Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Graz Update, Nov. 20

Hello! Greetings from Austria.
It's snowing here now. Yes, this picture (taken last week) shows some snow on the top of the mountains north of here, but it is literally snowing outside, right this minute. Not a serious snow. It's the kind of snow that sticks to cars and grassy areas, but sidewalks and roads stay wet but basically clear. Very pretty, from inside with the windows closed... Most of the rest of Austria has gotten a tremendous amount of snow this week, and although complaining about the weather is as much a national pastime here as anywhere else, people generally seem pretty content, that it's snowing. All is right in the world, more or less. The Christmas markets open up this week, and a little snow goes a long way toward making it all seem seasonal and appropriate. The roasted chestnut vendors are out in full force, the ice cream vendors have closed up shop... it must be just about winter.
It's been a while since we sent an update, and it's mostly because we're boring. Greg continues to work very hard solving the mathematical mysteries of the universe, and Holly has been painting and working on a very, very bad novel for National Novel Writing Month. German for non-native speakers class continues twice a week, and the most exciting thing to happen in the last month was buying a full-size dictionary. (Whee!....) They were roused from their boring-ness by Regan's visit, which was divided between seeing bits of Graz and bits of Vienna. We tried a bunch of new restaurants, and saw some fantastic sights and architecture.
As usual, any-excuse-to-try-random-foods.... The chocolate bar pictured here had a layer of tomato and olive paste between some fine milk chocolate. It was better than you'd think. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it was actually good. We didn't make it out to the Zotter production facility, which is about an hour east of here, but they're apparently very nice people. Holly traded some email with them, about how to best get there without a car. They advised letting the bus driver know where we were headed, so he could let us off directly in front of the door. We'll get there eventually... Here's their web site, there is probably a list of the many odd flavors of chocolate, possibly even in English: http://www.zotter.at/4.html

And, of course, pastries. Like the Weichseltorte, a sour-cherry and chocolate mouse arrangement. The Konditerei that made this had a foil-wrapped truffle bigger than a basketball showcased in the stairwell, and a number of fantastically complicated cakes in the cases, and in the stairwell (is this a traditional place to display cakes??) No pictures of all those, but it's really just a sly excuse to go back there sometime. You know... to take pictures of the pastries... yeah, that's it. It's not just to get another prize from the torte case...
Pictured, graffiti of the week. From an enormous series of murals down by the river, under a bridge. There were quite a lot of graffiti pictures taken this week, if you want to see them, go to Flickr and look at this photo set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53178937@N00/sets/72157603223640112/
If you have problems with Flickr, do please email us and we'll help you get into it. The pictures should be available to you, whether you have a Flickr login or no. We've been forced to move away from Photobucket, because there's too much hourglass and not enough displaying of photos. (In fact, we haven't been able to get Photobucket to accept new photos for a while.) Anyway, all our earlier photos are still there, but they'll be in Flickr in the future. A fancy alley down in the Graz old-town. Nothing really to say about this, except it took a surprisingly long time to get the shot with not many people in it (there's just two or three...)
This is another example of the Austrian concept of "salad"... a big pile of meat and onions, propped up by a tiny amount of lettuce. (Don't worry vegetarians, Austria has vegetarian food. We haven't *tried* any of it, but it's here. It's still a little surprising to see it is necessary to designate "vegetarian salad" on a menu...

That's about it for now. Happy Thanksgiving, have some turkey dinner for us, since it's not a holiday here...

-Holly & Greg

3 comments:

gregvw said...

Mmmm, salad.

Rufus said...

Just out of curiosity, do Germans unhinge their jaws when they eat?

Holly said...

Nope. Ever watched a crab eat an entire dead fish the size of its body? Just one bite at a time, is all.