austria

Friday 10: Pies, Poison, a Podcast, and Passes

This week has flown by! I had my birthday on Tuesday and pretty much ate my way through it. Then on Wednesday, S and I went to a Toronto Maple Leafs game. I think it was my first game at the Air Canada Centre and we had a great time. The Leafs destroyed the Bruins. We paid approximately 1 zillion dollars for me to have a collectors cup full of Coke Zero. I drank it all. I don’t think I ever want to drink Coke Zero again. We stayed up way past my bedtime and I think I’m still paying the price. I am old now, what can I say?

So figured it was a good week for a link roundup! There’s some Ham, some Histoire, and some Travel. 

The Ham

#1  We received a huge pile of carrots in our CSA box this week. Melissa Joulwan’s recipe for Cumin Roasted Carrots came highly recommended to me. It seemed perfect for the season, so I’m giving it a try tonight. 

#2  On the less healthy side, Serious Eats’s list of 11 Must-Try Pies Across America seems like a good reason to go on a road-trip, right? Not to be biased, but I’d probably start in DC for the Baltimore Bomb which is described by Dangerously Delicious Pies as “loaded with Berger Cookies (a Baltimore specialty) that melt down and swirl into a sweet vanilla chess filling.” Sign me up!

#3  Italian master barista Ettore Diana gives coffee at McDonald’s and Starbucks a thumbs up. Take that coffee snobs!

The Histoire

#4  My favorite video and link of the week. Vince Speranza, a WWII vet, tells the story of returning to the French town of Bastogne 65 years later and finding out he’s a legend. It’s a must-see! You’ll probably want to check this out after you watch, too. 

#5  A look at the strange, fascinating history of poisonous Victorian clothing (link via Stuff You Missed in History Class). The exhibition that inspired the article, Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Centuryis on at Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum until June 30th, 2016. 

The Travel

#6  I’m daydreaming of staying in the Ufogel (€120/night), a Tyrollean house and "spatial wonder." I can just imagine cozying up with hot drinks to watch the snow fall on that beautiful landscape after a long day of attempting to ski.

via  Apartments for Sale Paris  and Paris Perfect |  Saint Aubin

via Apartments for Sale Paris and Paris Perfect | Saint Aubin

#7  I’m also daydreaming of buying this fully-furnished Paris apartment. It’s located in the 7th arrondissement and has an Eiffel Tower view. I’m not sure if €915,000 (approximately $1.2 million) is a deal or not, but it seems like it after seeing what Toronto prices have been doing lately. 

#8  I have been looking into the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France a lot  lately and this lovely post about the seaside town of Collioure from Girl in Florence has only sparked my wanderlust more. 

#9  Are those museum passes worth the money? I generally skip them because we don’t hop from museum to museum fast enough. The New York Times takes a look at Amsterdam, Madrid, Florence and Paris to see what kind of bang for your buck you are actually getting. 

The Wildcard

#10 And, finally, I’ve been completely mesmerized by a podcast called Serial. This season (I say that in hopes that there will be more) is all about the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a young high school student in Baltimore. If you are one of the few who has not heard of it, give it a listen.

That's it for this week! The flurries were flying as I wrote this. I think I'll go settle down with some tea, a book, and a down throw!

I hope you have a happy and warm weekend. 

Haunted at Hotel Burg Bernstein

It was the summer of 1997 (I think) when we took a family vacation to Austria. My dad did all of the research and booking back then, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but we stayed in two of my all-time favorite hotels: Graf Recke and Hotel Burg Bernstein

I’ll revist Graf Recke later because it has an enchanting story of its own. Today, however, I’m taking you back to Burg Bernstein for a ghost story. 

Burg Bernstein is a beautiful hilltop castle with stunning country views. It’s been handed down from generation to generation and turned into a hotel and restaurant. It’s most famous inhabitant, however, was László Almásy (see also), who was depicted as the title character in The English Patient

When we arrived, the owner greeting us warmly and showed us to our rooms. I remember being awestruck. I couldn’t wait to excited every nook and cranny of the grounds. We walked across a gravel courtyard toward our suite, the owners’ dog happily tagging along.

When he opened the door, I wanted someone to pinch me. It was like being transported back in time. Every room was beautifully appointed with antiques, paintings, and artifacts, but it didn’t feel like some high-priced interior decorator had put together a “look.” Instead, it was as if these rooms had looked this way for generations. 

Just beyond the front door was a small foyer. A door to the left had name written on it in faded white letters and opened to a bedroom. A door to the right led to the expansive master bedroom, a bathroom, and a third bedroom at the far end of the suite. 

I have to say here that I was 13, so it was exciting to be able to sleep in my own room and get away from my parents (I was not always a peach to be around that year). Not only that, but I could pick which room I wanted. I decided to take my time. 

I’m not sure whether it was my dad or the owner who mentioned Red Ivan, one of two ghosts* who are said to haunt the castle, first. I think I tried to brush it off initially, like the cool teenager I wanted to be. Whatever, dad. I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

But as the day wore on, everything stewed in my brain. There were rooms full of swords and armor, halls lined with antlers, and dinner was served by candlelight in the Knight’s Room with long tables and squishy antique chairs. A old haunted, atmospheric castle can really prime the old brain. 

So the choice of rooms became less exciting and more strategic. That room with the name on it was suddenly creepy. I didn’t want to sleep in a room marked for someone else. Plus the front door didn’t really lock. And it was kind of far from my parents. . .

The back room it is! It’ll be great! Plus, I’ll be closer to the washroom, anyway. Yeah, it’s all about the proximity to the washroom. 

Then it was time to go to bed. I tried to fall asleep in that old twin bed. I did my best to laugh at how silly the idea of Ivan was. But he kept popping up. Who was he, anyway? And why was he Red? I hoped it was his hair. And what kind of haunting are we talking about here? 

After what felt like hours of tossing and turning and feeling all of my hair stand on end any time I heard any noise, I sheepishly padded into my parents bedroom. 

“Can. . .can I sleep with you tonight? Don’t tell anyone, ever.”


* Red Ivan is also known as Raging Wolf and Schlosshansl. According to this website he was a murderous 13th century knight who beat a bishop  to death and haunts the castle "by showing himself beside children's bed [. . .] He has been described with flaming red hair, a skirt at knee length and an evil laugh!" 

Caterina Frescobaldi (aka the White Lady) is the second ghost.  The story goes that she committed adultery so her husband had her buried alive in the 15th century. She appears in white and has an icy touch. People who stay in the Tantalouis or Vinzenz have the best chance of seeing her, apparently.