Christmas in Old Austria

The fantastic Alice and Josef (Pepi) Zelger have taken us on another amazing Austrian Cultural Experience – this time to “Das Österreichische Freilichtmuseum Stübing”, or The Austrian Open-Air Museum in Stübing.

What IS an open-air museum? From the Graz Tourism website…

In 1962, the Graz humanist Professor Viktor Herbert Pöttler – supported by the Austrian Federal Government and all nine Austrian provincial governments – founded the Austrian Open-Air Museum Stübing. Professor Pöttler spent decades tracking down regionally typical dwelling and service buildings, mills, wayside shrines and workshops, often under threat in their original locations. The buildings were reduced to their component parts and re-constructed in Stübing using traditional building methods. Now, nearly one hundred objects blend in harmoniously in the 60-hectare wooded valley, as if they had always been there: the thatched farmstead from Burgenland, the historic grocery from Western Styria or the huge Alpine dairy hut from Vorarlberg. Old household artefacts fill the furnished rooms and original tools are laid out ready for use.

On 2 or 3 days per year, local craftspeople in traditional dress fill the buildings, making traditional food and crafts, singing carols and just generally being awesome.

The event was sold out, but somehow Alice managed to score SIX tickets anyway. We had a wonderful time – eating pork fat on toast, drinking some kind of crazy alcoholic tea (!), eating delicious oven-baked pastries cooked in front of us, and finally ending up with several rounds of schnapps in the special little schnapp-house. The Larch (tree) flavored schnapps was delicious, but the rest tasted like certain blindness. It all made for a very jolly evening. I felt like I had been magically transported back in time. There was too much to see and do. Thank you so much Alice and Josef!

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