Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)


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Vienna Christmas Markets: Schönbrunn Palace

On our first morning in Vienna we set out for Schönbrunn Palace and its famed Christmas Market.

The 1,400 room palace was the long time home of the Hapsburgs and remains one of the most important and well known sites in Austria. The sheer size of it is staggering. While it’s a bit sparse in the winter, I think the gardens would be incredible in the summer months.

No visit to the city during the 4 weeks of advent would be complete without a visit to at least one Christkindlmarkt/Weihnachtsmarkt, as they are known locally. The city is brimming with them, both large and small, and the Schonbrunn market was my favorite of the two we went to.

The market sits directly in front of the grand palace and is packed with food stands and gift stalls.
Crowds outside Schonbrunn PalaceSchonbrunn Palace, ViennaOn the steps of Schonbrunn PalaceChristmas wares at SchronbrunnBecause we visited in the early afternoon there weren’t too many people about. I’m not a huge fan of crowds, so this was more than fine by me. It gave us the chance to wander the many stalls and admire the beautiful and charming holiday decor without having to jostle for a spot. I am absolutely in love with traditional German Christmas handicrafts, such as smokers and candle arches. We found a stand with the most adorable and unique smokers. My mom and I thought the prices were a little steep, but now we regret not buying any (luckily they have a website!).

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The Eagle Has Landed… But is Taking Off Again Shortly!

She’s here!

My mom made it to Sofia in one piece.

We’ve just spent the last few hours catching up and unpacking her stuff.

We don’t have much time to relax, however, because we’re all off to Vienna in a few hours to kick off the holidays by wandering Christmas Markets, drinking mulled wine, buying festive gifts, and eating Sacher Torte!

Next week our Bulgarian adventures begin. I can’t wait to show her around my new home and introduce her to the in-laws.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend and are spending it with the ones you love.

W.

: : :

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The Hobbit, Shopping, and a Visit to Sofia’s Christmas Market

I spend a lot of time indoors by myself these days, so when the weekends roll around I am more than ready to head out into the city for some fun.

This week was even more solitary than usual as Vince was out of town on business for a few days and then had to work on Saturday to make up for a day off awhile back (I will never understand this weird Bulgarian obligation to make up days off. How is it a day off if it has to be made up?). Anyway, by yesterday (Sunday) morning, I was dying to get outside and do something. Anything! 

On the agenda: shopping, The Hobbit, a visit to Sofia’s Christmas Market, and dinner.

Giant Christmas Tree in downtown SofiaMy mom is flying into Sofia on Friday to spend Christmas with us, so we had to go out and buy an extra pillow and a few other things. We hit up The Mall (yep, one of the malls in Sofia is named The Mall–clever or lazy? I can’t decide.) because we could do all our shopping and see the movie in one place. I usually avoid malls like the plague this time of year, but we braved the packed parking lots and masses of people to get what we needed at Carrefour.

After dropping everything off at our car, we headed back into the mall to the movie theater. I am a huge LOTR fan, so I knew I had to see The Hobbit on the big screen. I usually hate seeing movies in 3D, but apparently it was the only way they were showing the movie, so we donned our attractive glasses and settled in. I didn’t tell Vince that it was a 3-hour movie until it was too late for him to back out. He wasn’t too happy about the length but he ended up really enjoying the film. I did too.

Gandalf--The Hobbit

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