Sunday, December 26, 2010

Villach Lights

Villach, an Austrian town just north of Slovenia and Italy, is about a four-hour drive from Vienna. We arrived on a rainy evening to find the lovely village decked out in festive lights for the holidays.

The clock tower is a dramatic shaft of lights:

McDonald's has a pretty tree made of snowflake-shaped lights:

Lights along the Drava River:

Artsy lights provide a changing light show on a riverfront building:

While the Christmas market had closed for the evening, the punch stands were still open and hopping:

One very, very, very large tree:

Another tree in a different plaza reflected in the cobblestones:

Villach's ice skating rink:

Decorations near one of the parking garages:

Friday, December 24, 2010


These razor-wire wreaths contrast the hope and goodwill of the season with the reality that there are still some people who choose to do harm. May peace and kindness and even merriment prevail.

This photo was taken on a recent foggy evening at the Vienna International Center.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Manners for All

One of Austria's most beloved products, in addition to Red Bull, Sacher Torts and Swarovski crystals, is Manner cream-filled wafer cookies. Delicious!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Everyone is Decorating

Seasonal decorations are popping up all over Vienna, from this Ninja snowman...

To a wreath on a trash can...

And orderly pom-poms...

To spaceship trees...

And paper doily trees...

To sleek facades with minimalist trees....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Schönbrunn's Christmas Market

It's always a pleasure to visit Schönbrunn, the Hapsburg's summer palace, and this time of year the front plaza is the site of one of Vienna's many Christmas markets. First, a peak at the grand Gloriette pavilion which crowns the hill in the palace's backyard.

Part of the ornate front gate:

A newly renovated wing of the palace near the front entrance:

The word is out about the great Christmas city that Vienna has become. The entire city is full of tourists now and Schönbrunn's market is a popular destination for tour groups. Today, there were probably a dozen tour buses parked in front of the palace, meaning the huts were doing good business.

Among the many items for sale, these snowglobes have been manufactured in Vienna since 1900:

The market features an assortment of hand painted glass ornaments:

Handmade papers and books:


Glassware etched with hearts and flowers:

Traditional Austrian metal ornaments:

Pop-up paper doll sets:

Paper ornaments:

Ceramic butterflies and flowers:

Beeswax candles:

And all kinds of food and drinks:

I had a baked potato laden with garlic cream sauce. Delicious!

The angle of this shot makes this pretzel vendor look like he has a huge bow on his head:

A few tartan ornaments:

A fancy carriage ornament:

The U-Bahn tracks to take us home:

Friday, December 17, 2010

The New Lights on Wollzeille

As I've said before, Vienna really knows how to decorate for Christmas. If you use the Google search box to the right and enter "Christmas" you'll see links to lots of Vienna at Christmas photos I took in years past. I hope now to show you different photos rather than repeat prior scenes, so please check last year's posts; I wouldn't want you to miss seeing some of Vienna's beautiful decorations. It seems every year there are more decorations and this year Wollzeille, one of the streets that leads from the Ringstrasse toward Stephansplatz, has a zillion new lights.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Curves and Diamonds

The unusual architecture of Vienna's Austria Center provides some unusual curves and diamond shapes.