Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Chronicles of Christmas: A Pleasant Day In Klagenfurt

The Chronicles of Christmas:
A Pleasant Day in Klagenfurt

One rainy day (December 26th) we decided to go out for a bit of a walk around town since we were all tired of being cooped up inside. While back in Canada people are up in the early hours getting ready to start their boxing day shopping, all the shops in Austria are closed for the holidays leaving the perfect opportunity to explore the sights.

Even with a population of 90,000, Klagenfurt still has the atmosphere of a small town where everyone seems know each other...or maybe it just looked that way to me because my Uncle Markus seemed to know everyone we passed. This is mostly because he is a famous artist in the area and does most of the rod iron work around town.

We got the chance to stop by his workshop earlier in the week as he needed to pick up some supplies and I was able to see some of his artwork. I am constantly baffled by how much talent runs in my family! Clearly I never got any of the musical or artistic talent but I like to think that I am talented in other ways. Okay that sounded really racy; that is not what I meant. Get your mind out of the gutter! I meant that I am least that's what my mom tells me...

Anyway, back to what I was saying...

So we walked around town, and I was given a full blown history tour about the city. I really wish I could relay the history lesson onto you but to be honest, I don't remember much and I know if I attempted to tell you I would get most of the facts wrong so I'm not going to bother.

But there was one particular piece of history that fascinated me and it had to do with this famous statue that sits directly in the middle of the city. The statue portrays the infamous legend that surrounds the city of the mythical Lindwurm.
"Legend has it that Klagenfurt was founded after a couple of brave men had slain the abominable "Lindwurm", a winged dragon in the moors adjoining the lake, the staple diet of which is said to have been virgins." (Source: Wikipedia)
I mean what is better than a virgin eating dragon? Absolutely nothing! Although it is said to have been a couple of brave men who slain the dragon, the statue portrays the infamous Heracles as the dragonslayer.

Ahh mythology at it's finest!

After walking around town for a bit we decided to stop inside a modern art museum to escape the rain and check out the local art. Now I have a huge appreciation for art and usually love going to art galleries, but this one...well it sucked. I am not a huge fan of modern art as I prefer the intricate details and passion put into all the historical artwork that really seem to be lacking in most contemporary pieces. To be fair there were some good pieces but there were also a load of crappy pieces. Most that were overly pretentious and to put it bluntly, absolute Schei├če (I'll let you figure out what that means...).

Take for example this 'work of art'. Do you not see the time and effort this artist took to assemble this piece? It must have taken hours! To any normal person it just looks like a plain frame with nothing inside of it...but I assure you it is much, much more!

Ugh, there are no words.

But the trip there wasn't all that bad...we did find these cute children's chairs to sit in and pose for the camera.

Yeah okay, the museum was that bad. 

After the terrible art exhibit we decided to head over to this Italian restaurant to eat some deep dish pizzas (as food was the only way to get the awful artwork off our minds). The food was so good, but more importantly, the beer was top class. I had my first pint of genuine Austrian beer (Klagenfurt's finest) and it was absolutely wonderful! Definitely beats all the crap beer I have consumed while living in the United Kingdom.

So far Austria and Germany have definitely lived up to their reputation of having good quality beer, unfortunately Great Britain cannot say the same. Ugh, if I have to have one more pint of Fosters I am going to be sick! 

After a delicious meal we took a drive to the seaside and walked along the water to Maria Loretto Castle. Since it was the day after Christmas and everything was pretty much closed except restaurants, we weren't able to go inside the castle but we did go for hot chocolate at the cafe next to it. 

This cafe was probably one of my favourites on the trip because of the way it was decorated. While I didn't see any Santa Claus's anywhere in the Christmas Markets or shops, I found an excess in this tiny cafe. It was decorated head to toe in cheesy Christmas decorations. There were santa claus's, frosty the snowmen and rudolphs everywhere, even the classic Mariah Carey All I Want For Christmas Is You was playing. Best of all, the seats were embellished with fabric likely to be found at a granny's house (ie. Paisley EVERYWHERE). It was so kitschy, and yet so awesome!

Side note: My mother is obsessed with snowmen and during the holidays our house is completely littered with frosty's.

We have snowmen candles/candle holders, snowmen ornaments, snowmen decorations, snowmen wrapping paper...the list goes on!

We even have this snowman cookie jar that has absolutely terrifyingly creepy eyes. It was so unnerving looking at it that we decided to make a pair of makeshift glasses out of tape so we didn't have to feel like it was starring at us and sending judgemental glances every time we reached into the jar to snag a cookie (or a mom makes really good Christmas cookies). 

You see, my mom cannot pass by anything that looks like a snowman without buying it. It's her own personal vice.

She insists that every snowman is happy and you can't have an unhappy snowman. We tried to convince her that the cookie jar snowman was creepy but she wasn't having it. Now why is this tangent relevant you ask? Well at this tiny quaint cafe, I found a snowman that almost surpasses the cookie jar creepiness. Mom, if you don't find this snowman creepy, than I give up on humanity! *shudder

Later at night I went out with my cousins to a Mexican Bar to have happy hour cocktails. Except happy hour in Klagenfurt is at 11pm, which is quite odd but well worth it because during this time we can get massive cocktails for a cheap price.

I mean look at this colossal pina colada! You cannot say no to this :)

Well...unless you are an alcoholic, and if this is the case I strongly advise you to just say no!

I had such a lovely time visiting family during my stay in Austria and even though I have been there for almost a month, the time has flown by so fast. Unfortunately, it is now time for me to fly back to the UK so I have to leave all my lovely family behind to welcome back the grey skies and rain.

In the next post I go to Salzburg, born my flight (while making a complete fool out of myself) and then arrive in big beautiful London where I explore the city with my mate Vino. Stay tuned for that!

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