Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Salzburg Christmas Market

Yesterday in Salzburg:
Wreaths, pretzels, chocolates, ornaments, glass trinkets, souvenirs, clothing, hats and scarves! Booth after booth was filled to the brim.
One of the most popular items was the "Gluwein."
It is hot spiced wine that warms your cold fingers and toes!

(The glass pyramid houses and protects a statue of Mary during the winter months)

It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful city, in the most beautiful time of the year.
We bought gifts and ate candied almonds as we walked through the Mozartplatz and other areas of the city

Saint Nicholas comes to our area!

This is the only picture I got from the opening ceremony of the Christmas market in Aloetting, Germany (20 minutes outside Burghausen) this Friday evening.
Here is St. Nicholas at the Rathaus (City Hall) windows with his angels.  They had fireworks, a childrens choir, an adult choir, and a brass band wearing historic costume. It was very beautiful. After the market was officially open with its blazing fires, hot food booths and handmade crafts, The Saint walked through the crowd nodding to people and speaking to children.

The Innsbruck Christmas Market

Innsbruck Austria is a beautiful city and is called the Heart of the Alps
We did a day trip ...about a 3 hour drive to see this 2-time Olympic town.  Their Christmas market was already open and the whole town was decorated.  In their Alstadt, they even had fairy tale displays on the sides of the buildings. This one depicts Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs
Chestnuts were actually roasting on an open fire!

Vendors were set up selling all kinds of goods and food

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My First Bavarian Snow

This was taken this morning on my way to Altoetting...(the neighboring town.) My first snowfall since I've been here.  It was actually only in one small area between the two towns.  It was still snowing on the way back to Burghausen too...but no snowfall at my little apartment.
As a side note: It is starting to get dark VERY early here.  It is now 4:35 pm local time and the light has almost completely faded!

Salzburg for shopping

Salzburg is a great place to stroll around and shop.  There are countless little shops down the narrow streets that are traveled mostly on foot and on cycles.
We crossed over the Salzach river on this bridge...I was with my new friend (Suzanne-who is from Ohio.) The fence-like sides were covered in "locks of love." People had put their names on these different locks and attached them to the bridge.

That is SO romantic. I will have to bring a lock for me and Billy soon.
 We had drinks at the corner table on the upper left here.  This restaurant/coffee house was established in about 1700.  In Wolfgang Mozart's day, it was a popular student hangout and he was often there. He may have even sat in the very spot I sat in! Wow, That's hard to believe.
They had the Christmas lights hanging and the booths assembled for the Christmas Market.  I plan to go there and see it over the weekend. It will be set up in the plaza in front of the cathredral (The two steeples in the top photo)
 These last two pictures are different views of the same street. The last one is up the hill toward the castle/fortress

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Altstadt (Old Town)

I haven't posted much about the old town yet. It is a very facinating place
 The boats laden with salt would come down the river and stop in the town.  The river is the Salt River...or Salzach
 There are many different styles of houses and buildings and from many different time periods.

 This church has beautiful bells.  Austria is across the can see a city called Ach

I'll post more about this part of the Altstadt later...It is in a part called In Den is a narrow strip of a street with a "tunnel-like" feel that has housed artisans and their shops for many generations.  Above is a man working late into the night creating musical instruments. Deborah and I stood in the cold night air and watched him until we began to feel guilty! I'm going to make a special trip to take some pics to post here...but it will take several posts to do it justice. It's absolutely amazing.

Various Castle Shots

 Every Day the castle in Burghausen looks a bit different
 When you are talking about the longest castle in Europe, you have a lot of details to enjoy
 I'm not sure where this goes...the entrance to the stairway is blocked off.
 Sunset is a wonderful time to sit on a bench and enjoy the air.
Now, someday, I'd like to see if I can get up to watch a sunrise!
I guess we will wait and see what happens...

 I was in Burghausen a couple of months before I saw this beauty half hidden away

 I still haven't seen the museum that is housed in the main part.
I'm waiting for visitors from back home to share it with.
 Billy and I weren't really sure what these were
I was able to poke my camera in a small hole to get a shot of the underpinnings of this part of the castle dating back to the 1400's or 1500's.
It's hard to believe that these things could be so old.  See how the logs are hand-hewn?
 This is the restaurant at the former convent along the length of castle
I could glimpse this part through the rambling garden as I trecked up to the castle from the Altstadt (Old Town)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Italy - Part 4 - VENICE

After a breakfast of coffee and croissants we left the hotel, boarded a city bus and rode across town to the Grand Canal.  From there we boarded the city "water bus."
 We took this boat all the way to the far side to San Marco.  It was pretty exciting to see the sights you grew up seeing in photos of Venice. ...The gondoliers, the huge buildings of marble & stone with their lower portions flooded with water, the striped "barber poles" for parking the boats. Yes, many of these tourist boats featured men with their striped shirts and straw hats with the black ribbons streaming off the back.
 It was raining and misting a bit when we started down the canal but it soon became a steady rain. The boats were parked and covered after that.

These people gave it a good try right before the bottom opened up and it began to absolutely pour! It was actually kind of nice to see it in the rain. I'm sure it will have a whole different feel when it's dry and sunny. When we got to San Marco, we looked through the stores for Murano glass. I got a beautiful red vase and some surprises for someone special at Christmas!
This is the Piazza San Marco.
Doesn't it look like an impressionistic painting in the rain? In the back is the Byzantine cathredral.  I'm wondering if this is where a Christmas market would be held during Advent.
Here's a Camille Pissarro painting called The Boulevard Montmartre on a Winter Morning, 1897
It has the same feel as the piazza did that day, don't you think?