Why Canadians should go camping in Furstenfeld, Austria

Ok, just to have this out of the way – I think EVERYBODY should go camping in Furstenfeld. Why I think you, Canadians, would especially love it, is because of those sweet black bears, NOT roaming around, eating your food and maybe your toes, while you are asleep in your intensely exposed tents. I have to admit, that these beautiful animals are the main reason why we won’t be going out and sleep in a tent in the Canadian wilderness anytime soon. So, therefor, dear Canadians, I will share with you this wonderful, and exciting option.

If you love camping, and swimming, and prefer to do them both in one spot, then pack up and go! Find your way to Furstenfeld. No, not just right now. You have to book in advance to make sure you have a spot, especially during the busy Summer months. So, start planning for next year, send them an email, let them know what day you will be arriving, how many people will be joining you, and how long you wish to stay. That’s it: you are on your way to have an amazing holiday in Furstenfeld. Let the countdown begin.

We have been going there since our youngest was 1 year old, and he turned 11 this year. So, we celebrated our 10th visit to Furstenfeld this year. Cake anyone?

When we arrive, after a nice (read long) car drive, we park the car, right on our reserved spot and start unpacking. One of the first things we throw out is our tent. One of those intensely convenient 3 second pop-up tents. Throw it, get out of the way and your tent stands there in all its glory, waiting to be occupied, once again, after being abandoned for almost a full year. We don’t unpack the entire car just yet. After our boys have finished blowing up the air mattresses, we are off exploring Freibad Furstenfeld – the main reason of our love for this area. It is a thermal swimming pool, that connects directly to the camping site, with colorful water slides, floating inflatable playgrounds, volleyball fields, trampolines, lots of grass, and many trees, which provide the much needed shade.

Nice bonus: The entrance to the Freibad is FREE for paying guests of the camping. So, you can go and swim any time of the day (or night). No extra fees! Trust me, that is a great deal.

We put on our swimming gear and off we go. Always first on the list, is the infamous yellow slide. Start on the top and just go crashing down. Our boys showing off their athletic moves while sliding down, myself not backing down and showing off my less athletic, but still very ‘cool’ moves (if I may say so myself). Fun all around, and always a moment of happiness. Happy to be back, once again.

Fürstenfeld is a real charming, vibrant little city, full of history, impressive sights, relaxed shopping experiences, and also the perfect starting point for your short trips to the many other thermal baths, which are to be found in any direction you might look. All perfect reasons to visit Furstenfeld, but one has to admit, the main attraction will be the thermal swimming pool, which happens to be the largest one in Austria. I think, it is safe to say, that you will enjoy beautiful Furstenfeld, just as much as we have over the last decade.

Maybe I will see you there in the Summer of ’17 🙂

Just in case you wish to have a break from all the swimming – take a look at my second post. You won’t need your swimming gear for that one.

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In search of a castle …

Castle Welsdorf – Furstenfeld Austria

We don’t like to plan too much ahead. Not in daily life, and definitely not when we are traveling. We love to experience the day as it presents itself.

You adjust, you adapt, and you enjoy it all.

Without a doubt, our most memorable adventures owe themselves to a lack of planning.

Just hang back, relax and let things happen. Enjoy the scenery and feel your heart working overtime, while hiking up the moderately steep hills that lay in front of you. You won’t regret it.

So, on a rainy day, we decided to find and visit a castle. We opened a touristic map and spotted one at walking distance from our camp-site.

After a 20 minute walk (5 minutes by car), we arrived to Schloss Welsdorf. We saw a small entrance that seemed to do its best to hide a building that looked like, at first, an overgrown farmhouse. The gate was open, so we kind-of invited ourselves onto the property. We were struck by the modest, yet elegant beauty that presented itself to us.

We arrived quickly at a large iron gate, where two very friendly puppies greeted us. Needless to say that our kids fell in love with them instantly, and yes, they were ready to file the doggy adoption papers.

When we walked through the gate, the inside courtyard opened up. Beautiful trees, perfectly maintained gardens, lots of shade, and a building that oozed history. This new-found treasure was absolutely stunning!

While exploring the gardens, we met the friendly caretaker of the building, who pointed out, that we were indeed lucky to have found the gate unlocked, because, in fact, the castle was a private property – not usually open to the public.

Nevertheless, he was very happy to share a ton of amazing stories about the property that seemed to be very dear to him. One was about the German occupation during WWII and how the original owners tried to fight off the invading soldiers. This historical event has left behind hundreds of bullet holes in one of the main walls of the building. Spectacular to see the remains of that event after such a long time! We loved to hear the caretaker speak with such passion, and pride about this unknown, hidden treasure of history.

The current owners made sure they restored the inside of the building back to its former glory (see pictures, but apparently ran out of money to continue the outside restorations.

We were actually happy of this financial dry-up because the wall offered us a valuable glimpse into the story of the place. Hopefully, the owners will realize the importance of untouched history and won’t renovate the wall. This way, you future visitors, will be able to live the same emotions that we got to experience on that beautiful rainy day!

Of course, you first need to get by the locked gate. But, hey! What is a vacation without a challenge?