Spending Thanksgiving Abroad Can Be Tough - Here's How We Did It

We spent Thanksgiving hiking the hills from Sound of Music & feasting on delicious traditional Austrian food - in the charming town of Salzburg, Austria


My favorite holiday (aside from Christmas) is Thanksgiving. I love how our families all get together. I love the smell of turkey, mashed potatoes and fall scented candles wafting through the air and I love that everyone I love sits around and laughs. Some of my favorite memories are from my mom yelling at me as a child to get up early, so I could help her, or that we always had at least 2 turkeys (one smoked and one baked) even if there were only four of us.  Or even the time, Chris and I hosted Thanksgiving in San Francisco and I got to have my family and friends all around one table…yeah that was special.

So now that the leaves are changing and pumpkin spice is everywhere, I’m reminded that my favorite holiday is fast approaching. I can’t help but think what we’ll be doing this year, where my family will be and whose table my friends will be at.

Last year during Thanksgiving we were in the little historic town of Salzburg, Austria - you know the place where Mozart was born and where Sound of Music was filmed. It’s a charming area and during the holidays the smell of freshly baked pastries and mulled wine fill the air.


Walking on the hills surrounding Salzburg, with the view of the old town in the background


All You Need is Love... and Good Food!

I wasn’t in the best of moods on Thanksgiving Day, so Chris suggested we take a walk through the hills and make our way to the fortress, which looks over the entire city. Reluctantly I agreed and after about an hour in, my mood began to brighten. I couldn’t believe the views we were seeing of the city and the fresh air made me feel awesome. I was quickly reminded how fortunate I was to be on this journey. Here I was missing my family and sulking, as a new world was standing right in front of me. 


Our Thanksgiving feast in Salzburg, Austria


Once we made it to the fortress and started making our way down, we came across a beautiful beer garden, which had the most delicious smells surrounding the area. We stumbled upon Stieglkeller which was felt like part beer hall part hunting lodge. Needless to say we sat down, warmed up with some large pints of beer and had one of the most memorable meals we’ve had on this trip. We might not have had turkey and mashed potatoes, but we indulged in boiled potatoes, schnitzel with mushroom sauce and of course duck breast.

Our Austrian Thanksgiving was a bit difficult for me. It's not easy being far from your family, especially if you're close, yet it was still full of lots of love, laughter (eventually) and delicious food.  

I learned three things that day:

  • It’s okay to miss your family and friends but don’t dwell on it and make sure to live in the moment, not the past or future.
  • Be Thankful for what you have and not what your missing 
  • ...and Salzburg definitely has the best hearty Austrian food around!

The entrance to the beer gardens at Stieglkeller