Christmas in Vienna

Ron and I took one of my students, Balazs, to Vienna for the day. He is my unofficial Teaching Assistant and is continually looking for work from us to keep him busy. He is over here whenever we need something translated. Many times, he will stop by just to be social. It amazes me how many hours he can spend with me a day and then later call and see if I want to go for a coffee with him. He is the most determined student I have ever met, who wants to perfect his English. He even makes his roommate speak to him only in English, though his roommate is Hungarian. He really is a delight to be around. We both enjoy him immensely. Sunday morning, the three of us met with Lynn the Fulbrighter and off we went to Keleti train station for our great adventure to Vienna. Our train was at 9:10 and we found our reserved seats in a smoking compartment since all of us smoke. Ron, Lynn, and Balazs played Scrabble on the way and I read my book. Neither of them had been to Vienna before and we have been there dozens of times, so it was exciting to see it through their eyes. Our mission was to see the Christmas markets and decorations more than the sights. We arrived a little past noon, the sun was shining brightly, and the sky was clear. We found the first street market within minutes of our arrival. We putzed and puttered at the booths and then decided to stop at a restaurant for lunch. We knew that hot wine was waiting for us back outside, so we just had a snack rather than a meal. When we bought our wine, the man let us skip paying the 2 Euro deposit on the mugs since I told him we promised to return them. Across from where we were standing, there was a clown making balloon animals. Balazs and Lynn were joking about wanting one and after fifteen minutes, the clown came over to Lynn. He started hitting on her and told her that he does not meet to many women his size or shorter. He made her a dog balloon in pink. We took them to two of the palaces on the outside. There were Christmas fairs at both. Our public transport was included in our train ticket fee, so we covered lots of territory walking or by taking trams. By the time we needed to head back to the last train at 8:00 pm, we were tired, but feeling fulfilled. It was an excellent day filled with laughs and merriment with good people. Who could ask for more at the holidays?These are Ron’s pictures.