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This is the color of winter in Eastern Europe. We would have stayed inside all day if we could have — after all we were living out the winter holiday season — but we were content to have left the house.

It was muddy and windy, and the weather sang to us. It was… surprisingly magical.


Slovakian turf is sandy and uneven, and the architecture antique,with remnants of communism here. Here is a glimpse of the landscape surrounding Modra, Slovakia, a small town an hour northeast of Bratislava in the foothills of the Lower Alps.

I saw these paper ornaments on one of the paper/design blogs I subscribe to, and though to myself, “Self, I’m going to make some of these!” I wish I could provide a link to the design, but I’m sure with a little research, you can find it via Google.

We were trying to find a living tree that didn’t have to die just because we wanted it in our house — or a plant that could have done the job instead — in order to be more ecologically conscious in our being.

Unfortunately we didn’t prevail, so we got a very little tree.

Some of the ceramics at the Schönnbrunn Weihnachtsmarkt, that made its way from Poland, was especially enjoyable. It made its way further to a cozy spot under our tree.

It has been decided that fewer gifts under the tree means that each one is more valuable in memory.

Winter solstice is near.

Sometimes, I forget to enjoy the view. Not today. When it snows like this I want the world to pause, and forget the daily grind.

An old gardener once told me that Holly plants should be planted in “couples,” a male and a female next to each other, and this should make the plants thrive and grow much better, maybe especially through the cold season. It makes sense, doesn’t it …?

Notice the girl dancing on the left — that’s what I was doing when I wasn’t taking these pictures.

There’s something about snow and soft, lit streets that makes you want to jump around and dance with the movements of nature; this time it was snowflakes moving sideways across the landscape.

In the end, it wasn’t an enormous amount of snow — very light, dry flakes — but enough to bring out that good wintertime feeling that can accompany it.

It feels good to just go out for a walk and take a fresh, deep breathe of the season.

Photos taken at Karlsplatz in Vienna, Austria.


It was so cold, it almost hurt…

Shortly after this photo was taken, we saw a wild boar come out of the woods on the right. After that, a hunter came driving down the road on the left, and told us that we shouldn’t have jumped over the fence, because there were hunters out here, and it was dangerous.


Graben, Vienna — Saturday evening lent itself quite easily to the bustle of the season, though it was cold.

Although managing to move from point A to point B in such a crowd proved particularly difficult, the atmosphere and attitudes were warm.

On the streets, musicians, from Eastern rock-mockers, and flamenco Christmas-music makers, to the classic accordion-fiddle duo, as well as regular artists, all added to the cheerful setting. Those ‘statue’ people were a-plenty, and seemed to stand abnormally still — perhaps due to the chilling -1°C temperature.

Heading northwest down the Graben takes you to a delightful Weihnachtsmarkt am Hof, where the stalls’ goods are antique or handcrafted, or both.

The only set back was a few of the elbow-wide types, but that should be expected this time of year.

After an exhausting week at work, we’re back to the motions of normal life and regular blog posting. Let’s just say we’re blessed to have made it through it, and thankful for being where we are.

But now, we must decide which road to take…

Our options look like this — how to celebrate the coming of a new season, a new year, and all the wonderful things therein.

It’s the first weekend in December, but I’m not buying it…

We thought it would be an an afternoon that would beseech scarfed walks and hot wine, called varené víno in the Slavic part of the world. It started with two open windows and the sun shining bright and crisply with the morning, and we ended up stepping out into a warm day.

The serene, unmoving, medieval town is Český Krumlov, in the South Bohemian Region of Česká republika and it is as if entering into the land of a fable.  It wasn´t difficult to be reminded of making room in ones heart for quiet, and also for anticipation.

When you’ve had such a great day, you welcome the end of the night.

There we were, kilometers from nowhere. Having just crossed over a pass into the Czech Republic, we stretched to the cobblestone street and awed at the scene the 13th century, stone buildings created in this red-roofed village.

Certainly there will be a few more photographs and details of the adventure to come!