This year we decided to go back to Vienna. It was my favorite city during most of my younger years, and at some point we were visiting every December, because there's no Advent like the one in Vienna. This time around, I'm a little older, a more experienced traveller, and a bit more demanding, so I started noticing little flaws of Vienna (like crazy amounts of visitors and obligatory dinner reservations for any of the better restaurants)- nonetheless, we enjoyed the city and its atmosphere, and those little flaws gave it a more realistic touch and by the end of our stay, we started feeling at home.
We stayed for five days, and in that period visited four amazing museums and a couple of restaurants (some of them new to us, some of them already tried and liked before), reconnected with our friends that live there, had a couple of cups of mulled wine and punch, strolled around the famouse Viennese Christmas markets, ate the beloved original Sacher Torte, marvelled at all the festive decorations, took a stroll in the Schonbrunn park and all in all did what almost every visitor to Vienna (in December) does.
This post ist mostly dedicated to Vienna's festive Advent atmosphere, and the market we liked the most, the one in front of the Schoenbrunn palace. We visited first in the evening with Susanne and Michael (our Austrian friends), and then came back for a stroll in the park and some more Kaiserschmarrn (traditional Austrian sweet, serwed with plum jam) the next day. In the evening we drank mulled wine and hopped from stand to stand in hope of warming up a bit (it was a pretty cold week). We tried (and ate repeatedly) some of the local dishes such as Kasespatzle (home made pasta with cheese and fried oninons), Lauch and Speck spatzle (the same thing only with leek and ham), Kaiserschmarrn, and belegte Brot (Austrian style open sandwich).
Of all the markets we visited in Vienna, the one in front of Schonbrunn had the nicest hand made products as well as tastiest local food. We were very disciplined "window-shoppers" this time, due to the resolution we made earlier of not buying anything we don't need, or have a place to put to, or like so much that we couldn't help it. We did take a couple of photos as all the Christmas decorations, hand made ceramics, gingerbreads and liquors looked so lovely and suitable for the occasion (that is, this post). :)
It was as cold the other day when we took a walk in the Schonbrunn park. We wanted to see and feed the squirrels that live in the park and don't seem to be bothered by visitors. They weren't impressed with the walnuts we brought though. :) The beautiful steel and glass construction of Schonbrunn's Palmenhaus (a large greenhouse next to the Zoo) stood proudly surrounded by bare trees with the background of icy winter skies. Quite a motiv for our photos. All of the fountains in the park were covered with ice, and whenever I took my gloves off to make a photo, my fingers would freeze, so we ended up on the market again, hovering those food stands. And although we decided not to buy anything for ourselves, little holliday gifts were allowed, so we bought a ceramic Lichthaus (model house with a tea candle) for Luka's grandma, to lighten up her cozy livingroom during winter evenings. It will also be a nice reminder of our trip to Vienna when we come to visit her.
Have you ever been to Vienna in December? And what is your take on buying souvenirs that are nice, but still end up just as decorative items in your home?