Through the summer, the opera house has a goodie for those who like opera. They screen live feeds of the performances that are showing. So, on a nice evening, one can snuggle up in one of the chairs outside, and watch an entire opera on the big screen. Probably even getting a better view than some of the people inside! With subtitles! 😀
Today I made the season’s first visit to the Christmas market at Karlsplatz. The market here has a lot of art stuff and jewellery.
It also has some quirky stuff, like this home made, bicycle powered carousel. It’s really quite charming. 🙂
I was quite mesmerised by these lovely creatures of light that danced and moved around the market. They were so incredibly soothing.
I stalked them for quite a while. 😀
Yesterday I went to the opening of the winter village at Museumsquartier. I like it because it’s just a place to chill out, and no stalls or shop selling stuff, just drinks and food. And music.
There were a LOT of people there yesterday, and my selfie stick came in handy. Unfortunately my phone is not so great for night shots.
But the atmosphere was great, and even though there were too many people to even find a place to stand comfortably, it’s nice to see that the punsch season is finally here! 🙂
People waiting for the Wiesn to open at noon. At the Wiener Wiesn-Fest you can quench your thirst for beer and see people dressed up in Tracht, it’s basically Vienna’s own Oktoberfest. It keeps getting bigger every year, so I guess it’s here to stay. 🙂
In fact, it’s just getting started. I went to Hauptbahnhof this weekend to donate the stuff I had that might be useful in the coming season, as the refugees are not really dressed for colder days. The picture shows some of the storage of clothes and all at the far end of the train station. There is an acute need for clothes and supplies all things warm, especially men’s clothing. If you want to check out what is needed at the train stations in Austria at any time, go to http://www.refugees.at.
The interest in the media might be fading, but the situation has not changed. There are still thousands of refugees arriving every day, and supplies are needed. It was really strange going to Hauptbahnhof… It gives you an almost apocalyptic feeling. There are people everywhere, on the ground, tents have been put up all over, people are sleeping on the ground… And it smells like the spoils of a music festival. Hygiene articles are sought after as well, but then, there are no showers at the train station. I feel very sorry for those going through this. I saw a lot of children today too. I’m sure that they are the reason why people are fleeing for a better future. I would probably do the same!
Don’t forget about this crisis. If you have men’s clothing to donate, bring it to a train station. They also need food items. Like I wrote earlier, check out train of hope to see what is needed now at a train station near you.
I’ve been wanting to write something for a while now about what it’s like here at the moment, with all eyes directed at Central Europe because of the stream of refugees. When I read news stories from abroad, I get the impression that foreigners think we’re being overrun by refugees and that all our streets are full. Well, that’s not the case here in Vienna. To be honest, I think if I were a nice old lady who didn’t read the news and who only went around town on my errands, I wouldn’t have any idea that something this big was happening. At all. But, ther are a few ways that we notice. A few.
For example, the picture of the post is from Westnbahnhof late one night earlier this week. It’s not a clear shot but then I did feel that I was imposing big time just by snapping a quick shot, and I’m happy that it’s probably too crappy to identify people by. But it hits you if you take the trip down to Westbahnhof (which I wouldn’t recommend unless you’ve actually got business there). There are people sleeping on the ground, all over the train station, because they want to continue the next day or whenever they can catch a train. If you go 50 metres away from the train station, you’re out of the refugee zone and you notice nothing. The rest of the city is working just like normal.
Another thing is that border controls are back, and trains North and East are not running regularly. In fact, some are not running at all. Going to Budapest, which can be a nice break away from Vienna, is not recommended nowadays. At least not if you want to go there and make it back here by train…
I’m reading the papers every day to see how the situation is changing, and it is changin a lot. People in Vienna have also done a fantastic job at taking care of the refugees, suddenly everyone wants to help. But, there is a lot of superficial stuff happening (clearing out the crap from one’s wardrobe without being too critical) and news are coming from Hungary about their way of solving the crisis…which is to fence off the countries that pose the biggest problem. Serbia to start with, and now they’re considering Romania. Funny, because Austria realised early that these people want to go through and not stay, and so the borders were opened to allow that. One would think Hungary could do the same. But as of yesterday that’s also over in Austria. Now it’s border controls and the works, for the first time in many years. Companies are complaining that they are losing revenue because of hour long queues on the borders etc…
There are good ways that one can help though. Here are a few web sites if you are in Vienna and you want to do something:
http://refugees.at/ (Which tells you what is needed in terms of supplies)
http://www.trainofhope.at/ (What’s happening at Hauptbahnhof in Vienna)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Vienna.EAAR/ (Facebook group for Expats in Vienna, where you can get info about what you can do)
http://www.fraubock.at/aktuelles/ (The homepage of Ute Bock, who helps homeless people in Vienna, and now also refugees).
