Sharon Miceli continues her journey through Europe's Christmas Markets as a guest of AMAWaterways aboard the river cruise ship Amalyra, and manages to meet up with an old friend in Linz. Sharon...
|Lovely Linz shines bright on Frigid Evening|
If you’ve ever had a friend show you around their town then you know the advantages of having a personal tour guide. Such was our luck when we arrived in Linz, Austria the hometown of my former colleague, Maria, the First Purser on our ship when we were crew aboard the Renaissance CruisesTM ship R4TM in Tahiti 10 years ago.
|A brightly lit steeple|
Maria gave us a custom tour of the town where she had just completed her University exams for Resort Management. In the fresh snow we crunched a two-block path to the center of town. Rounding a corner we were stopped in our tracks by the brilliant white lights that glowed in sharp contrast to the distinctive tree aglow in azure blue lights.
|A small but festive Christmas Market|
Our first stop was to one of the smaller markets in a pint-sized churchyard where cocktail tables were crafted from snow! Here we found several varieties of drinks right off a medieval menu. Punsch, Glog, Grogg, Mead, etc.; they were all different versions of gluhwein and all provided instant heat, custom-tailored for this kind of exploration.
|Beer and Brats. Photo could have been taken in Milwaukee|
Next was a stop to the main square where we sampled the local bratwurst, sauerkraut and Kaiser beer under the golden lights as the booths closed for the night. Good enough. It was time to get indoors where it was warm.
|Bright lights hang above the local bakery|
Making our way around the local haunts we hit a disco where Maria urged us to try the region’s schnapps, then off to a wine bar featuring some of Austria’s finest vintages and finally the Klosterhauf brewery. Here we found a live band and a livelier crowd. It struck us funny to hear old-school country western performed with a German twang!
|Austrian Beer & European-style Country Western|
Our wanderings in this elegant town took us through softly lit alleys where curtains of white lights hung down between the antique buildings like crystalline bed sheets. The ancient architecture was lovingly maintained so seeing a man in a full black cape and tri-corn hat with a lantern in one hand and a medieval axe in the other did not seem at all out of place. But we soon realized he was a tour guide and was conducting what was probably a ghost-themed excursion.
|Local Linz-ians know how to party|
As for us, we had our own wonderful tour guide, my local friend, Maria, who showed us the warm and welcoming local side of Linz complete with cultural and historical narrative. And if you ever have the chance to see a destination through the eyes of a local jump on the opportunity!
Thanks Sharon. I'm not sure what sounds tastier and more filling... the brats or the gluhwein! Hope we can see a little bit more of the ship in your next installment!