Autumn has definitely arrived in this part of the world, and it’s the perfect time of year to be outdoors. Juergen and I recently spent a gorgeous afternoon hiking the Kaskögerlweg, an 11 km trail in Styria’s Vulkanland just east the village of Poppendorf. It was a family outing that included his parents, uncle, cousin, her partner, and their darling one-year-old who enjoyed the hike from the luxury of his stroller. The young family only intended to walk a small portion, but in true Austrian fashion (i.e. the daytime version of “I’ll stay for one beer”), time was forgotten among good company and they stayed with us the entire way. The three-hour trail was not strenuous but considering some narrow climbs and a few slippery footbridges, it wasn’t exactly stroller friendly. We must’ve looked like a caravan of pioneers heading west with our little wagon.
Through woods, fields, and vineyards, I noted the abundance of green that was still holding on. In the last few kilometers, we climbed uphill through rows of apple trees on the property of Haas orchards. Despite not being hungry I couldn’t resist plucking one to taste. I usually try to avoid superlatives unless they’re absolutely warranted, but I must say it was the most juicy, crisp, and delicious apple I’ve ever had. To top off a wonderful day, we came across a lookout point with a scenic view of Gnas. There were picnic tables set up where hikers are encouraged to sit, rest, and help themselves to sample a variety of wines and ciders, provided you leave a few euros out of good grace. Such a brilliant idea!