Friday, 23 August 2013

Monkey Mountain, Minimundus and Magdalensberg

Looking at the title of this post, you'd think we had just let the guidebook fall open and chosen all the attractions beginning with the letter 'M'. You'd be wrong. If we had done that, then the Mushroom museum would have been on the list and, I'm sorry to say, we weren't sufficiently fired up with a longing to see multiple fungi to tear ourselves away from the sunbed. We were, however, keen to get out and about and the three Ms were excellent places to visit.

Finding things to do during our two weeks in this region of Austria wasn't a problem as I had contacted the Carinthian tourist board and asked for their advice, mentioning that I was a family travel blogger. I was delighted to receive complimentary Kärnten Cards which would give us free and discounted entry to many of the attractions. These were worth 44 euros each so were a significant bonus.

Abenteuer Affenberg

Monkey Mountain (aka Abenteuer Affenberg) was a hit with all three of us. I know you don't come to Austria to see Japanese macaques but we had reasoned that monkeys live in trees so there would be a decent amount of shade to protect us from the baking sun. Free entry (saving us 10 euros each) put smiles on our faces as we took our place on the guided tour with Dr Bob. His name wasn't Bob and I don't think he was a doctor, but he looked very like his namesake from I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here and his pre-tour talk with warnings about what not to do when in the company of the monkeys, made us feel he knew his stuff. Having said that, the tour and his warnings were in German so we weren't entirely sure what was being said. I speak no German at all and Dougie's O level from over 30 years ago is limited. Rory learned a little German following a two-term experiment at the age of 12 but he told us he could only remember the word for gluestick after a memorable session on 'Things in the Classroom'. This was unlikely to be of much help if attacked by a group of predatory primates. "I have a Klebestift and I'm not afraid to use it!"

In the end, we had no need to worry. The monkeys were a delight, their appetite for apples was unsurpassed and a delightful hour was spent watching them groom each other, play and even swim in the company of the genial Dr Bob.

Monkey mountain Japanese Macaques


Minimundus was a revelation and half price with our Karnten card (6.50 euros instead of 13). Located in the town of Klagenfurt, we popped in after our Beach Volleyball soaking. 150 buildings, trains and boats all constructed at a scale of 1:25, based on the original plans and using the same materials such as marble, sandstone or basalt lava. A beautifully laid out park with a marked route to ensure we didn't miss any (Rory made sure of that: heaven forbid if we should deviate from the arrow) this was a great way to see the wonders of the world and pretend we had visited them in real life. The Treasury of Petra, Sydney Opera House, Great Wall of China...Shame that my better photos were of buildings I have already seen in real life. I did, however, discover a new word. The word for globetrotter is 'Weltenbummler' and I think I may adopt that for my blog. Trish the Weltenbummler. Has a certain ring to it.

La Sagrada Familia 

St Peter's, Rome, with Toronto's CN Tower in the distance




Magdalensberg was Rory's choice for one of our days out and free to enter with our card (normally 5 euros). A circuitous drive up the mountain tested the hire car's acceleration but eventually we reached the settlement, one of the biggest Roman archaeological excavations in the Eastern Alps. We were the only visitors on a blistering afternoon so our walk around the open-air museum was exhausting but rewarding, trying to decipher gravestones and marvelling at the imperial gold bar foundry, the Roman 'Fort Knox' of the Alps.

The excavations have been going on for a century and they are still trying to find the Celtic settlement underneath the Roman one. One of the main discoveries, however, came some centuries earlier when, in 1502, a farmer ploughing his field found a near lifesize ancient statue of a young boy, now known as the 'Jüngling vom Magdalensberg'. Originally thought to be a a Roman copy of the Greek original, it seems that somewhere down the line the original find has been lost and the 'real' statue, in Vienna, is actually a Renaissance copy. A pity, but it still a beautiful piece and a cast of it is on show in the museum at Magdalensberg.

The Ms were a great success, so much so, we decided we would try G and H the following day. Watch this space.


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25 comments:

  1. Disappointed. I thought Monkey mountain might have been the birthplace of Monkey (the nature of who is irrepressible).

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    1. Sorry about that. Not the right kind of monkey magic for you?

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  2. Such a fun trip -loved the monkeys,although I think Magdalensberg would have been at the very top of my list (love antiquity!) for sure - and so clever of you to figure out the trees would provide shade. I started to write that I was sorry I wasn't along to translate for you, but then I reflected that I always struggle with the Austrian accent(kills me at parent conferences), so I'd probably have been in the 'Klebestift' group with Rory anyway. And thanks for the new word - have never heard the term 'Weltenbummler' before - how funny that I learned it from your blog instead of one of my co-workers! I heartily endorse 'Trish the Weltenbummler' but you might want to provide a translation directly underneath...I see a lot of 'bum' jokes coming your way otherwise.

