Olive fields by Noreen

Olive fields by Noreen
Mysterious, primordial world

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Austria and Ireland December 2015



A little part of us remains behind in the place where we once lived.  It does not seem to matter how much time we spent there or how long ago it was.  It can only be recaptured on our return, rather like finding a lost favourite blanket, the familiarity, texture, warmth and comfort as it snuggles close around your body on a cold winter’s evening. You embrace it, feel it’s warmth until you put it down and leave.  You will return often in daydreams, thinking of it and wondering if it’s there now? And it being there yet again on your return.........

Well,  we’ve done it,  travelled home and back in one piece!  I still call this place home. I stood here and looked out over the fields where seven generations of my family have lived. I've been over these fields so many times, played as a child, watched our parents as they dug the soil to plant potatoes and vegetables. I remember the long warm summers of the 1960's when we made hay and had picnics of tea and sandwiches in this same field, the moonlight nights when my sister and I would climb out of our bedroom window, run over to the far field where we would lie on the grass looking up at the moon and the stars then hurry back and into bed unbeknownst to anyone!   I stood here last week and recalled those cherished memories. It seemed like a lifetime ago,.... it was long ago!..It's wonderful that my sister and her family live here still as it means I can always go back.  It's not lost to us.



Our trip from Turkey to Vienna and on to Ireland went according to plan.
 We packed our two small cases with a change of clothes and the rest of the space was taken up with presents. We walked the 15 minutes to the first bus station and began our journey to Bodrum airport.
 I’d spent days and weeks planning, looking up websites for the most convenient central accommodation, checked reviews, searched for a train to get us to the centre of Vienna, googled maps for an aerial view of the location. I took notes of the directions, phone numbers, train times etc and felt we were ready as we possibly could be.  Our flight arrived in Vienna on schedule.  I’d booked us a one bedroom apartment which turned out to be perfect.  The view from the window was awesome!
 It was warm and spacious and even had a supermarket nearby. The location was quiet and minutes from the train station.  One of the highlights was the beautiful Belvedere palace which houses two of my favourite paintings!



The weather was cold but we were lucky we missed the rain which they had in abundance on the previous day. We had four days in all.  The city is so well planned. The rich families of the city built their beautiful houses and palaces all around in one massive circle which we got to see first from a warm tour bus. It was called the red tour and you could hop on and hop off as you wished for 24 or 48 hours.
We gazed at the beautiful architecture and took lots of photos although not the best from a grubby bus window. 

 However the audio guide was very informative and from this we could decide which museums to choose and which to leave until our next trip. The next morning we took ourselves on a walking tour. This was most informative. The tour guide called Franz really knew his history and was really enthusiastic.  He brought us into many buildings which really helped; I was able to sit down and easy my aching back!!  This also gave us time for more photos. 






 Mr. D doesn’t do heights.  He has a massive fear of them.  I’ve lost out on so many wonderful photo opportunities due to his insistence on us both staying put!  So far in Vienna we had been on ground level, not as much as a small hill or even steps to take us to any height.  So when I saw the magnificent spire of St. Michael’s cathedral,  I heard this little voice in my head say   “I’m going up there,  I want to see that bell and look out over this beautiful city just once in my life”....
. And yes we did go right to the top!!     Mr. D. agreed but stayed by the door which leads out on to the metal viewing area. I was awed by the wonderful views and to be so close to that beautiful roof and bells.  I took lots of photos and eventually,  reluctantly descended the lift to ground level with a now relaxed Mr. D.








We took the blue tour the next evening which took us on a different route and as the daylight faded and night descended, we saw the city landscape from a different perspective. A wonderland of lights filled the sky and lit up trees and buildings with a wonderful Christmas theme.  We spent hours browsing the Christmas markets. 

The Christmas markets are covered stalls professionally constructed with wood and decorated beautifully with all the colours of Christmas.  You can buy all sorts of handmade goods. They have everything from cakes, sweets, jewellery, decorations, and ornate lights.  In the middle of the markets there are children’s play areas.  There was a puppet theatre, play park, donkey rides. The little children were wrapped up warm with chunky hats and gloves.   They were stalls serving mulled wine in big red mugs and you could choose which fruit you wanted added. I had one with strawberries and blueberries.  It warmed me up and was delicious! 


 
We walked and walked and were so tired when we got back to the apartment at night.  There is so much to see. We didn’t get in to see the beautiful opera house but plan to see it and also the hills of Vienna when we return hopefully in the summer months. 


We flew on to Dublin to a wonderful welcome from family and friends.  It was nice to touch down on Irish soil after being away for so long.  Dublin was in full swing.  Traffic was heavy.  They are extending the tram lines.  Christmas shoppers were everywhere.  I felt overwhelmed by the amount of people on the streets and in the shopping centres.  There were lines of customers at all tills and shoppers were weighed down with shopping. We were meeting friends at a French restaurant on Dawson Street and could not find a seat at 5pm in the evening, seemingly one has to book in advance.  Recession is well and truly over,  I’m so happy to say!   The next day, we travelled by train to Cork and stayed with my sister and family.  

 We had an early Christmas. My sister and I cooked Christmas dinner together, no set time, just called everyone and the cat! when it was ready,  sat down, chatted, drank wine, and a smoothie! eat chocolates and had a laugh. Christmas 2015... It’s up there with my top 5 Christmas’s ever. 
 Wishing all of you out there on the w.w.w.  a wonderful Christmas too!  xoxo

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