Monday, December 31, 2012

When it's Silvester

You know you're in Vienna when… it's Silvester, and the eve of the new year.

"Prosit Neujahr!" in Vienna by Emil Stefanov

On this last day of the year, I have much to celebrate. My family is healthy, my life is full of love, and I have opportunities to learn and grow every day.  

The Austrians call New Years, Silvester - as it falls on Saint Sylvester's Day - and there is no better place to celebrate the new year than in Vienna. 

I can feel the energy rise this morning as the Viennese anticipate tonight's party. In Vienna on Silvester the whole city comes alive. Each marketplace, plaza, and square is a party. Stands and kiosks are erected to present music and food, and sell good luck charms. Lights and banners are strung along storefronts and across streets. Scents of sweet and savory treats fill the air.

New Year in Vienna - Nouvel an à Vienne by Gepat

It gets busy downtown as people gather to listen to music, drink Sekt - Austrian sparkling wine - and walk the narrow streets and wide plazas from party to party. There's pop, techno, and yes, waltz!

As midnight approaches the fireworks begin. The skies of the city come alive in a display of color, light, and sound.  I have never seen a city light up the way Vienna does on Silvester. Some say the Austrians light fireworks to chase evil spirits away.

It seems fitting to end this You know Your'e in Vienna When series on this last day of 2012. In the coming year I leave Vienna. It is bittersweet. I love this beautiful city, yet I am excited about discoveries that await.

So, here's to beginnings... Happy Silvester!

Links to You Know You're in Vienna When:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Eight Dublin Discoveries

Facade of the Royal City of Dublin Hospital

December is a busy month. Shopping for gifts. Planning trips to visit family and friends. Decking the halls. You get the idea. In the midst of all this busyness I went out into the world, and discovered Dublin, Ireland. There is much to love about Dublin - friendly people, lively music, great beer.  Here are some of my favorite discoveries in Ireland's capital city.

Red brick buildings

Red brick contrasts with Dublin's ever-changing skies. Wonderful patterns add texture.

Along Baggot Street

Red brick patterns

Colorful doors

Dubliners love to paint their doors bright colors. Some say they do it to find their way home after a long evening in the pub!

On Pembroke Road

Red doors at sunset

Double-decker public buses

Tall blue and yellow buses run along the thoroughfares of Dublin.

Dublin city bus

Afternoon tea

Dubliners love their tea, much more than coffee. Afternoon tea at the Shelbourne Hotel is a particular treat!

Get out from the cold and have a cup of tea!

Treats from the Lord Mayor’s Lounge

Street music

Live music is everywhere in Dublin - at the pub, in cafes and restaurants, and on the streets. I found jazz, rock, soul, and traditional Irish sounds on the avenues.

A band on Grafton Street


Pubs are everywhere too. Ireland may be in a recession, but the pubs are full, and you'll find at least a couple on every block!

O'Donoghue's on Merrion Row


And in the pubs there is Guinness - dark, rich, and oh so smooth.

Guinness everywhere!

I have no photo for the best discovery of all - the Irish people. If you get the chance, I encourage you to visit Dublin.

Now back to wrapping gifts... Happy Holidays!