Friday, 20 April 2012

Day 7 - Austria

Austria is just 12 kilometres from Aschau Im Chiemgau ... so it seemed an ideal opportunity to visit the home of two of the most recognisable luxury brands - Riedel and Swarovski.

Riedel is the, I mean THE most fabulous wine glass-maker in the world. In fact, I am not sure if I have ever been to a wonderful restaurant or hotel that DOESN'T have Riedel.

We drove the 30 minutes to Kufstein and met with guide Frederique Dufort. She led us through the history of the company and took us down to the glass-blowing floor. Riedel produces around 50 MILLION pieces a year ... 99% is produced in 3 factories in Bavaria by machine  but 1% (the Sommelier collection) is produced by hand at this Austrian factory.

Not only did I stand in front of 2000 degree furnaces (phew), I actually got to blow a glass myself. On Monday it will be polished and sent to me in England!! I am SO excited! There is a crew of 5 that produces around 40 pieces a day - glasses and vases ... who work like clockwork. Everyone has a job ... and it's poetry in motion ...

From there, we drove another 30 minutes and arrived in Wattens - home to Swarovski crystal. We weren't allowed in the factory as the "secret" behind the crystal is heavily guarded.

Instead I was taken around Crystal Worlds by Renate Steidl ... who took me through 14 "psychedelic" experiences ... all involving crystals ...

My favourite room was number 2 - the crystal dome ... freaky/cool!

Our last night at the Residenz Heinz Winkler ... one more AMAZING meal to look forward to!!!
Glass Blowing

Drink anyone?

The Hills have Eyes
The Crystal Dome
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