|la coupe de cheveux|
|Santa and Sebastian|
Another joy of having the children around for Christmas is that Keir decided it was time for him to put the lights on the tree -- a chore I've been in charge of for decades. Having Keir step up and fight with the lights was a gift, which he promptly regretted. I think it should become a tradition.
|Ocean and Reeve|
Ocean spent much of the morning playing with Reeve and running around fueled by the chocolate breakfast.
As we have noted in past blogs, Vienna is a stunningly beautiful city, and especially at Christmas. Keir and I strolled through the city taking pictures on a couple of occasions, and some of the sites as you wander the old downtown are ... well, here are some pictures. The Christbaum (Christmas tree) in front of the Rathaus (city hall) was here because the Vatican rejected it as too ordinary. Wow.
Dylan, Reeve, Melanie and Ocean headed home just before New Year's, but Morgan, a pre-med student at the University of South Carolina and a black belt karate buddy of Keir's, came to town to see the ancient city. They spent New Year's Eve downtown with several of Keir's high school friends, while Misti and I sat in a house that was actually quiet for the first time in weeks. Then midnight approached and the 18th District where we live exploded. There were sustained explosions ... like rapid gunfire ... on every side of the block for almost an hour. Fireworks here are not "organized" in the sense that there are big displays put on by the city. Instead, everyone buys their own fireworks and they have at it, wherever they might be. And they are everywhere.
(The explosions reminded me of a recent tale from Uwe. As I was stashing Misti's piano in the basement prior to Christmas, I asked Uwe how old the house is. The basement looks very old, much older than the rest of the house. Ewe said the place dates back to the mid-1800s, but that it was hit by a fire bomb during the only Allied raid on this section of Vienna. The big chest in our livingroom was one of the few pieces of furniture saved, he said. "My father and grandfather carried it out as the house was burning down." Uwe, then a boy, was living in the country, away from the bombs.)
Keir and Morgan headed off to Salzburg by train and then on to Berchtesgaden in the German Alps. Keir has had a semester of working with former Washington Post photographer Dayna Smith, and it shows in his work. I don't want to post many of his photos, as they are his, not mine ... but you can see some of his Berchtesgaden and other work at his Flickr site here .
I will steal one photo of Morgan standing in front of Alpine mountains in Salzburg.
And I'll close with a quick picture Keir shot of a tram flying by as we walked near the Rathaus on an outing. If only the world were full of trams, we could all get to where we want to go.