All things must end, and we left Slovenia today, taking the northern route back to Budapest through Austria. We broke up our trip at a remarkable zoo and castle in Styria, the Herberstein Gartenschloss und Tierpark.
The 700 year-old castle is set on a cliff in a narrow river valley, largely hidden from the outside world, and the zoo is an updated version of the castle’s 17th-century deer park. The grounds undulate along a hillside above the valley, incorporating thick forest, open pastures, ponds and gardens. The enclosures for the animals are much more extensive than one finds in more conventional zoos, and you may not even locate some of the inhabitants in the dense foliage, or you may encounter a small troop of free-roaming marmosets slinging through the trees and appearing suddenly at your side.
We will definitely write more extensively about the zoo and the surrounding area, but for now here’s a photo of a bit of the formal gardens with the carriage house of the castle in the background.