Thursday, September 29, 2011

Abenteuerwelt (Adventure World) Mautern and Gösser Brewery

Grüss Gott!  On Wednesday, Neuberg Highlander teammate Evelyn "Eve" Hochegger took my roommates (Courtney Bradley and Jessica Jenkins) and I to Abenteuerwelt (Adventure World) Mautern, a wildlife park in Mautern.  I experienced riding on my first ski lift, although I didn't have skis on my feet and there wasn't any snow on the ground.  With my nerves on edge, I attempted getting into the moving chair.  Once we approached the end of the lift, I sprinted from the chair and headed off the platform.  I was afraid the chair might run me over, but I made it to the top of the mountain safe and sound!

Once we arrived at the top of the mountain, we started touring the wildlife park.  There was a trail that guided us through the park.  Working our way down the mountain, we saw an array of different animals: Luchs (lynx), Wölfe (wolves), Bären (bears), Alpaka (alpaca), Mähnenspringer (Barbary sheep), Bison, Yak, Damwild (fallow deer), rotwild (red deer), as well as several other animals.

(photo courtesy of Eve Hochegger)

"Sky Dive" (photo courtesy of Jessica Jenkins)
As we observed the animals, we came across another attraction, Erlebnispark, or an amusement park.  The amusement park was miniature and seemed meant for children, but that did not stop us!  Jessica joined me on the "Sky Dive," and then Eve attempted the ride after us.  Next, we ventured to the "Tower."  We all attempted to ride up the tower but Courtney could not make it to the top.  Her fear got the best of her, but Courtney found a love for the next ride, the "Unicorn Train."  She was the first to hop on the ride.  The ride was very slow and very safe - Courtney's kind of ride.  As she went around the track, she had a huge grin on her face.  Next, Eve joined me on the "Butterfly," which was a bit more thrilling than the "Unicorn Train."

After the children's park, we continued our way down the mountain.  We were all looking forward to another attraction in the park that would get us down the mountain at a quick pace, the toboggan run.  Unfortunately, the toboggan run was shut down for the day due to inclement conditions.  It was still wet from the morning.  We had to take the next best thing, the ski lift.  We rode the ski lift down until we arrived at where we started.

We left the park and began looking for a place to eat lunch.  We were unsure of where we should stop.  None of us knew a good place to eat.   We ended up stopping at a restaurant, Gasthof Eberhard, in St. Michael.  Courtney and Jessica ordered a mixed salad with wiener schnitzel.  Eve ordered a beef dish with potatoes and onions, and I ordered Wildstrudel (deer strudel).  It was venison in a puff pastry and fried with a salad on the side.  It was actually really good.  It tasted similar to hamburger meat that had been breaded and fried.

Jessica, me, Courtney (photo courtesy of Eve Hochegger)
After lunch, we decided to visit the Gösser brewery in Leoben.  Gösser brewery is considered one of the largest and most well-known Austrian beer breweries.  We were not allowed to take photos in the brewery, but here are some pictures of the brewery from the Gösser website.  Luckily, we were able to catch a tour of the brewery.  Apparently, you have to schedule a tour in advance, but Eve worked her magic and told the Gösser employee that we were American and Canadian tourists.  The employee put all four of us on our very own English-speaking tour within minutes.

We were escorted into a theater where we watched a film about the history of the brewery.  We learned about the process of brewing beer.  After the film, we walked to the brewhouse, which smelled like dog food.  We tasted the first step of the brewing process.  It tasted a little like corn, but I did not mind it.

We moved to the yeast cellar, fermentation cellar, and filtration room.  We were able to taste the final product of the brewing process.  Afterward, we went to the bottle hall where we watched thousands of bottles getting filled with beer and then sealed.

Jessica and me (photo courtesy of Jessica Jenkins)
It was an interesting tour, but the best part came at the end of the tour.  We were allowed to taste all the different kinds of Gösser beer, and there was no limit on how much you could have.  We also were given pretzels.  This entire tour, with the tasting included, was only six euros.  We stayed nearly two hours after our tour enjoying our complimentary beverages.  We eventually left but only because the brewery was closing.  I think a great deal of sadness came over all four of our faces.  After the brewery, we traveled to Kapfenberg because we had an hour and a half practice!  We all, of course, played flawless as we were well-hydrated from the brewery.


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