English

January 2011

by Liz Finney (only English version available)

Following the indulgences of Christmas and New Year, shopping in the sales and winter sports dominate Villach life in January – and there’s another bank holiday as well. New Year week, which lots of people take as holiday off work, is also marked by New Year classical concerts, the best known of which takes place in Vienna on the morning of January 1st and is broadcast around the world.

Since the 31st December two lakes - the Vassacher See and Silbersee – have been declared safe for skating. Villach town council provides this service free to anyone who wants to go along. It’s an exciting opportunity for those of us who are only used to inside rinks - but you must bring your own skates, and it’s prudent to wear warm clothes and protective gear if you’re not very confident. It’s worth mentioning that lakes are often only declared operational for a limited time, so you should take the opportunity while you can. But don’t forget that the temporary rink in the main town square is also still open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with free skate hire and sharpening facilities. Though the facilities are a bonus, the ambiance can’t compete with the stunning scenery of the lakes.

On the 6th January there’s a bank holiday, and as this falls on a Thursday this year most people will take the Friday off work. This day commemorates the visitation of the three wise men (or “Magi”) to the baby Jesus. Here in Villach children dress up as them and go from house to house, reciting poetry, singing appropriate songs and collecting for charity. The initials of the three magi, traditionally named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, are then written in chalk above the front door of the home to show it’s been done. The letters stand for the initials of the Magi and also the phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, which translates as "may Christ bless the house".

Access up the Dobratsch mountain that overlooks Villach is free all winter, and since the 25th December a modest ski lift has serviced an 800 metre long slope suitable for little children and beginners. Cross-country ski tracks extend for about five kilometres in the alpine garden area (starting from that car park), while a four kilometre route begins at the Rosstratte (highest) car park, and there’s a sledging hill there too. Finally, walkers will find that the route to the summit is also open and maintained. All this is another free initiative provided by the council and its mayor Helmut Manzenreiter.

Much more expensive but a lot more fun for some of us are of course ski resorts which are in full swing, and weather conditions and other news concerning the Gerlitzen on the edge of Villach can be found on

http://www.gerlitzen.com/

Finally, ice hockey is a big cultural highlight in Villach. The town’s formidable ice hockey team, EC VSV, - otherwise known as blue and white eagles - plays weekly matches at the „Stadthalle“ which has a capacity of 4,500. Fixture details are to be found on this link  

http://www.villach.at/inhalt/sport/veranstaltungen_sport.asp

with match write-ups and ticket prices on

http://www.ecvsv.at/index.php

Apart from sport, it’s safe to say that January’s a quiet month here. So I’d say that if you’re not sporty, you’re pretty much missing out. Having said that, you should of course take lots of care. It’s a mistake not to invest in decent equipment, especially if you’re not very experienced – don’t show off by going off piste and take avalanche warnings very seriously. Most importantly though, have fun in this gorgeous wonderland we’re lucky enough to be living in. I’m sure you will.

September

October

November

December

January 2011

by Liz Finney

Following the indulgences of Christmas and New Year, shopping in the sales and winter sports dominate Villach life in January – and there’s another bank holiday as well. New Year week, which lots of people take as holiday off work, is also marked by New Year classical concerts, the best known of which takes place in Vienna on the morning of January 1st and is broadcast around the world.

Since the 31st December two lakes - the Vassacher See and Silbersee – have been declared safe for skating. Villach town council provides this service free to anyone who wants to go along. It’s an exciting opportunity for those of us who are only used to inside rinks - but you must bring your own skates, and it’s prudent to wear warm clothes and protective gear if you’re not very confident. It’s worth mentioning that lakes are often only declared operational for a limited time, so you should take the opportunity while you can. But don’t forget that the temporary rink in the main town square is also still open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with free skate hire and sharpening facilities. Though the facilities are a bonus, the ambiance can’t compete with the stunning scenery of the lakes.

On the 6th January there’s a bank holiday, and as this falls on a Thursday this year most people will take the Friday off work. This day commemorates the visitation of the three wise men (or “Magi”) to the baby Jesus. Here in Villach children dress up as them and go from house to house, reciting poetry, singing appropriate songs and collecting for charity. The initials of the three magi, traditionally named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, are then written in chalk above the front door of the home to show it’s been done. The letters stand for the initials of the Magi and also the phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, which translates as "may Christ bless the house".

Access up the Dobratsch mountain that overlooks Villach is free all winter, and since the 25th December a modest ski lift has serviced an 800 metre long slope suitable for little children and beginners. Cross-country ski tracks extend for about five kilometres in the alpine garden area (starting from that car park), while a four kilometre route begins at the Rosstratte (highest) car park, and there’s a sledging hill there too. Finally, walkers will find that the route to the summit is also open and maintained. All this is another free initiative provided by the council and its mayor Helmut Manzenreiter.

Much more expensive but a lot more fun for some of us are of course ski resorts which are in full swing, and weather conditions and other news concerning the Gerlitzen on the edge of Villach can be found on

http://www.gerlitzen.com/

Finally, ice hockey is a big cultural highlight in Villach. The town’s formidable ice hockey team, EC VSV, - otherwise known as blue and white eagles - plays weekly matches at the „Stadthalle“ which has a capacity of 4,500. Fixture details are to be found on this link  

http://www.villach.at/inhalt/sport/veranstaltungen_sport.asp

with match write-ups and ticket prices on

http://www.ecvsv.at/index.php

Apart from sport, it’s safe to say that January’s a quiet month here. So I’d say that if you’re not sporty, you’re pretty much missing out. Having said that, you should of course take lots of care. It’s a mistake not to invest in decent equipment, especially if you’re not very experienced – don’t show off by going off piste and take avalanche warnings very seriously. Most importantly though, have fun in this gorgeous wonderland we’re lucky enough to be living in. I’m sure you will.

September

October

November

December