Vienna Würstelstand, which is an excellent magazine from Vienna about what is happening around the place also posted an excellent post about what you can do to help in a meaningful way.
So, there is much that can be done to help. There are MANY that want to help. Which is good, because there are MANY that need it.
But for those who would rather close their eyes and get on with their lives and try not to think about what’s happening, that’s also possible. That’s what it’s like here now.
I’ve been here today, and got some cool plants. This market is happening once a year in spring, and it looks like they’ll do it again in September this year but then it’s too late to put things out on the garden… Ok. Now it’s back to work!
Bird house stand
Very pretty tree
Bonsai! Man they’re pretty.
Botanical garden display
This weekend I took Friday night off to check out this event that’s been on at the Rathaus. It’s pretty nice, it’s free and you get to hang out in a seriously pretty building.
Just stunning. There were a bit too many kids for us to be tempted to go back on Saturday or Sunday, but I bet it was fun for all the kids that got to run around the big halls and stairs!
This is one of the heavy-weight contenders among the Viennese Christmas markets. Located in front of the Schönbrunn castle, they’ve built a little ring of booths enclosing some more Punsch and food stands, and there are concerts almost daily from choirs and brass bands. On the weekend there are even more things happening there.
The booths all contain really nice stuff here, so you don’t get many of the ‘hippie’ stands selling dream catchers and incense, here it’s more about traditional crafts, ceramics, glass art and so on. I usually come here to get a Christmas present for one of mine.
the Punsch is very good here, but it is a bit more expensive than the other markets. That’s to do with the location, but probably also the popularity of the market – it can get insanely crowded. It’s not crazy expensive though, the punsch is up to 1€ more expensive, so it’s possible to deal with it.
They also have the famous Sisi Punsch here. I came here yesterday (a Thursday) so it was relatively liveable there. Previously I’ve only been on the weekend, and you literally have to penguin walk around as there are so many people. They offer bus tours from surrounding countries to this (and other I presume) Christmas markets, so on the weekend it’s not uncommon for 30-50 buses to be parked side by side on the parking lot, and they even have ‘slots’ for when they can offload their passengers to go to the market.
So, like I said more traditional stuff is sold here. And it looks sooo unbelievably nice. I love these Christmas ornaments. I couldn’t afford to dress my tree in these though… maybe I can afford one glass ball a year? hmmm…
I really love these pieces by Sandra Gasque ceramics. This stall is here every year, and I’m equally tempted every year.
This year I also found this booth belonging to Mathias Graebner, whose pieces are absolutely stunning. I told myself that I will go back there if I cannot help myself.. but I managed to get away without a piece… this time! I just love those fish-patterned pieces. I almost thought this booth alone was worth the visit. 😀
The final picture is from the entrance, where they have decorated the two columns with the eagles (?) on top. They look like two giant shiny light-rods from afar.. If you’re in doubt where to enter, look for these! ^_^
Why go here? The atmosphere, and to get some truly unique pieces from talented artist. Just being there, looking at the castle and listening to live music is magical and appeals to the little prince and princess in every one of us. But my advice is, don’t go on the weekend.
Ohhh, seems that some will get a visit from Krampus tomorrow! Or I suppose on Saturday, on St. Nicholaus Day. On Saturday there are lots of Perchtenläufe around Austria, and I have a friend visiting so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make it to one of them! Probably we’ll try to make it to the one at Schloss Neugebäude. If you are wondering what the Perchten are, they belong to a pagan ritual here in Austria, and they look like the Krampus on these cakes, 😉 but apparently they’re not the same!
According to Wikipeida, a Perchtenlauf is:
Originally, the word Perchten (plural of Perchta) referred to the female masks representing the entourage of an ancient goddess, Frau Perchta, or Pehta Baba as it is known in Slovenia. Some claim a connection to the Nordic goddess Freyja, though this is uncertain. Traditionally, the masks were displayed in processions (Perchtenlauf) during the last week of December and first week of January, and particularly on 6 January. The costume consists of a brown wooden mask and brown or white sheep’s skin. In recent times Krampus and Perchten have increasingly been displayed in a single event, leading to a loss of distinction of the two. Perchten are associated with midwinter and the embodiment of fate and the souls of the dead. The name originates from the Old High German word peraht (“brilliant” or “bright”).
