Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Back with Some Commentary

{Photo from here}

Didn't want to leave you hanging with some Christmas beauty and no explanations. That would be just totally terri. Christmas really is a great time in any city, but there's something about Graz being such a small, old and historical European city that makes it feel so cozy and charming here. Everyone gathers in the downtown area around the Christkindl markets in the evenings and sips on their Gluhwein to warm up their frosty bodies and it's just so dang cute.

As you have seen, they put lights everywhere and no store is left undecorated. A big emphasis is placed on Advent, although I'm pretty sure much of this is now culture and tradition rather than real Catholic practice. The way they celebrate Christmas is a little bit different as I don't think Dec. 25th is the big day for celebration. They have the Christkind (Christchild) that brings them gifts instead of Santa, but they do use St. Nikolas too. I don't really know..I'm confused.

Lets put my pics back up and talk about those...those I know. And I like to talk about things I know...that's why I don't like trying to speak German to a room full of German speaking women. They laughed a little today at my Frauenservice info day. Maybe I'll tell you about that later. Going to things like this and discussing job possibilities is always quite humbling. That's why I focus on Christmas lights and pretty things that don't speak German! (Although the lady told me my Deutsch was pretty good...I smooched her. not really.)

First off...I feel like a big idiot because I didn't even realize that most of the nativity ice sculpture had melted when I was admiring it (and trying to figure out what was going on with the seemingly abstract random chunks) and snapping photos of it the other night. One guy made a comment to me in German while I was taking the photos and then laughed and in hindsight I'm sure now that he was probably saying..."Why are you taking pics of melted ice blocks, bimbo?"

Here's my photo I thought was lovely:

And here's what it's supposed to look like and probably did a week or two ago:
Makes more sense, huh? {picture from here}

These are the Christkindl market stalls they set up in front of the Rathaus (City Hall) every year in every
German and Austrian town.

And they sell all sorts of handmade goods

The most popular being Gluhwein, heated red wine with lots of spices like cinnamon and vanilla.

And there's a big projector that shines different light scenes on the Rathaus during the night. They say it's
an Advent Calendar, but I don't know what they're talkin 'bout really. If it was, Art would eat it all in one

and this is some people looking in a store window:

And this is why it's hard to lose weight even though you may walk more:

This makes me feel better about my bad German:

And these are the freaky a$$ creatures that roam the streets in the annual Austrian Perchtenlauf parade
"weeding out the bad children" for St. Nikolas. Yikes, I'm glad our tradition is just coal. Why parents are
surprised when their two year old isn't loving Mr. Red Eye is beyond me.


And here's the huge crowd these scary monsters drew on Dec. 6th:

And here's a tall Swede holding Elsie who has some freaky eyeballs herself:
{we know worries}

And, finally, here we are walking home on the red carpet rolled out for us.
Maybe Art and Elsie will be in US Weekly.

And, that's all. Goodnight. Sweet Perchten Monster dreams.


Kimberly said...

Carolyn- Graz looks just fantastic! I bet your family will be getting some very unique gifts from you this year. Sittin here listening to Sunny 99.1 Christmas tunes on the net and thinking back to our annual "Glue wine" parties in Houston. Ahhh. Ask Amy- not so much a fan of Gluewein!

Amy said...

ha ha ha... i tried that gluewein last year... not my fave! And yes, I am expecting lots of unique gifts this Christmas, Coco!!!

Unknown said...

So huebsch! Ich finde Weihnachtsmaerkte immer toll!
Schoene Fotos!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for explaining the ice sculpture. I went to see it yesterday and was standing there trying to appreciate some kind of abstract meaning... with little to show for the effort. Noooow I get it! Loved the post. Cracked me up.

melissa said...

Auntie Melissa would like to see some special gift too (just kidding). It does look like there are some fun things to find. I would love to be over there and share it with you, it looks amazing and magical. We are going to miss you here at Christmas to make us all laugh. We will be thinking about you all and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog via 1richtungsblog. As an Austrian it's so interisting to read how you, as an American, experience Austria. Love your blog ;)
Liebe Grüße aus Oberösterreich, Tamara

Angela said...

OMG, I laughed so hard at the "Yikes, I'm glad our tradition is just coal" comment. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! It's so interesting Christmas traditions in Austria!

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Thanks for leaving me a comment! You know I love it so.
- Carolyn