Early in December, I accompanied Tom to a Zurich conference in Madrid. There wasn't a lot of time for sightseeing, but we did see evidence of the upcoing Christmas holiday.
|probably prettier at night, but didn't see it then|
|Bryant Park - feeling tall|
|girl with snow globes in store window|
|the whole building is a present!|
I love the angels that line the walk up to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
I returned to Switzerland accompanied by Alicia.
Zurich is pretty at this time of year too.
|Swarovski tree at train station Christmas market|
|cow is always there - wings and presents are not|
On December 21, the three of us got on a plane and headed to Vienna. We had read that it has the best Advent celebration in Europe. I can't be sure that's true since I haven't been everywhere else, but it was pretty spectacular. The architecture is amazing - add holiday decorations and lights and it becomes magical.
We went to several Christmas markets. This one was in front of the Neues Rathaus (new townhall) - the building with spire in the background.
|an amazing variety of pretzels - some sweet and some savory|
|unknown liquor - I like the bottles|
|with our gluhwein (mulled red wine) - I feel short|
Here are some sights of the city all lit up.
|another building as a present|
|a shoe for Jenny - actually just for a mannequin and not for sale|
|St. Stephens Cathedral|
|inside of cathedral!|
|Schonbrunn - the summer palace - with market in front|
|view of market from inside|
The Austrian royal family traveled in style! The last one is for a (very pampered) child.
Schonbrunn is known for having the first zoo in the world. Doesn't look like a typical zoo to me.
Here are some animals to prove that it is a zoo:
|penguins for Sarah|
|Alicia's favorite: red panda|
Vienna is also one of the few places in the world where Giant Pandas are found.
Vienna, the city of music. We had to go to a concert. Even if we didn't already have tickets purchased in advance, we had numerous opportunities to buy from the costumed ticket hawkers on the street. Our concert included something for everyone: string ensemble, piano, vocalists, dancers and humor!
|venue for the concert we attended - 3rd row seats|
|another beautiful building|
Pictures were prohibited and sadly, I did not take a picture of the photography police. I waited until the last portion of the performance to take pictures. I didn't think they'd bother throwing me out then!
|the opera house by night|
We took a guided tour of the interior of the opera house.
|former private intermission room for emperor - still available for rent if you can afford it|
|Nutcracker was being performed|
|statue of Empress Maria Theresa|
Hotel Rathaus Wein & Design offered a very comfortable home for two nights. They featured Austrian wines which we taste-tested. We even lucked out by getting two adjacent rooms for the price of one family room. No arguments from us.
So Christmastime is about over, but we did have fun experiencing it in many places. The local Horgen Christmas will be the subject for another entry as this is already too long.