Here in Austria it is St. Nicholas Day. He arrived in the downtown square on a horse drawn wagon and handed out candies to all the kids. I noticed that the sleeves on his shirt look like hand-crochet trim...
See the Christkindle Market behind him? We steered clear of there because the crush of people is unbelievable on a weekend night. Interestingly enough, Austria shops stand firm on being closed on Sundays so all of the shops were closed today - just the Christkindle Market was open - and still downtown was packed!
In years past, St. Nicholas has been accompanied with his side-kick Krampus - he looks like a demon. I don't know why he wasn't there this year. Usually the kids get matching chocolates of St. Nicholas AND Krampus because they are a pair. Also - the bakeries make special breads to look like Krampus.
There is also a little "train" that goes through town. It is about a 15 minute ride and cost 1 Euro. A great way to see some of the decorations and shop windows! The line is brutal though - you have never seen people push and shove so much - it was as hard to get OUT as it was to get in the train. The earlier you are the better off you are. We were fairly early - it gets worse as the night goes on.
My son was thrilled to see this amthyst - it is the largest one discovered and is over 2 million years old. It was found in 1980 between Brazil and Hondurus.
And when we got home - look, St. Nicholas had paid our home a visit as well. He brought the traditional gifts of oranges, dates, peanuts and chocolates and candies. Yum. There might even be a few coins in the bottom of that dish somewhere... in anycase, my son was sooo excited to see this sitting out when we came home. I just looked at the photo and realized that it doesn't look like alot of clementines, but there is an entire bag in that bowl! Funny.
All in all, a fun time. We were only gone for 2 1/2 hours, but outside in the cold - that was plenty!