So this was Christmas

Finally the merry season is over! After an abundance of parties and other occasions which called for “excessive” drinking, we have now arrived shortly before New Year’s Eve. Which is great, comes with the new year not only a fresh start but also some new resolutions. The one from last year I achieved in May and then it all went downhill sportswise. Sorry to admit, but $#*! happens. It was wonderful to reach my self-imposed goal, only next time or rather next year I should keep on going. Better aim higher, already Nike said to just do it!

Whatever the costs to my waistline though, I had a wonderful December. Full of parties and lovely dinners. Not so many pictures though, I find that I tend to forget to take some when the spirits are high. The party season reached its peak with a surprise birthday party on the 25th, after that my body and mind demanded some down time. Which it got the last couple of days while doing exactly nothing at all. Here are some pictures though from the merry season, just looking at them reminds me of the fun times I had.003007IMG_9141IMG_9107

One more party and then the slim season is starting. Not much to celebrate in January (and I apologize to all the ones who have their birthday then; it is miserable month), just a straggler with an anti-Christmas party which is very much welcome this time of year. Du to the slim party pickings I have to concentrate on something else and settled on getting in shape again. With which I started yesterday by taking a walk through the city. I know you thought I would start with full power, but I like to ease into it. Here are some pictures from my excursion into the city before I settled in front of the tv again. Vienna with the first snow of the season.IMG_9124IMG_9125IMG_9126IMG_9129

I wish you all a Happy New Year and a blast while celebrating the end of the old year.
Yours, Pollybert

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Ireland at its best

Upon our arrival in the village of Howth again we were walking towards the church when Andrea noticed a small delicatessen shop and right away made a detour.IMG_8542The shop was indeed a treasure trove of all things Irish; all three of us fell upon the products like starving maniacs (which we were) and bought an armful of delicacies. But these delicacies are now in my home and already on Monday night I tried the first of three different cheeses. And I can’t wait for Christmas to eat the pudding with brandy butter!

With full bags we entered this old-looking church which we had seen from above and were astonished to see it carpeted and heated inside. That makes for some cozy church going.Handy 747

Just half a block down from the store was a restaurant that looked inviting right away. After a peek at the menu we settled on this one. Maybe our experience from the morning when we walked for a while and couldn’t settle on anything, finally ending up in cafĂ© with almost nothing to eat, taught us something? And you know what? It was the perfect place!

With The House we picked a distinguished restaurant that has been successful for years. Something you can see right away when you enter.IMG_8544IMG_8545IMG_8555

While Franz and I studied the menu, Andrea found us an Austrian wine to drink. It can’t get better than this. The Loimer “Lois” Kamptal went excellent with the fresh seafood and fish we ordered. When looking at the pictures now, I am not sure if Franz got asked but Andrea looks perfectly happy with her choice.IMG_8543IMG_8546

From the first I tended to the mussels and Andrea to the seafood chowder while Franz was undecided; in the end he settled for another Irish breakfast which looked delicious. Actually everything we ordered at this place not just looked delicious but also tasted so!IMG_8547IMG_8548IMG_8549IMG_8550
This was the best Irish meal we had so far. And although we were all happy and full we glanced at the dessert menu and of course we found something to try. Andrea and I wanted the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and Franz tried an apple crumble.

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I forgot to take the pictures right away. Both dishes looked so yummy that we had to dig in first. After coffee and a digestive we felt ready to face the road again. If you are ever in the area, go and see this place.IMG_8554IMG_8558

The road was not so long anymore but we still wanted to see the light house. And it gets dark very early here in November. Around 4:30 already I would guess. And since we wanted to take some more pictures, we had to hurry. As you can see when we came back to the harbor it was low water.IMG_8564IMG_8570IMG_8571IMG_8566

And then it was already time to say goodbye to Howth and take the DART back to Dublin.IMG_8576

On the way back we had already figured out how the train system worked and got off at Pearse station which was near Trinity College. While being there the day before we saw some things we wanted to buy at the Book of Kells store. Why we didn’t do that, I really don’t know. Point is, we went back and then the store was already closed for the day. So something else for us to do on Sunday. By now we were dead tired and all I wanted to do was to lie down for an hour. Perfect plan for everyone, we did just that and decided to regroup at 8pm again.

When we met later nobody was hungry, so dinner was out of the question. Since it was Saturday night what better to do than go for a beer. And the Temple Bar district seemed like the place to be for us. Off we went in search of a good bar and got almost slain by the amount of people crowding the streets, the bars and pubs in the area. There was not one place we wanted to enter. We finally went into The Auld Dubliner, a place that had been recommended to me. Two steps inside we turned around on our heels and walked back outside. We had entered right next to the musician and I thought my ear drum had blown. Around the corner was another entrance where we tried again. Franz walked right out again while Andrea and I braved the masses and the noise and got us some beer. Guinness again for all of us, what an amazing beer!

