Sightseeing while Shivering

I am not a fan of winter.  Cold weather always kept me inside.  And I always believed that if it was going to be cold, it should snow - snow so much that we get to stay home.  (Snow days are fun regardless if you're young or old.)  There is something calming about having so much snow, it makes the crazy world stop for a little bit.  Cold is just cold, however.  :)

Bundled up for winter sightseeing.
But then I moved to Europe, where you have to go outside.   You can't stay inside for long.  You have to go to work, you have to live your daily life.  If you tried to avoid the cold, you are bound to run out of food or toilet paper.  There is no Costco nor is there a place to store all the toilet paper you would have bought at Costco.  Outside into the chilly world you go lest you die in your flat.  And you can't throw on a coat and shimmy into your car with heated seats.   You have to dress for cold weather combat from head to toe and when you've sufficiently layered on enough clothes to feel like a life-size walking marshmallow, you venture out to make sure you have something to wipe your little butt with later.  (TMI? Sorry...)

Work still goes on as well, and I gallavant around the globe in sun or snow.  And when the trip is free and you're already there, it seems a waste not to get to know a place simply because you can’t enjoy a gelato on the terrace while wearing a cute, flimsy sundress that billows in the wind as your skin slowly turns a lovely shade of golden brown in the summer sun.  That is how I imagined all of my European adventures before coming to Europe.  J

Mondsee, Austria
So I traded in my terrace vision for fur-lined boots, a knit hat, warm scarf and a few other essentials and threw myself into winter in Europe.  And in my new found acceptance of traveling during winter, I've seen some picturesque landscapes that I would not have seen in the heat of summer.  Snow dusting the streets and bridges of Budapest and temperatures so cold, sheets of ice float down the Danube river.  Cocktails on an outdoor rooftop terrace on a crisp, magnificently sunny winter day in Salzburg, Austria.  In Paris and London, the cold keeps the faint-hearted inside and if you venture out, you usually get to enjoy sights that are otherwise teeming with people.  I recently found myself alone in front of the Notre Dame on a cold night.  I had forced myself to leave my apartment and due to lack of taxi cabs, I had to walk home.  I was shivering, but I stood there and marveled at how I had this beautiful, historic building all to myself.    I saw Istanbul in January, under rain.  It was dreary, but yet, if a place can still make you feel awe under a dreary cloud of gray, you know you're going back for summer sun and fun.

On the way, I have become a connoisseur of all types of warm beverages (or warming beverages) – exotic teas, hot chocolate, mulled wine, moonshine (in the warming category).  Plus all of the perks of traveling in the off season – lower prices, no lines and time amongst mostly locals, not mostly tourists.  So, done is my winter hibernation.  Adventures must continue in sun or snow.   Though, I do hope the sun comes back soon, my sundresses are growing impatient for use.

Below are a few of my favorite winter moments.

Salzburg, Austria from castle hill.

Basilica in Budapest under the cover of snow.  We stayed just next to the Basilica.

Szechenyi Baths, Budapest.  -17C/1F outside but we still went for a warm dip.

Winterwanderwegging on the slopes in Kitzbuhel, Austria.


  1. I love this. Boston's been miiiiiiild, so they say, but I still have to force myself outside and the forcing is definitely the most painful part. :) These pictures are beautiful and make me want to get over there in the winter now! xoxoxo

  2. I definitely needed to upgrade my California "winter" clothes, but now that I'm well equipped, it's not so bad. So get some key things to keep you warm and go enjoy. :) Uniqlo Heattech is my recommendation for some good layering items. P.S. Love your blog, Jen. Well written and oh so pretty.


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