about a dream: St. Leopoldifest and our expat Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 18, 2012

St. Leopoldifest and our expat Thanksgiving

First, St. Leopoldifest! It was held on Saturday in a small town/suburb just north of Vienna. I don't remember the name, it was long and comprised of several German words all run together. Of course! There was a breathtakingly beautiful Abbey in the town though. Wow. We didn't bring the camera, which was awful, maybe we'll go back. The church at the Abbey was incredibly beautiful, one of those baroque-on-steroids style of decoration churches, and the Abbey is actually the resting place of St. Leopold who is, as you may recall from my blog earlier in the week, the patron saint of Austria and Lower Austria. Poor St. Leopold's head isn't buried with his body, but rather displayed in a reliquary on top of his tomb. I guess on Saturday they also paraded his head through town, but we missed that. See how I said that like it's totally normal? I'm so getting used to the dead body parts on display thing they've got going on here in Europe. Ok not really.

One of the big draws at St. Leopoldifest is that you can slide down the side of a 56,000 liter barrel of wine. I guess this is a very old tradition, there's even a poem about sliding down the barrel written on the barrel, so you know it's been going on for a while. Just in case you've never seen a 56,000 liter barrel of wine before, it's about 12 feet tall (lying on its side, as wine barrels are wont to do). There's a platform half-way up the side of the barrel, and you start on that platform, climb a few stairs to the very top of the barrel, and sit down and slide down it's curved side. So, you end up sliding 1/4 of the way around the circumference of the barrel.

Also, you get to make a wish when you slide down the barrel. If you don't tell anyone it's sure to come true. Nina, Maggie, and I all slid, but Nick didn't want to. It did cost money, but not much, I think 1.50 for the kids and 2.50 for me, or something like that. They snapped pictures of us sliding down the barrel too, which we ended up buying even though they were ridiculously expensive, because we didn't bring our camera and because I assume the money goes to support the Abbey. Don't tell me if it doesn't, I'd rather believe a lie here than know the truth.

The rest of St. Leopoldifest was like a big street fair, with crazy expensive rides for the kids and overpriced fried food. But it was fun and we had a wonderful time, so that's all that matters.

Then today we had Expat Thanksgiving!! Anne has to report to the hospital on Thursday, and the kids have school that day, so it just made more sense to do it today. Nick's friend Peter came too, it was lovely to see him as always. I cooked some turkey breasts (I just couldn't bring myself to pay $40 for a 10-lb turkey!), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, broccoli, gravy and Anne made stuffing. Yum! We couldn't find cranberries, but that's ok, Nina doesn't like cranberry sauce anyway. Also, they don't sell frozen pie shells here, so no pie. We just baked up the rest of the cookies from the dough left over from Tuesday. Good enough! I'll be extra excited to roast an entire bird next year and make my sausage and cornbread stuffing, pumpkin pie, popovers, and who knows what else, but this was enough to hold me over until then.

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