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A Mountain Top Blessing

“How happy we are that we are here!” called out Father Miroslav. With his arms spread wide above the mountain-top altar he looked like a mountain eagle coasting on the alpine thermals. His rather beaky face made the image perfect, while his soft voice and Polish accent made the word ‘happy’ sound even happier. And […]

Virginia City Bonanza

Virginia City Bonanza

This sleepy little town of about 1,000 inhabitants lies nestled in the “hills” between Carson City and Reno in Nevada, USA. It is set literally on the Comstock Lode, the silver and gold mines that brought in a total of some $400 million in the mid 19th century and helped the North win the Civil […]

Tagebuch: December/January 2008/2009

Dear Diary, As an American, Thanksgiving is a holiday that I hold close to my heart. I’ve always preferred Thanksgiving to other holidays because it brought the togetherness of Christmas without the high-strung attitudes. Childhood memories of deep-fried turkeys and 12-gauge shot guns are always at the forefront of my mind in the late fall […]

Tagebuch: December/January 2008/2009

Dear Diary, I remember when my mom, my dad and I went to Switzerland for the first time. I was five years old, and we were driving in the oldest version of an old, noisy VW Golf, that always seemed on the verge of falling apart. We traveled at night, because the car overheated and […]

Transformation of a City

Transformation of a City

Suddenly it’s December: We emerge from the U-Bahn into the crisp night air, under a sky heavy with the promise of snow. Above the Graben, glimmering chandeliers dangle from the darkness, its vast space ablaze with light like an open-air ballroom. Left, along the Kohlmarkt, the pace quickens at the confectionary Demel, as pastel treats […]

Is Grinzing Doomed?

Is Grinzing Doomed?

Tour buses from around the world choke the narrow lanes of Grinzing, pouring out visitors heading for the carriage ways, where small pine branches hang above doorways, signaling that the inns are open for business. In the village of Grinzing, on the edge of the Woods in Vienna’s 19th District, the Heurigen-season appears to be […]

The Press Has a Ball

The Press Has a Ball

Sweeping up the red-carpeted stairs of the Vienna Rathaus for the Concordia Ball, arm in arm with my escort, we felt transported back to another age, the timeless era of gowns and gallants that lives on in the Viennese Ball tradition.  The magnificent gothic arches, pillars and chandeliers of the Rathaus that have been the […]

To the Heurigen

To the Heurigen

Sitting with friends at a long table outside under the old trees, absorbed in conversation, you sample this year’s wine as a light breeze brushes your face; or perhaps you sit inside surrounded by folksy furniture, devouring some traditional hearty Austrian food. You’re relaxed and mellow; time seems to have lost its hold. That’s what […]

Corpus Christi In Perchtoldsdorf

Community becomes theatre during the Corpus Christi (Fronleichnam) procession In the small town of Perchtoldsdorf, near Vienna, – which takes place 10 days after the rest of Austria and the world celebrate. Called Corpus Christi – the body of Christ, or Eucharist, that each Catholic can receive during the most important part of the mass […]

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