Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Santon

Its just a short walk from The Post House to The Santon, for one of the best views of the battlefield.

This small conical hill dominates the whole battlefield. Not because it is particularly high, but rather the battlefield is very flat.

Most visitors make for Zuran Hill, which is signposted from the main road as Napoleons HQ. So we had The Santon to ourselves for the hour or so we spent there. We were fortunate to have a warm afternoon, so it was quite comfortable to sit and read up on the battle. Identifying the main parts of the battlefield form our excellent observation platform.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Austerlitz Stara Posta

For our second visit to Austerlitz we stayed at the historic Starra Posta, or Old Post House. It is an important part of the battlefield, both because it was used by both French and allied staff during the battle and as the centre of the annual reenactment battle.

We knew the historic buildings from our earlier visit. There are large stables, where reenactors sleep each year. They are still occupied by horses, as the owner is obviously a keen horse breeder. The restraurant is an original barn, decorated in a style which makes it look like it must have done in 1804. And the main building is now a very interesting museum.

We expected very basic accommodation, and were not prepared for the very modern, and very comfortable, chalet style buildings. They are decorated to the highest standard, and were spotless when we arrived. There is even an underground car park to keep visitors cars out of sight. Though only a few yards from the historic buildings, they are so well concealed that we had not noticied them during our earlier visit.

I would very much recommend a visit, and overnight stay, for anyone visiting the battlefield.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Markgrafneusiedlung is a small village, which was the extreme left wing of the Austrain army during the battle of Wagram. It was attacked by Marshal Davout, and the scene of desperate hand to hand fighting.

The battlefield is large and very flat, quite similar to Salisbury Plain in UK. So the tower overlooking the village could be seen from most parts of the battlefields, and it served as a marker during the battle.

We spent a day exploring the whole area, and hired bike's for our transport. It had been many years since I last rode a bike, and though I had not forgotten how to ride, I had forgotten how saddle sore you could get. By the time we got to Deutsch Wagram I was riding standing up, because it was too painful to sit on the saddle. And when we walked around the town I did a very reasonable impression of a "John Wayne" walk.

You can read about our visit to Wagram at


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Marchland

The battle of Wagram was fought over a large area of flat farm land, not unlike Salisbury Plain in the UK. There are few proper roads in the area, and those that are don't go where we wanted to go. All of the villages are connected by farm tracks.

Therefore it was not suitable to explore by car. It was too large to explore by foot. It appeared to be ideal to explore by bike. And indeed it was, the problem was that I had not ridden a bike for about 20 years.

The day was warm and sunny, and at the start it was a delight to ride off into the flat expanse of The Marchland. We could go where we wanted, and stop when we wanted. We seemed to have the whole area to ourselves, except for the singing birds.

But it was not long before I was overheating, and getting very saddle sore. Jan was ok, she used a bike to go to work everyday and was leading the way without any idea of just how difficult I was finding it.

We followed the map, and found the main battle areas with ease. The villages were a little disappointing, as they had changed so much since 1809. But we could approach them through the fields, as the infantry had in 1809, and it was easy to imagine what it must have been like then.

By mid afternoon we had drunk all of our water, and were feeling very hot and thirsty. Each village we approached was empty, and all of the shops closed. It was only as we neared Aspern at the end of the afternoon that we finally found a large, and typical German style, pub. We had two huge glasses (steins?) of ice cold beer which we drank in seconds. As we had our second beer we could feel the first one pouring out in sweat!

An excellent day out, and by far the best way to explore this facinating battlefield.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Aspern and Essling

It was fortunate that we started our holiday on a Saturday. As soon as we booked in to our hotel we set off to explore the town. Just around the corner was the famous church, with its impressive monument of a wounded lion. Walking around the grounds we came accross a small building with a notice on the door confirming it was a museum and open Sunday morning.

We were waiting for the doors to open at 10am. There were not many visitors, and the lady on the desk was pleased to be able to practice her English. We had planned to visit the Essling Granary after the musuem, and asked her for directions. We were delighted when she told us that there was a small exhibition at the Granary, but it was only open Sunday mornings.

It was almost noon when we arrived at the Granary. We were sad to find it looking very run down and badly in need of renovating. We were the only visitors, and the old boy on the desk seemed less than happy to have two visitors turning up just as he was about to lock up. Despite this he let us in, and allow us to view the large diorama. This was the only exhibit, and we were only allowed in the one large barn like room. Despite his obvious desire for us to leave, we ignored him and took our time viewing the diorama.

Description of our visit at