. What they didn't mention until we found it is that it looks like a firefly class spaceship ready for take off. This was the icing on the cake after discovering an abandoned TARDIS between the trees...I wonder if we should tell them the aliens have landed :P