Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Gift of Holy Night, Christmas Day and the holidays

We arrived in Sterzing on December 23rd.  Nadja left the key for us and we entered the newly built apartment and found ourselves amazed.  The view from the kitchen and the heating system are equally astonishing.  In the picture below - the house "oven" is the gray and silver box that about a little larger than a cubic meter in the wall; 2 pieces of wood heats the house for the day.  The floors are heated from hot air that circulates through specially designed pipes in the foundation.  Except for the astonishing view of the Alps, the apartment looked like a modern New York loft.  The vision of the past (Afers and Wegis Hof) to the future (Nadja's new home) overwhelmed us.
Hans (Nadja's father), Nadja and Joni at the fondue dinner on Holy Night
On the 24th, Nadja and I trimmed the tree -- red and silver with white candles.  Later we visited the Christmas Market in Sterzing with a few packages in tow.  The highlight of the day would our family dinner (fondue!) with Nadja, Merko, Hans, Martina, Arnold, Iliona and their two children - Ian and Ivey.  Following this very warm and friendly meal was opening gifts.  The modesty that Peter and Nadja promised was not apparent.  We received amazing gifts of food from South Tyrol and European culture (tickets to the New Year's Day concert in Salzburg!)
Nadja and Martina lighting the sparklers on the tree (the candles are already lit)
Nadja and Peter
On the 26th, Nadja and Merko left for a 3 week trip to Vietnam - we traveled to Afers for a short visit with Emma and research for Peter.  Our last night included a performance of Die Fledermaus in Brixen.  The music of Johann Strauss was beautiful, the story (as always)- ridiculous.  Amazing to have been there!
We arrived in Erlstätt on December 30th.  Ushi - the housekeeper - had totally cleaned the apartment since we had both ended up with the stomach bug before leaving and had no time to clean.  Every corner, every cobweb has been subdued and the place has been put to order.  She even ironed the bed linens made the pillows stand at attention.  She has been hired for the duration.  What a relief!

New Year's Eve was a present to me -- "the outside looking in."  We reserved New Year's Eve dinner at the Stiftskeller St. Peter and while it was a lovely setting, exquisite menu, ridiculously expensive, and highly desired ... it reminded me that I would prefer to prepare an intimate meal on New Year's Eve with true friends.  Yet - unless I had experienced it, I would have always wondered if "there was something better. " Now I know differently.  I might not be able to replicate the fireworks but I can certainly improve on the meal.  The music provided between the courses was very good (selections from Le Nozze Di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Die Zauberflöte) with a nice rendition of Queen of the Night sung by soprana, Rutana Calugarescu. (Ah ha a ah a) A nod to Joanne and Jim Lynagh - I cannot improve on your New Year's celebration!
Dressed in our "Glad Rags" for New Year's
Our dining room in Stiftskeller St. Peter, Salzburg
NEW YEAR'S DAY -this was different from the night before.  We arrived home at 3 am and slept until 10 am.  A pleasant bread and coffee breakfast was followed by dressing for the day.  Arrived at Marianne's at noon - lamb, beans, potato cakes and beautiful dessert -- card playing friends --- an artist, Charlotte, and Melanie joined us.  Little pigs all around.  Departed for Salzburg at 1:50 pm -- arrived in time for the concert.  AMAZING.  Be envious of this -- (not of the dinner the night before) -- I would do this every year for the rest of my life --- concert on the afternoon of New Year's Day.  Fabulous.  Elisabeth Fuchs is the conductor -- Schostakowitsch - Jazz Suite Nr. 2 - and Orff's Carmina Burana - with 3 full choirs!
Life is sweet!
Marianne's New Year's Day table
I took this picture after the performance - not during

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