|This morning we had a later start, so I took the chance to go for a walk in Portschach, as we have been here three nights already, and I had not seen much of the place. Took another bunch of photos, and got back to the bus about 10 minutes before we were due to head off to Klagenfurt.
Klagenfurt is the capital of Carinthia, one of the nine regions of Austria, so they have a local council for the town, and also the seat of the regional government based there. The town was only founded about 800 years ago, so the legend goes, after the dragon that lived in the swamp area was tricked and killed by a local hero. Most of the old buildings around the town have been there for 400 years, much of the town, like many others, was destroyed by fire over the years. There was a lot of damage here also during WWII.
We were met by some local guides, and taken for a tour around the city. We saw where the original city wall used to go, the old part of the town, the regional government buildings, and the Cathedral, which is Baroque in decoration. I really liked this one, there was a lot of gold, but the ornamentation, while extravagant, did not overpower the place. Finally we made our way back to the meeting point to go on to the brewery.
We had some free time before the brewery tour, so a group of us went looking for the Swarovski store (surprise!). We found it quite easily, and the staff in there were lovely, they even opened a bottle of wine, juice and some snacks for us! No, Roger, I didn't go mad in there, but one of the others did warn me that even though Wattens has the world's biggest Swarovski store, they often run out of items because so many people go through Crystal Worlds. The store in Klagenfurt had the comet ornament I wanted for my Christmas ornament collection, so I got it while I could, I can't get it in New Zealand now, it is sold out. Now I am not worried about getting any of the other pieces on my list (yes, there's a list!), those I can get at home, and if they are sold out in Wattens, it doesn't matter. The credit card would probably appreciate that, anyway! :)
OK, a quick stop to pick up some Maccas for lunch, then on to the brewery tour! Schleppe brewery has been making beer on the same site since 1607. It is a microbrewery which is now partnered with a larger brewery. They make 14 different kinds of beer on site (we tried two), and have diversified in some surprising directions. I never knew you could make brandy from beer, and also put it in chocolate! I got some beer chocolate to try, will bring it home first. They also brew fruit brandies here.
Back to Portschach this afternoon, we have dinner on a lake cruise tonight, then tomorrow we are off to Kitzbuhel in the Tyrol.