We ushered in the Christmas season in Graz with lots of mulled wine, Christmas markets, cookies and home-cooked dinners with friends.
A particularly interesting Austrian tradition is the Krampuslauf, which is a parade where (mostly intoxicated) men dress up in the most terrifying Krampus outfits and masks. The Krampus is the arch-nemesis of Saint Nicholas. According to Germanic folklore, they punish children who have misbehaved. During Krampuslauf, these masked-demons parade down the steets of towns and cities, scaring the living daylights out of people, both young and old, occasionally even hitting innocent bystanders. In Graz, it was pretty tame. I was honestly a little afraid, which was why I stood further back. However, Alex told us that in Lienz, Krampuslauf can quickly get out of hand, with participants ending up in the hospitals. An interesting watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcCwJL-1fUU
There are many Christmas markets all around the city. The main one is at Hauptplatz. After Krampuslauf, we climbed up Schloßberg to visit another. It was beautiful, more so than the one at Hauptplatz in my opinion. I bet it has something to do with the warm glow of the Christmas lights, the smell of waffles and the beautiful ornaments.
Weihnachtsmarkt on Schloßberg
Der Grazer Uhrturm
We used to host friends at our humble abode for dinner quite often. It was something we all looked forward to and really enjoyed. Cooking has never been so fun!
6 nationalities at dinner – Pakistani, Canadian, Mexican, Taiwanese, Singaporean, Austrian
What is Christmas without Christmas cookies? This was my first time being away from home during Christmas. Christmas is a big thing in my family. We put up the Christmas tree, we give and receive presents, we bake cookies and we have dinner together. It is truly my favourite holiday! I thought I wouldn’t get homemade cookies, but I did!
Kathi’s mum sent some over, and they were delicious, every single one of them! Look how pretty they are!
Another Christmas treat I got for myself – Milka chocolates in Saint Nicholas and Krampus form!
Us, crazy people, wandering down Herrengasse
Herrengasse with Christmas lights
Everyone dreams of a white Christmas. Snow came pretty late, but I was so happy to see beautiful snow in Graz before I left. I woke up one day, and found that my balcony and the chair I had left outside were covered in snow.
Snow in Graz
On our last day of German lessons, the whole class met at the Christmas market on Hauptplatz for drinks.
My German class
Have I ever mentioned that I did pretty well in German class? I really wanted to continue in Singapore, but the classes here are so expensive. I just love the language!
I forced Alex to smile, with teeth this time.
Surprise Lebkuchenherzen from Julie
Julie surprised me with this in my mail. I was so happy, I hung it up at my study table and Instagrammed it immediately!
Frohes Fest everybody (3 months in advance)! Am I the only one who can’t wait for Christmas? 🙂