Christmas in Vienna: Christkindlmarkt

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Apologies for the absolute spate of pictures in this post. There's just no way to describe the wonder of Vienna's Christmas markets. Christmas in Vienna is pretty much how I imagine Christmas at Hogwarts would be, minus the singing suits of armor. Even the most neglected corner of the city has holiday cheer painted into strung lights, window displays, musicians playing carols, and thousands of Christmas trees waiting to find their way into Viennese homes.

The Christmas markets (Christkindlmarkt) are the center on which Vienna's holiday spirit turns. Each one offers a slightly different variation on the theme but all include stalls overflowing with delicate ornaments and holiday treats. Mulled wine booths seem practically a prerequisite.

We arrived on the 23rd, a bit late to see most of the markets but we managed a few, including the Wiener Christkindlmarkt in front of Vienna's impressive city hall. It was one of the first days of the trip and my body was still adjusting to the chapped lips and cold toes of a true winter but I almost forgot the cold once we got caught up in exploring the booths. The stalls seemed endless. Every time we thought we had reached the end there was another line of stalls around the turn. Eventually, hunger and jet lag drove us away to look for a warm place to eat and rest.

We ran into a few other Christkindlmarkts during our trip (one outside the Schronbrunn Palace) but none quite lived up to the first. I have browsed the stalls of a lot of Christmas markets over the years but the Wiener Christkindlmarkt was by far the best.

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