Thursday, December 17, 2009

Altwiener Christkindlmarkt waits for you.....and for me

It's been awhile since I joined in Postcard Friendship Friday, aka PFF, but when this postcard was included inside the holiday card I received from my wonderful friend, Francessa, I thought it must be a part of PFF this week.

Francessa lives in Vienna where this scene was photographed, as noted on the back of the card, by Carl Anders Nilsson. The back of the card has only this short description: ALTWIENER CHRISTKINDLMARKT AUf dER FREYUNG/WIEN, or  Old Viennese Christmas market at Freyung. I think it looks like a magical place for Christmas/holiday shopping. 

Francessa feels as close as a sister to me yet we still haven't met in person. So how did our friendship begin? you might wonder.  Blogging!  I have high hopes that our intentions to meet will be realized in the future. It's one of those things I expect will happen, although I can't see how or when at this point. Even if a summer visit to Francessa's beautiful home village in the Alps or a holiday stroll with her through the Altwiener Christkindlmarkt didn't happen in 2009 our friendship has grown in richness as we've shared our lives through long, long emails and exciting real mail. We even have one of those stories that will be fun/funny to recall years into the future, the kind that old friends seem to always develop along the way. This vignette is topical, being holiday-related.......

Austrian Customs actually confiscated my Christmas present to Francessa in 2008 and it took some months before all was settled to their/her satisfaction. It was only then that she emailed describing the hassle she had been through! What a great friend; she didn't want to worry me. There's a lesson here: do not send anything made of crystal to a friend in Austria, the land of Austrian crystal which, according to wisegeek, "is not a trademark in and of itself, but it might as well be. The generic term is indelibly linked with Swarovski crystals, produced in a factory in Wattens, Austria." Here's some additional info from the wisegeek article:
. . . (Swarovski) entered the American jewelry market rather late, in 1977, but has emerged as an icon. Austrian crystal has a reputation for fine worksmanship but is also less expensive than jewelry made from precious stones. Austrian crystal also earned international attention during the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, when a mouse figurine crafted by Max Schreck from chandelier parts morphed into the mascot of those games, as well as launching a new product line of Swarvoski figurines. Swarovski's own corporate symbol has evolved from an edelweiss flower to a swan.
The Swarovski empire has also proved a boon to tourism in Austria. Kristallwelten (Crystal World), a museum and showroom devoted to Austrian crystal, is the second most-visited attraction in the country. . .
Now that you've seen a sample of Francessa's great taste in postcards you may want to visit her blog, Francessa's Thinking, where you'll learn more about this teacher, researcher, and bilingual commuter/traveler. You already know that she is not in the international crystal trade!

To my dear friend, Francessa - thank you for the beautiful postcard!
To all of you - happy PFF!

And to me - a long-time favorite song, ever since I was a crazy child
(actually, a crazy 25 year old).......

And you know that when the truth is told
that you can get what you want or you can just get old
You're gonna kick off before you even get half through
Why don't you realize,. Vienna waits for you
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?



Marie Reed said...

I sweet girl! This is such a rich and heart warming post:) I can almost smell the potato pancakes sizzling and the hot spiced wine of the Austrian Christmas market. How wonderful that you've always had an affinity for Vienna through Billy! I'm sure that you'll be there visiting soon!

Lydia said...

@Marie- So much fun to have this comment from you. What a wonderful host of PFF you caring and prompt in writing to all your peeps!
Your Postcard Friday has become such a success and for good reason: it's a wonderful community. :)

Postcardy said...

I wish I could visit the Christmas Market. It looks like an exciting and magical place.

francessa said...

Lydia, the surprise was successful! :-) My Christmas fair postcard on PFF as a peg to share the story of our incredible friendship! Thanks so much!

You can see more of that specific fair (we have countless Christmas markets and fairs over here) here and some people spend a great amount of time at the stalls. It is snowing which makes the atmosphere even more wintry and Christmasy. Whoever might be interested in crystals could take a look and take the tour here. The Swarowski family sure know how to present them.

Sherrie said...

That's a beautiful postcard! What a wonderful friend to have! Have a great day!

A View of My Life

Christine said...

I'm glad you finally got that crystal Germany you have to be careful with gnomes, I think. They pride themselves on wonderful gnomes and don't appreciate the Polish imitations. Who knew!

Beth Niquette said...

I am part Austrian, so this post was wonderful for me to read. What an adventure--I loved reading your blog today! And fabulous postcard! Happy PFF!

steviewren said...

I enjoyed reading about you online friendship with Francessa. I've been to Kristallwelten. Is an interesting place to wander through. It was my birthday and I bought myself a lavender crystal bracelet.

I hope you and Francessa get the opportunity to meet one day soon.

Looking to the Stars said...

I love this card, how beautiful it is. maybe you will be able to go to Vienna or she will be able to come see you.
The friend vib must be out I just did a post on my oldest friend :)

Lydia said...

@Postcardy- I agree! Thanks for visiting.

@francessa- Great links! I'm going back to take the crystal tour over the weekend. You're the best :)

@Sherrie- She sure is! I certainly did have a great day and now will have a great evening visiting PFF blogs.

@Christine- That's fascinating about Germany and gnomes. Now that you mention it, I do think they are rather iconic. Exactly: who knew?!

@Beth- That's cool that you are part Austrian. Some of your cloud paintings look like crystal to me, and now that makes sense :)

@steviewren- Wow, your birthday bracelet sounds beautiful. I appreciate your visit letting me know you have actually seen this place.

@Looking to the Stars- I think that friend vibe really is strong right now. I'll be over to read your latest post.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

The post card is fabulous and reiterates loving memories of the past!

Erika C. said...

This is great! I went in last week to my son's second grade class to tell them the story of my mother's Christmas as a child in Germany during the war.

My mother always told us about the doll house that her mother, my Oma, would take out only for the Christmas season for her and her sisters and brother to play with.

My Oma would bake tiny real cakes and cookies, make new curtains and little candles for the candle sticks.

That was their only Christmas present but growing up, I always remember the joy that it seemed to bring my mother.

The kids in my son's class loved the story and they in turn told stories about grandparents, only one about a doll house though! The others somehow got onto old cars, grandparents who had died, and even a grandparent who claimed to have seen a UFO!

THanks for your inspiring story of your friend.


Lydia said...

@Phivos- I love the postcard, and the card it was tucked into was splendid too!

@Erika- What a great story of a great story! It's fantastic that you shared it with your son's class. Thank you for your inspiring story!

When my sister was going to have her first child (I did not have kids) my mother, who was half Dutch, found the word "Oma" for grandmother in some Dutch dictionary and that is what she asked to be called. I am curious to know more about the's so sweet-sounding.

Holiday hugs.



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