Our two week Workaway in southern Austria in the middle of November was truly a blessing. We stayed in the small town of Millstatt with a wonderful couple from England, helping to look after their two sweet cats while they were visiting England.
As Christmas season approached, we were excited to check out the local traditions and festivities. Our hosts told us about an Advent Walk nearby. Only about a 30 minute drive from the house, in a ski resort town called Katschberg, we experienced one of the most magical nights of my life.
While there was no snow in Millstatt, as soon as we got up to Katschberg, we were surrounded by it. To get to the start of the advent walk in the woods, we took a quick shuttle up to the starting point. With our lack of German language skills, we ended up getting into a horse-drawn carriage for more money than we would normally spend on such an adventure - but I absolutely do not regret that. As the horses pulled us through the snow-filled trail, there were Christmas lights scattered around the trail, shaped into beautiful Christmas-time objects such as angels, sleds, and presents.
When we got to the main starting point of the trail, we enjoyed the sounds of the Alpine horns by the fire as we sipped on a cup of gluhwein (hot mulled wine). The sun had just set and the sky was turning dark blue. There were only a few flickering lights in the distance coming from the huts along the Advent Way trail. We got our tickets and bought our thermal mug to fill up with hot spiced tea.
Along the way, there were stops to listen to traditional Austrian Christmas music as well as a few huts to stop in along the way. In one of them and a sweet young lady told us an Austrian Christmas fairy tale. In another, I tried to sing along to the Austrian Christmas songs :-) We got a few refills of tea and munched on some gingerbread cookies before making it to the final point of the Advent Trail - the nativity scene.
We headed back to the starting point of trail and had some dinner in a cozy pub. Our 40 minute walk back to the parking lot was as cold as it can get but we (or at least Simi :-)) sang along the way and made it back in one piece.
We had some time to explore the nearby area, including seeing our first Austrian Christmas Market and the annual Krampus procession.
thanksgiving in Germany with our friends Carlos and Emma.