To my great disappointment, there is no huge Advent calendar at the City Hall (Rathaus) here in Vienna this year. I don’t know the details, but the company in charge of putting it on apparently embezzled a lot of the money intended for the display . . . or maybe embezzled money for something else and now the city doesn’t want to be involved with them . . . it’s hard to get the details straight in another language.
It’s a bummer. This is a long-standing tradition, and from everything I’ve heard, really impressive — every day of Advent, one of the huge windows of the Rathaus was decorated, every day something new. Of all of the Vienna Christmas traditions, this is the one that I was the most looking forward to. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it will be back next year.
In the meantime, we’re enjoying the wonderful things that Vienna does still offer at Christmastime — the markets, the beautiful decorations, the general festivity. It’s a completely different vibe here than at home — the markets are crowded and bustling (sometimes overwhelmingly so) but the emphasis is on socializing and enjoying the market, rather than on the shopping (although plenty of shopping happens, too).
Above all, I’m missing home. I know we’ll have a wonderful Christmas here (giant Rathaus Advent calendar or not) but it’s a very different feeling to be so far away from so many people that we love so much.