Thursday, August 2, 2012

Villacher Kirchtag

Wednesday August 1st, 2012

Oh wow, already August; I leave in little over a month to go back to Seattle.

In the late morning we left for a 2 hour and 45 min bike trip around the Lake Ossiach (Ossiachsee). Unlike the bike I used in Klagenfurt, the Sattendorf bike fits me. However I was still without helmet making me feel slightly conspicuous since my austrian brother, sister, cousin, and father all had helmets. We stopped in Ossiach for some ice cream so the actually biking part of the trip was more like 2 hours and 15 mins.

Map of Lake Ossiach. Ossiach is circled and where we approximately started is marked by the red arrow.

There wasn't really any 'hills' on the bike path. It was more of gradual inclines and descents that required a little bit of work but didn't seem too bad. At one point we took the street to cross from Steindorf area to Prefelnig (at the end of the lake) since there was not a bike path that cut close to the lake. This seemed pretty common to do because we ran into many other bikers doing the same thing.

When we stopped in Ossiach my austrian father told me that Ossiach is the more touristy town on the lake because it has the cloister and church (also shares a name with the lake).

Ice cream selection (himbeer=raspberry, kokos=coconut, etc.)

My ice cream. Everyone did two scoops and I got kiwi and coconut.

Front of ice cream place in Ossiach, Has another side that is a restaurant too. I saw people ordering tubs with about 10 different scoops of ice cream.

After ice cream we headed back to Sattendorf which was mostly okay although I found the last twenty mins a little hard since that is where we encountered the more steeper hills on the path.

After we got back the kids went into the lake. Eventually they had to get dried off so we could go into Villach for Kirchtag.

What is Kirchtag? Basically it's Villach's week-long festival where people dress up in traditional-ish clothes, eat food, and go on the rides that have been brought to town. I never imagined the complete transformation the town goes through and how the streets were now unfamiliar again.

The kids wanted to go make reindling (mentioned previously in my one of my posts) at one of the bakeries in Villach (a special event that is part of the festival) at 5 pm. So we went into town (my austrian father spent parked while we raced to the bakery) and paid five euros per person and then the baker took us in back (it was basically a festival cart, so the back is more like behind the counter) to bake.

Inside the bakery cart
To make reindling we took dough that had risen and rolled it out into a circle. We then took that circle of dough and brushed one side of butter. Then we took a mix of granulated sugar and cinnamon to spread on the buttered side of the dough.

Me with my dough and when did my arms get so tan?

We then were provided with chocolate chunks, nuts, and raisins. The kids went for the chocolate but I went for the nuts and raisins. You then roll the dough up with the sugar and other items in the inside face of the dough. Once it is rolled up you then prepare the bundt pan (in german they call the shape guglhupf, guglhupf can also be used to describe cake). Melted butter is poured into the bundt pan and then brushed up the sides (but you will still have a bunch of butter sitting in the bottom of the pan, which is okay). You then take some sugar and put it in your pan, swirling it around a bit (most will stick to the bottom with the extra butter). The rolled dough is then placed into the bundt pan with the edge left from the folding facing up on the inside of the pan. It is then placed into the oven (not sure for how long or at what temp. since we left while it was baking, probably can look it up though).

Me with my unbaked reindling. And yes, IT IS THAT BIG!!!

While the reindlings were baking we went out into the festival area.

St. Jakob's church?

Haha, men in special costumes

Is that a maypole I spy?

Wait... is this hautzplatz? I DON'T RECOGNIZE ANYTHING?!
 My austrian father said that a lot of Italians show up to the festival and that on saturday there will be 3-4 times as many people in Villach than today. He said its like swimming in a sea of people; you can barely move.

You can see there are lots of people in a wide array of clothing. I even saw some kilts which I asked my austrian father about. He said they weren't austrian but that for some reason they had been present at the festival for the last ten years.

We stopped to look at some rides and my austrian father asked me if I wanted to go on it. I told him I was okay but he laughed and said the ride wouldn't stop. I watched the ride start up and hoped he wasn't serious about me going on it.

Wait a minute?! Are the seats rotating while they are up in the area in addition to swinging them around?!

*I look at my austrian father*
austrian father: "And you can eat dinner right before you go on too!"
Me: "Now I know you are joking with me."

My austrian father then proceeded to explain to me that once he went to the festival and counted and timed how many rotations one ride had. He then calculated how many forces of 'g' each person was under.

austrian father: "It just confirmed about why I am happy to stay on the ground."
Me: "..."

People had to take their shoes of before going on this ride.

We had to leave the festival briefly so we could repark the car (you can only park in the Interspar parking lot for a hour and half for free if you buy something there). We moved the car further away and walked back into the festival.

View from one of the bridges crossing over into downtown. This is not all of the festival though or all the rides. Merely what you can see from the Drau River.

For those of you not familiar with traditional austrian clothing the dirndl is worn by women and lederhosen is worn by men. The dirndl was originally worn by peasant women had had full length skirts and no plunging necklines (in contrast to what you might see at Oktoberfest today). I was told that based on the pattern/color of the bodice on skirt you could tell which areas the person came from. Even if they were protestant or catholic areas. I was told that most of the colors in traditional dirndls are somber or dark and not so much the bright colors you might see today. Modern takes on dirndls and lederhosens have led to a wide array of fashion today; anything from inspiration for wedding dresses to the short costumes you may see at festivals. Also I have seen girls wearing a version of lederhosen shorts during festival time.

For those who didn't feel like dressing in traditional clothes, they often wore a shirt that had the 'pattern' of the area. In the photo below you see a girl wearing a shirt that has the same pattern as more than a 100 shirts I saw today (on both men and women).

Traditional pattern. I'm pretty sure its specific to the area.

I noticed that most of the festival is food, beer, and rides. Not so many craft stalls as I might see at a fair/festival in Seattle. Also what they were selling at the stalls was mostly candy (TONS OF CANDY AND SWEETS) and small toys, nothing really traditional.

More crazy rides. The one on the left spins and also puts people upside down. The one on the right is more of a giant swing. All the rides had tons of lightbulbs on them but they wouldn't be turned on till night time (when we would be back at home).

My austrian siblings decided to go up on one of the rides.

Leaving the festival for the day

The festival is all week and there is even a parade on saturday so I'm sure we will be back there at some point this week.

Hey look! Its my finished reindling. We picked them up before we left.

Yum. The inside of my reindling.

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