Got back to Irdning yesterday after spending Christmas in Lienz (Osttirol). My friend Annemarie's father was the warden of the prison there, and she grew up in the Rathaus, which is the focal point of the main square. It is also the focus of the Christmas Market, and features a giant Advent calendar, with the artworks for sale by auction. Pretty cool idea, eh?
Austrians celebrate Christmas on December 24. The shops are open until about noon, and there is a whirlwind of activity since everything will be closed for the next three days. Everyone in Lienz was doing last minute shopping, or hanging out on the main square drinking Punsch and Glühwein. We had coffee and cake, a light dinner, and gift exchange at Annemarie's parents house. The next day, December 25, we had a turkey dinner at Annemarie's brother's house (note the big bread dumpling and red cabbage on the plate in the background. This is NOT your typical turkey with all the fixins!).
After those bread dumplings, we had to go for a walk! So we bundled up and went to the National Park Hohe Tauern. From left to right, Andreas (friend of Erich and Antonia), Antonia (wife of Erich), Erich (Annemarie's brother), my friend Annemarie, my friend Kurt, me, Andreas (Annemarie's son):
The landscape was awesome! It even snowed!
On the 26th, I drove back to Vienna with Kurt and Annemarie. We did typical Vienna cultural things like go to the theater (Shakespeare's Measure for Measure at the Burgtheater!) and a musical revue (Rum and Coca Cola: The Story of the Andrews Sisters). Plus, I got to cook for my friends, and we played a lot of games (Würfelbingo is our current favorite... I can't understand why they haven't produced an English version!!)
Now I'm back in Irdning, and preparing to go out and watch fireworks tonight at midnight. Thanks everybody for your kind words about the blog... I'll try to keep up the good work!
Wishing you all
JOY, LOVE, and PEACE