With the beer in hand we took up place in front of the bar where all the smokers met. It couldn’t have been a better place to check out the locals. I love people watching and eavesdropping on conversations especially when a guy tries to land a girl. And if said guy is drunk and the girl sober, all the more hilarious. Really has a lot of comic appeal.

But this fun keeps you warm only so long and after a while we decided to head to a warmer place. We ended up at F. X. Buckley, a steakhouse with a bar on top which had the added advantage of being right around the corner from our hotel. No more beer for us though, we had moved on the G&T. I really like how the storeroom was incorporated in the bar.IMG_8582IMG_8583

Some of you might know this feeling that when you stay out long enough, eventually you get hungry again. So what should I tell you, this happens to the best of us. Such a convenience that next door was a take away Indian place called Siri. We headed there for a late night snack and were surprised how good it tasted!IMG_8586

Sure enough we were up for a night-cap again. Since it was our last night in Dublin there was no point in going to bed early. In regards to the hour we expected our bar to be quiet, but far from it. The place was packed and jamming. Someone had his 65th birthday party in there and the dance floor was rocking. So what were we to do than dance as well and enjoy the party?
Yours, Pollybert

So this was Christmas

I spent the month of December going out a lot but during all this time I was also thinking about you! I was taking lots of pictures of the seasonal decoration downtown so that everyone around the world can enjoy our lovely Vienna at its best!

20131231-122149.jpg A coffee cup made out of little lights shows best what Vienna stands for: tradition!

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During the holidays I also spent a couple of hours with my niece and we walked around the city and just had to stop at the Demel.

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And here by far the best Christmas cookies, all done by my mum!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Mine was lovely. Yours, Pollybert

The merry season in Vienna Part III

As I might have mentioned in an earlier post the month before Christmas is a socially busy time. Just a couple of days after the book club meeting, I met some other friends (including the indispensable Cat) for an early ‘Merry Christmas’ wishing. We met at Figls (a place I cannot recommend for dining) which is right in the middle of where we all live but also because our usual go-to place in the area was totally booked.

As you can see from the draped coats and shawls we had a drafty table. The food was as usual so-so and I think that one can eat there only the fried stuff. Still we had an enjoyable evening and were happy to get together in this constellation shortly before Christmas. It’s not so easy for the mothers in our group to find some time (Ok, just a joke. Usually I am the one who is super busy).

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We called it an early night, apparently not just I was exhausted from all the partying. Still we found the time to take some pictures in full winter outfit.

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Even though we were both wearing a beanie, there is no winter happening in Vienna right now. So far no snow and mostly foggy. So when I left Vienna a couple of days later for my company’s Christmas party in Upper Austria I thought we had arrived in winter wonderland.

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I have no pictures from the Christmas party, I was too busy to talk to all my colleagues and to stay out of harm’s way (aka the alcohol. Never mix business with pleasure. Ok, that sounds weird as if alcohol gives me pleasure. Better strike that).

The next morning we left for Vienna again and in the afternoon I had another traditional meeting with friends. Always before Christmas we meet at Meinl am Graben (sorry, only available in German) for Champagne and gossip. I love traditions!! This year we welcomed our young member Felix for the first time, the other youngster couldn’t make it due to some serious case of grumpiness.

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After a quick stop at the Kameel (see Part II) we ended the evening on the rooftop of the Hotel Lamee. Besides a very drinkable mulled wine the rooftop offers an unbeatable view over Vienna.

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Thank God for another relatively early night because Saturday we had a birthday dinner and I was lucky enough to get the seat right next to the girl! I don’t know where the haze is coming from, it almost looks like in David Hamilton movie. While all the other girls moved on to another party, we both had enough for the night and stayed on for some more drinks. Check out these delicious looking Ginger Cosmopolitan and Thai Daiquiri!

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I used Sunday to relax a bit, visiting family, taking a HIIT class and then just hitting a pub with friends. Monday on the other hand was again very busy. I took some me-time and started the day with a quiet breakfast at Motto am Fluss. I love to spend time on my own with a book and a cup of coffee.

Then some last minute shopping had to be done and later in the afternoon I had an invitation to some more mulled wine. This invitation was just the overture for the rest of the evening. We left around and headed to another party with a short stop at the Christkindlmarkt

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From the market we made our way to the annual Christmas party of a pub/restaurant that I frequent only for Christmas. In earlier years it was always jam-packed but this year it seemed kind of empty. Still we enjoyed the last evening before Christmas together and had a merry time.

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And with this last picture I leave you for today. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are now enjoying some quiet time! Yours, Pollybert