Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Getting into the holiday mood...Viennese style

The Rathaus Market
As I've said, I have a list of places that I wanted to hit up before I left Europe. Vienna was one of those cities....especially for the Christmas markets. I decided early on in the semester that this was the year I was going to hit up the Vienna market. So, I bought my ticket in September and waited, and waited, and waited. The last weekend of November finally arrived and I made my way (along with 6 of my female students and my friend BethAnn) to Vienna. I was not disappointed.

We arrived in Vienna in the late afternoon, but by the time we got to our hotel (an hour at the most) it was dark! So, we dropped our stuff off and headed out to our first market at the town hall. Oh wow! How incredibly beautiful. It was a feast for the eyes! There were thousands of lights throughout the trees in a variety of shapes and colors. There were hundreds of stalls in front of the town hall selling hot drinks, sweet treats, yummy sausages, Christmas gifts, and Christmas decorations. Where to begin? A hot beverage of course. Each of the markets (and there were a lot of them!) had their own mugs. You can either "rent" the mug for €2.50 or you can keep it and then buy either hot spiced wine, hot chocolate, hot punch, and lots of other offerings. So, we got our drinks and started our shopping. The markets were part heaven and hell for much to buy and so little money! ;)

Basically, the weekend was a non-stop shopping extravaganza. We went from market to market....spending. :)

In between the markets, we managed to see a couple of Vienna's biggest churches, the Hofburg palace, and other historical buildings. We also managed to enjoy some yummy schnitzel, strudel, and, of course, Sacher Torte. On our last day, Beth Ann and I popped into Cafe Sacher, the birthplace of the Sacher Torte. From the outside, it looked as if the place would be way too expensive as it was swathed in a deep claret velvet, gilded mirrors, and crystal chandeliers. To our surprise, it was completely reasonable. So, we got a seat, had some soup, and then indulged in Vienna's famous torte. Yuuummmm.....
It was a fabulous weekend and I really enjoyed Vienna. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit in Vienna. It was magic personified and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. 

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