I was off to Austria again this past week. This time around we had only fleeting glimpses of snow; most of the trip was spent in Burgenland, the southeastern part of the country full of gently rolling hills. Our first stop was Stinatz, a tiny village known for its hand-scratched Easter eggs.
The women (there are only four or five of them left) of Stinatz who make these eggs belong to a Croatian minority which settled here long ago. We visited one of the women in her home, Continue reading
And now for something completely different.
Tiring of our glamorous European lifestyle, we decided to hop across the pond for Christmas in the Deep South. It’s possible that our decision was swayed by the generous invitation of my parents to join them there, but in the end we found Charleston to be a most pleasant place to spend a few days (lack of appropriate Christmas weather notwithstanding). Continue reading
It’s time for my annual I-love-Christmas-in-Germany post. The Christmas markets opened last week, looking much as they do every year. I’ve noticed a couple new stands here and there, but for the most part everything is in its place. Now if we could just have some snow to make them even cuter, I’d be in heaven.
I’ve written several posts about the markets over the years, such as this one about the best Munich Christmas markets for pretty much everything (or you could just view all my posts about Christmas markets). One stop I haven’t talked about yet (but is worth a mention) is the Alpen Wahn, a cozy little stand outside Der Pschorr serving red and white glühwein until 11pm each night (which is later than most of the other markets are open). Look for it at the north end of the Schrannenhalle, just off the Viktualienmarkt. Continue reading
Last night we decided to be true to our American roots and got creative with a pumpkin. When I first moved to Europe in the 90s, Halloween-style pumpkins were nowhere to be found, but this year we were able to pick up one at our local farmers market for only €3 (it was even labeled as a “Halloween-Kürbis”). Continue reading
Greetings from Prague! Continue reading
There are basically three things I’d like to communicate with this post.
1. Munich is cold and snowy. Continue reading
Look what opened today! Munich is already a fairytale-adorable city; toss in Christmas markets all over the place and it gets so cute it makes your cheeks hurt. I celebrated the start of my favorite time of year with some roasted chestnuts (which is probably the most Thanksgiving-like food I’ll eat all day).
I’m a bit behind on my travel blogging. I’ll skip over a couple trips all together, but our winter adventures in Italy deserve a little more attention than they have received so far.
We arrived in Rome on Christmas Day to find the metro closed. No signs, no information, just a big metal gate closing off the entrance. Luckily our hotel was within easy walking distance of the train station.
Speaking of our accommodations, Albergo Ottocento is a nice, well-located boutique hotel within walking distance of many places of interest in Rome. And walk we did. The Christmas tree on the Spanish steps was a bit of a disappointment, but the sunset view from the top wasn’t.
The next day we headed over to the Vatican to see their tree and giant nativity scene*, and happened to catch a glimpse of the pope speaking to the crowd from a comically far-off window. I think he was discussing his new plan to get child molestation down to acceptable levels.
We saw a lovely art exhibit at the Chiostro del Bramante and then did some more wandering, including through the Christmas market at Piazza Navona. It was giant and loud and bright and tacky; nothing at all like a German Christmas market but fun anyway. A passing tourist’s remark about the “Panthanon” sent me into a giggling fit that could only be cured by a Campari-laden cocktail at the oh-so-charming Caffè della Pace.
More art at the Villa Borghese, which is a nightmare of rules (reservations required, you get kicked out after two hours, the required bag check refuses to take coats) but they get away with it since their art collection is so wonderful. Bernini statues, I will never get tired of looking at you. There was a special Carravagio Bacon exhibit going on; while I enjoyed the paintings I came out still having no clue what the justification was for putting those two artists together.
I get to the important stuff in part 2 of this post – coming soon.
* My husband was surprised to see that one of the wise men was black. Guess it’s not like that in Montana.