My mother remembers her mother talking about the pilgrimages she made as a young girl. More than likely the family would have made an annual pilgrimage to Mariazell, located in Styria in the mountains of Austria. It would have taken them at least three days to walk to Mariazell. Many Burgenländers today still make this annual pilgrimage - and yes, they walk!
We did not travel to Mariazell, but we did visit another city that my grandmother and her family would have made a pilgrimage to - Frauenkirchen. Frauenkirchen is just 10km from Tadten and could easily be reached by foot within an hour's time. Periodically along the road to Frauenkirchen there are holy statues - more than likely the people making pilgrimage would stop and pray a little bit and then continue on.
The Basilica of Frauenkirchen is quite simple on the outside, but the inside is gorgeous and very ornate.
There are numerous altars on each side of the Basilica. Here is one of them:
When you travel with an organist, you always have to check out the organ!
We spent a good bit of time walking through the Basilica admiring the side altars and taking quite a few pictures. We had absolutely no idea what was about to happen though. All of a sudden, a small group appeared and sat down in the front pews on the left side of the Basilica and they started singing! Yes, singing! It was beautiful. It didn't occur to me for several minutes that I could tape their singing with my camera and bring a little piece of this beautiful memory home with us.
So, turn your computer volume up, and click on the play button below. Excuse the wonky photos; I was trying to be creative with the camera (I think I will stick with needlework when it comes to creativity!) Just close your eyes and listen.
Why I didn't tape more of that beautiful singing, I just don't know. It was a very moving experience. My mother said it reminded her of her mother; apparently her mother was a very good singer; she and the other "alte Frauen" (old women) would often break into song at church.
Later this same day, we visited the Schloss (castle) at Halbturn (another residence of the Hapsburgs!)
Is that the Empress of Austria? No, it's Marlene from Minnesota!
Next stop, Mönchhof - affectionately known by the locals as "Minnehof." Here we visited the Dorf (Village) Museum. I wish I had taken more pictures!
An old well:
One of the old border crossing stations (note the old car):
A gypsy wagon:
The entrance (exit) to the Dorf Museum:
After all of that sightseeing, we had to stop for some cold beverages at the local Heuriger (wine tavern) - only Cola light and Traubensaft (grape juice) for these Frauen (ladies!)
Zum Wohl! (Cheers!)