Sunday, December 28, 2008


So Christmas pretty much came and went. Pete and I had dinner with a friend of mine and her family, and on Christmas day we finally got a good snow here in Graz, which made me pretty happy. This is the first time we have both been on vacation at the same time, so we are trying to figure out what to do with ourselves. Lots of eating, walking around, and eating again. We did manage to take one side trip and visited Tara in Prague last weekend. Prague is a really cool city, I was starting to think once you'd seen one eastern European city, you'd seen them all but Prague really impressed me. It helped that they were selling sausages the size of a toddler's arm for about a buck fifty and the goulash soup with dumplings was about four dollars. We did a lot of sightseeing, Tara took us all over Prague but we mainly hung out around the Christmas markets in the Old Town Square. On our last day in Prague, we took the train to Kutna Hora to check out the Bone Church, which is a church decorated with the bones of 40,000 plague victims. Pretty intense. And after stopping to have a drink in a "sports bar" blaring Sinead o'Connor and the Cranberries, we figured out that English doesn't do a person much good outside of the city. It was pretty much impossible to even order a beer. And despite a rocky trip home, (they had sold us a return ticket from a different train station in Prague but failed to mention that, thus we missed our train; luckily we managed to get on another train and made it home safe and sound) it was a really nice trip. It's good to be home though. Here are some photos from the Prague trip:


Hope everyone had a nice Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just Touched Down in London Town

So nothing as cool as the Krampus has happened over here. The weather has taken a drastic turn for the worse as well, lots of upper 30s with rain and sleet and fog. Pretty dismal. Pete arrived last week. I hopped a flight over to London and met up with him there where we did the whirlwind tour of London and then headed back to Graz. Ryanair gets more ridiculous every time I take it. I guess selling lottery tickets isn't enough, they also have to come up with a slick new theme song. I can't get over how awful it is. Take a listen:

I think my favorite line is "sweets, sweets, lots of goodies on the trolley for you, whatever it is that you need of us, the friendly cabin crew." You know, just in case that 10 dollar sandwich wasn't satisfying.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I quickly discovered that today is what I hope to be the creepiest holiday in Austria. (If it gets any creepier than this, I might have to come home.) Today is Krampus in Austria. Krampus is often depicted as a horned, shaggy, bestial, and demonic creature, complete with red skin, cloven hooves, and short horns. While St. Nicholas goes around rewarding the good children with nuts and fruit, Krampus runs around town carrying a switch with which he beats bad children. Some versions of Krampus carry chains and most have large belts with jangling metal and bells around their waists. It is absolutely terrifying. Groups of these Krampus creatures stampede around town scaring the living crap out of children. I saw one little girl screaming her head off and hiding after being charged by a Krampus. A friend of mine said when she was 6, a Krampus grabbed her, put her in a wagon and took her blocks away from her parents and dumped her there. Despite how terrifying it is, it is one of the most bizarre and exciting things I have seen in a long time. I have embedded a couple of videos so you can experience it for yourself. The first is a video of artist depictions of Krampus and the second is of the Krampus invasion of Graz last year.