A little further afield in ViennaDecember 21, 2016 in Austria ⋅ ⛅ -2 °C
According to what we've read, Austrians traditionally celebrate Christmas on Christmas eve, when they share a meal of Carp and open presents. For festive food we had decided just to see what was in the shops. We'd been told about an area outside Vienna city centre that sold a lot of local and organic produce so we took the U-Bahn then a bus to get there. We'd had the impression there was a farmers market, but all we could find was a small food shop. Despite its size, it was a quality establishment that sold organic and local food, so we picked up some veg and wine before making our way back.
Later on we walked up to our local suburban cluster of shops and visited the butcher. There didn't seem to be any one meat that stood out like turkey would in the UK, so we bought a couple of duck breasts and some other bits and bobs.
After taking the van out to top up on gas, we did a supermarket shop for the remaining items. It felt strange coming back to the van with no crackers, Christmas cake, pudding or mince pies. We wanted to experience a Christmas outside the UK but we'll certainly appreciate these seasonal staples all the more when we come back to Britain next year!
Van life has brought a lot of improvements and some amazing highs but it also has its lows. The temperature had been sub zero for days and we'd noticed an icicle forming under the back of the van; it had actually got so long as to join with the ground at our previous stopover! We'd been making the most if the electric hookup by mainly using an electric fan heater instead of the gas central heating. When we returned to the stopover, the waste water tank wouldn't open for emptying because it had frozen shut. We placed the fan heater under the van, started the engine and put the central heating on to get some hot air through the nearby vent in an effort to defrost it. After more than an hour of this it still wasn't defrosted and we heard the water pump turn on and a wheezing sound from near the hot water tank. While Will was outside discovering our emergency water container had leaked and the water frozen to the boot floor and the icicle we'd seen before had been formed by the hot water outlet pipe freezing up, and that the pressure had built up to the point that the system was blowing water out inside the boot, Vicky was inside discovering a slick of water emerging from under the bunk inside the living area. We spent the rest of the night with the heating up high to try and defrost the waste water and the pump switched off apart from when we were using it in order to avoid leakage from the hot water tank. It was all sorted out by midday the following day but we were very thankful to be at a site with all the facilities we needed. We may need to rethink our plan to visit Norway in winter!Read more