Regional variations of the name include Berigl, Berchtlmuada, Berchta, Pehta, Perhta-Baba, Zlobna Pehta, Bechtrababa, Sampa, Stampa, Lutzl, Zamperin, Pudelfrau, Zampermuatta and Rauweib. The Roman Catholic Church attempted to prohibit the sometimes rampant practise in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries but later condoned it, resulting in a revival.
In the Pongau region of Austria large processions of Schönperchten (“beautiful Perchten”) and Schiachperchten (“ugly Perchten”) are held every winter. Other regional variations include the Tresterer in the Austrian Pinzgau region, the stilt dancers in the town of Unken, the Schnabelpercht (“trunked Percht”) in the Unterinntal region and the Glöcklerlaufen (“bell-running”) in the Salzkammergut. A number of large ski-resorts have turned the tradition into a tourist attraction drawing large crowds every winter.
This is not one of my favourite markets, but if the need for Punsch is dire then you will also be able to satisfy your thirst at this market. It is located on either side of the bus lane between the Mall and the Village Cinema and Shopping Centre in the third district. As you can see, the middle of it is kept clear so that the buses may drive through.
So, there you have it, some impressions from Landstrasse. If you are somehow in a super hurry through town, and you’re only stopping at Wien Mitte on your way through, I would recommend this market to get some Christmas cheer. Well, otherwise I would recommend this as a passing through on the way home and wanting Punsch (when I lived there last year I found it excellent for this purpose). Otherwise, check out one of the other markets in town!
I wanted to treat you guys to a little bit higher quality photography than what I normally have time for these days, so I went over to the christmas market at Belvedere yesterday, as it opened this Friday. As usual, I want to try and visit as many markets as possible. I’ll even try to get some quality shots at all of them with my Nikon! I’m still feeling quite under the weather, but I had to get out and walk a little, which helped. There is still some distortion in the picture, but as my laptop cannot handle photoshop, I had to use my old version of lightroom to touch it up. Click on the picture to see it in its full glory. Only one month left till Christmas!! 🙂
There is a new sort of container city/mall that’s popped up next to the WU campus at Krieau, called Boxircus. It looks pretty cool, with some designer outlets, and a bit of a pop up market feel to it. All the shops are in containers, except for these huge lavos.
You can sit outside and have a hot drink in the section of outdoor furniture made from recycled pallets.
This is my kind of place 🙂
Today is the day when most Austrians make their way to a graveyard nearby, and light candles in remembrance of their departed. I decided to take my camera and tripod out to see what could be found at St. Marx Friedhof, which is one of the nicest ones (imho) in Vienna. Without a remote trigger though, I was very handicapped…..
The centre of the graveyard was full of lights that were put down by people. I’m fairly certain that Zentralfriedhof would have been more impressive, but this one is quite intimate, and holds the remains of Mozart. Somewhere.
Seeing as Mozart was put to rest in an unmarked grave, they have put up a stone in his honour. So, we don’t know exactly where he was put down, only that it was at this graveyard. This wasn’t because he was a baddie or anything, it was just the custom of the day.
As you can see, he was far from forgotten today. I went there equipped with some candles, as I didn’t want to count on other people’s generosity.. So I did put some candles on strangers graves. And yes, it wasn’t only because I wanted to celebrate them… camera in hand I realise that my putting candles out served more than only the most humblest of purposes. But, all is well that ends well. I really like this custom. The year before last I only made it out to Zentralfriedhof as they closed the doors. I didn’t want to miss out this year as well.
A lot of the photos didn’t turn out that great, especially since I had to press the trigger on the camera. I could probably also have spent more time adjusting the aperture and shutter.. But still. Better than nothing! I left a lot of the photos really dark, as it was really dark there after the sun went down.
Next year, I’ll try to get hold of a remote trigger!
And check out Zentralfriedhof.
This weekend there is a street artist festival on at Karlsplatz. We went down there last night to check out which creatures that crawled out after dark, and found a vibrant and interesting scene with many different acts.
These guys were running a water bar… with various flavoured water. But what was the coolest part was really how the bar looked 😛I really like the way the light illuminates those bottles.
There were several fire shows, probably because they look the best in the dark so they were saved for after sunset.
but we also saw jugglers, people with amazing acrobatic skills, singers and other musicians, and of course many interesting locals. 🙂
Check it out this afternoon if you’re interested!