Thursday, January 1, 2009

A White Christmas in Austria.

We just got back from a five night trip to Salzburg in Austria. It was by far, the best holiday we've ever had. EVER.

As soon as we drove into the Austrian alps, we gasped in awe of the beauty we could see (and I know that sounds corny but we really were speechless).

The highlight of our trip was taking a 2km cable car up to Untersberg Mountain for Jason's 29th birthday. It was -20 degrees celcius and I gave up after half an hour outside and retreated into the pub for a hot chocolate. Two hours later, he returned from hiking with a blue face and blue lips. He was as excited as a little kid on Christmas day but couldn't smile properly as his lips were so numb.
He didn't care though as this is what he saw up there:

And this. I love this photo he took and almost wished I had gone with him...but the hot chocolates were REALLY good.

We also took a side day trip to Munich and went for lunch at the original home of the Oktoberfest - the Hofrabrahaus. Before we even had a chance to say 'supersize me' the waiter ran over with our one litre beer.

But back to Salzburg. I mentioned one of the trip highlights was climbing the mountain (well some of us climbed, some people climbed, some people who remain nameless stayed inside and kept warm). But of course my personal highlight is always to do with food. We found Demel's chocolatiers on the first night. They had the most gorgeous selection of cakes I've ever seen. In 6 days, we visited there 7 times. It was so cold that you could only stay out for an hour or so and then had to retreat in for hot coffee. And we all know what goes well with coffee:

Growing up in Australia, Christmas Day meant 40 degree temperatures, wearing singlets and shorts around the pool and going to the beach. My father used to always say 'it doesn't feel like Christmas without snow and feeling cold'. I didn't know what he meant until now. When we walked out of our hotel on Christmas Day and headed out (probably to Demel's) snow flakes started falling on us. Real Christmas trees (not the plastic Australian K-mart ones) were all around us. Street side sellers were selling roasted chestnuts. An ice-skating rink was set up in the middle of the square with kids squealing in excitement as daggy 80's music played. And in the background were the Austrian alps glistening with gorgeous snow. Everything that I had seen in picture books when I was a child and then on the travel channel growing up.

We missed being back at home this year for the holiday season, but we could have not hoped for more of a perfect time than we had this week in Austria. A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!


Anonymous said...

wow, everything sounds lovely and so picturesque! Glad you and your husband had such a great Holiday!

Love the pictures...esp. of the hike view and icy cross!

Happy New Year!

erin :: the olive notes said...

OH MY GOSH, Monika...these photos are amazing! I'm sure even more so in person...glad you guys had such a wonderful time.

Happy New Year! :)

Leanne in Italy said...

Sounds like you had a great time. I've been to Austria and loved it too. I also get what you mean about having a cold christmas makes things feel more christmas like! In Australia I like that it is hot and we can go out and about, but there is a different atmosphere with an 'almost' white christmas.

Sue said...

Fantastic pictures Monika! I loved the one of the icy cross. What a sight!!

It's so great to hear that you had a nice visit. I can imagine how gorgeous it must have been with the snow falling, and the lights...oh, I wish I were there!

Glad to hear you are back safely. And Happy New Year to you!

Simone said...

The cross picture is amazing!

Mel said...

Hi Monika,
Just been reading your blog! You commented on mine a few weeks ago and I've been meaning to have a look at yours too. It's crazy how many of us expats are living in Florence - sometimes I think there must be more of us than actual Florentines!
I work in the Paperback Exchange if you happen to be passing by, come and say hi sometime!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Such gorgeous pleased you both had a brilliant time..your right about Coffee and Cake, but think I would do a little bit of walking first :-)

Chef Chuck said...

Great Photos!! The pastries look so good. That is one big beer, you seem to be glowing so well holding that beer! Yumm, must have tasted delish!!

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