Winter is Coming

Or in the case of Vienna, winter has already arrived. After some lovely sleet on Saturday night, it snowed overnight on Sunday, which meant that when I had to run some errands, it looked like this:

And this:

After taking care of said errands, I decided that it was a good time for wandering around the first district a little bit. I found a Shakespeare & Co, for all my English-language book needs; the Ruprechtskirche, to brush up on my late Romanesque and early Gothic architectural knowledge; a gelateria where they sell beer-flavored ice cream; and a confectionary where you can get a chocolate bust of Gustav Klimt. All of these discoveries were punctuated by popping into shops where I had no intention of buying anything, but was desperate to get out of the cold. Having your chin go numb is an extremely unpleasant feeling. I don’t recommend it.

The one upside to this is that it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas: you can buy hot chestnuts and mugs of punch from the street vendors, lights have been strung up in the streets, and the whole city is at its coziest. There’s more sparkle: crystals and mirrors and polished surfaces to throw the light around, keeping the worst of the winter at bay. For the first time since I was a kid, I understand my mother’s impulse to keep me bundled up against the cold: layers are an absolute necessity here. For instance, to go out today, I made sure to wear:

  • A medium-weight camisole
  • An oxford shirt
  • A sweater
  • Tights
  • Heavy corduroy trousers
  • Wool socks
  • Boots
  • A scarf
  • A hat
  • Gloves
  • My black wool coat

Layering does have its downsides.

And I was still a bit chilly and glad to go home and warm up. If I venture out again today, it will be to acquire a pair of flannel pajamas, and possibly a cover for my beloved hot-water bottle. That’s still a pretty big “if”, though: it might start snowing again today. In the interim, I’m getting a jump on my Christmas spirit and making up the best holiday playlist I can think of. Pro tip: when in doubt, always include Band-Aid’s “Feed the World (Do They Know It’s Christmas?)”.

Seriously: it’s the best bad Christmas song EVER.

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