So many of you have commented that you enjoy my snippets of life in Austria. Thank you! Tonight was fairly warm (in the 30's F or about 2 C), so we decided to take a family stroll downtown to enjoy the festive Christmas spirit. Come along with me and I will point out some of the things we saw along the way.
This first photo is taken from an elevator that you pay 1 Euro to go up. It stays up there for 1 minute before coming back down. This is looking down the street toward the main plaza. Many people out and about tonight, but you will notice that the middle of the street is empty... no car traffic! This road is for electric trams. I love all the stars over the street this time of year.
With a 2.5 year old in tow, I tend to do more window shopping than actually going into a store. I love this store window display - full of GLASS ornaments. I own nary a one glass ornament, but that green Edelweiss cow is so tempting! Edelweiss is a delicate white flower that grows way up on the mountain tops and chances are - you won't ever see a real one unless you are an extreme mountain climber. The Edelweiss is a popular Austrian motif.
'Tis the season of Heisse Maronis! No walk downtown is complete without stopping for this wonderful treat. For 1.80 Euro you get a little paper cone filled with steaming hot, roasted maronis (they are sweet nuts, about 2x the size of walnuts). They fall to the ground in a spiny sack, which you remove before roasting. You have to cut a slit around the remaining soft shell before roasting too, which splits open when it gets hot (if you don't slit the shell it will explode on you). These are the nuts that kids also like to play Konkers with - if you are familiar with that game. A sweet, healthy treat that also keeps your hands warm. You can see the guy turning the nuts over by hand so they are evenly roasted. Yum!
Our intended destination on this "oh so warm" evening was going out to eat. Literally going OUT. I swear, Austrian's don't mind the cold. This is a super popular 'hotdog' stand (you can get a bunch of different varieties). The people who work here barely wear any coats (the man had a fleece jacket tonight, but the 2 women wore vests and scarfs). Yes, it is outside, yes it is cold. BUT lookie - they give my Little Boy a cushion to sit on to keep his bum bum warm. They also cut his frankfurter into pieces for him served with a big pile of spicy mustard and horserdish in the middle - with a crusty roll on the side. Showing his true Austrian colors he really likes mustard and horseraddish! Most any meal in Austria is served with several different varieties of senf (mustard). My sister-in-law makes a GREAT horseradish condiment that is made with old rolls - served on the side of meat. So good.
Just in case you think he might be a wee bit cold - he is wearing heavy-duty ski tights under his pants to keep him snuggy. All boys over here wear tights in the winter. Much easier to walk in than the bulky ski pants!
And to top the evening off, we took a ride on the snow train. Isn't it cute? I don't know what it really is - some kind of tractor or something. It has several more cars behind the one you see, so is quiet long. The ride is about 15 minutes and goes in a loop through these little alley ways with Christkindl Markt stands, down the street, across the river, etc. We took this ride last week during the day, which was very scenic with lots of old buildings to see and some nice views. Tonight was more about the Christmas lights, but it was still fun. You can see a Christkindl Markt stand behind the train. We got home around 7 pm and the Little Boy had some hot chocolate, watched a bit of Kipper (MUST have videos for any 2 year old!) and was out like a light by 8:30 - a happy little pumpkin!
Thanks for joining us in our family fun! I hope you enjoyed it and maybe learned something along the way.
And to keep this post a TINY bit quilty - my original intent when I first started this blog - I am still working on my Broken Dishes quilt. The pattern is wonderful and as I am sewing my rows together, almost all my points are intact and the seams are lining up almost perfectly on just about every section. Got to love that! I thought it was a bit goofy to post a photo of just 1 block, so thanks for your compliments!