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    1. We are lucky to have so many Roman settlements to visit in this country, sometimes we forget to see similar places when abroad. So glad we did.

      Yes, I do like my new name. Do you think that's where the phrase 'bumming around' come from?

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    2. I have no idea, but now you've piqued my interest. Oddly, I was just talking today to a German friend of mine about the use of the Scots 'ken' (as in, to know/be familiar with) and our German verb, 'kennen' - to know a person (not a fact) be familiar with. Oops - my inner nerd just slipped out. I'll go hide it again quickly!

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    3. That sounds very likely. We do this all the time as a family - there are often Scottish words or words from the North East of England that we come across elsewhere. In Sweden last year the hospital was the 'sjukhus' which had a very northern 'sick house/hus' twang to it.

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  3. Nice to have such varied places to visit too, everyone's happy because there's something to please each one.

    I've never tried the alphabet approach to holidays but it has a certain appeal! :)

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    1. You should try it ;-)) My choice for H proved to be a winner! G was discovered on the way back to the hotel and was definitely worth a detour.

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  4. I must confess that Austria has never really appealed to me as a holiday destination, I may have revised this view after reading your excellent write up.

    And, why am I not surprised that the only German word Dougie can remember from his school lessons is for some sticky stuff? ;-)

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    1. There's still so much to write about our trip. Masses to do here and, because this part of Austria is very near the border with Italy, there is a very relaxed, Mediterranean ambience. Great weather, very clean and so child-friendly.

      It's Rory who only knew the sticky stuff, hopeless child. Dougie surprised me with full sentences in German. He's missed his vocation.

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    2. Though I will ask Dougie if he knows the word for his beloved Duct tape in German. He probably knows it in all languages just in case.

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    3. Ha, must pay better attention!

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  5. I can't believe you didn't go to the mushroom museum. i'm disappointed in you.

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    1. I know, I do feel I've let you down. Looking at it again, we missed a fantasy forest with fluorescent algae if we had gone at night. Gutted.

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  6. They all sound brilliant, but I have to find Monkey Mountain in particular, the kids would love that! As would I! I too think you should have gone to Mushroom Mountain as well though! :D

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    1. Yes, apologies for being lazy on the mushroom front (see above) and apologies in advance for also not visiting the Dwarf museum when we were in the town where it was situated. Really not doing my job here ;-)

      Your kids would love this part of Austria though - packed full of interesting things for little ones including Heidi World,a Fairy Tale Trail with rope bridges and dragons, Wurzelpark (things carved out of wood and roots) and several trails and parks all accessible for children. We didn't go to any of these....

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  7. I think you are going to have to go and do the mushroom thing now aren't you!
    I'm trying not to get too jealous, and the photos are stunning. Rory made a great choice, even if it was exhausting.

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    1. I've looked at the website. Will that do?

      It was a beautiful location for a holiday - lakes, mountains, pretty villages dotted about. We made sure all of us had a say with regard to what we did. Rory mainly advocated staying in bed but this suggestion was good!

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  8. Ooh, I'd love to be a 'weltenbummler'....sounds so glamorous!! And, like VBiC, I am now revising my opinion on Austria as a holiday destination.

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    1. I think people see Austria as a skiing or hiking destination. This part of Austria is very Mediterranean in style, some great little resorts by the lakes and loads to do even if you don't fancy getting your Nordic poles out!

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  9. Austria's great! I had a lovely trip to the Austrian Alps with my youngest during the May half-term holiday. I'd not been before, so didn't know what to expect, but it couldn't have been more child friendly. We went to some fabulous adventure playgrounds in the mountains and there was loads to do.
    Now Trish, what about this Dwarf Museum - is that even allowed? It doesn't sound very PC!

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    1. Yes, another fan of Austria for families.
      Never fear, the Dwarf Museum is a park for garden gnomes. It translated as Dwarf Park in the English section of my guidebook. Rory refused to go, even when I told him there was a mini-train to take him to see all the little people....

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  10. Weltenbummier sounds like some sort of dubious European personal practice...ahem. Are you sure you want that associated with your good name?! I do like the alphabet approach to vacations though.....I was trying to think of somewhere beginning with 'Z' but of course there's Zurich. Doh!

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    1. I might get improved blog traffic though with an inappropriate name?

      You could just go to the zoo?

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  11. Amazing how long you can watch monkeys for ...and they're probably thinking the same thing!

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