Advent in Vienna

I’ve taken dozens of photos while wandering around Vienna the last couple of weeks. Here are a few of the best ones.

You might ask if I’ve done lots of shopping in all these markets. But I haven’t, really. Oh sure, I’ve bought a few stocking-stuffers, some yummy food items, and a couple of ornaments. But, these markets are very tchotchke-oriented for the most part, and I already have plenty of that lying around. As do all the people I am shopping for.

Most of what you see is also astoundingly, heart-stoppingly expensive, at least by my standards. Granted, I have been called a cheapskate in my time, and the exchange rate is decidedly ungood, but mostly, stuff here is just expensive! Vienna thrift stores, on the other hand, are fun and have some great bargains. I did some Christmas shopping at Caritas, and got some very cool gifts—which are super-secret and under wraps on this blog until Santa delivers them!

Now, here’s what I like about the markets. Photo opportunities, people-watching, and food. The street food at these markets is seriously good, and not outrageously priced for what you get. There are all kinds of sausages, from the typical kasekraner (cheese-stuffed) to lamb, bacon-wrapped, or just plain frankfurters. Always served with good mustard and fresh bread–either rolls or Mediterranean-style flatbread. Potatoes are also a big deal–either steak fries, roasted baby potatoes, or these greasy hash-brown things called kartoffel– or erdapfelpuffers. Also waffles with jam, krapfen, which is a silly name for donuts, and all kinds of brezels–salted, sugar-glazed, pizza-flavored, you name it. And roasted chestnuts, which have always tasted like squirrel food to me, but are apparently a thing.

And of course, gluhwein (mulled wine) and a million kinds of punsch. I really like most of these–they don’t generally oversweeten them, and they really warm you up on a cold night. And beer. Always good beer.

Though I haven’t bought much, I have pulled some good crafty inspiration from the markets. Austrians are big into “green” crafts, upcycling everything from sweaters to circuit boards. There are some really neat felted wool hats, slippers, purses etc. I’ve seen cool bags and clothes made from recycled jeans, sweaters, and other materials. And there is a lot of interesting jewelry made from recycled glass, wood scraps, computer and clock parts, and more. I haven’t bought very much of this because it’s just as expensive as all the other stuff. But I’ve got lots of projects in mind now, starting with a recycled wool hat I just made myself because I couldn’t stand to spend a hundred bucks on one at the market!

About the photos: the Rathaus is the city hall of Vienna. This market is the biggest one on the city, and the most touristy. In fact, it’s pretty much a mob scene, and I’ve been warned by multiple people to watch my wallet there. But, it is pretty, and the food is just as good as anywhere else. We went once, had dinner, and took a bunch of photos. That will do it for us.

There are lots of other, smaller markets in the city. The photos below are also from Am Hof, the Freyung, and Karlsplatz, as well as the Rathausplatz. And there are plenty of Christmas decorations on the other shopping streets as well. Vienna must be visible from space at this time of year!

The Rathausplatz in all its Christmas glory.
The Rathausplatz in all its Christmas glory.
Another angle, to show the crowd.
Another angle, to show the crowd.
Not the Magic Kingdom, just another view of the market.
Not the Magic Kingdom, just another view of the market.
Lighted balloons in the trees.
Lighted balloons in the trees.
Yum, yum, yum!
Yum, yum, yum!
House specialty at the Spittalberg market:  Bar (ige) punsch "for strong men and women."
House specialty at the Spittalberg market: Bar (ige) punsch “for strong men and women.”
Served with hot wild boar liver cheese!
Served with hot wild boar liver cheese!
Santa looking askance (at the wild boar liver cheese?)
Santa looking askance (at the wild boar liver cheese?)
Did I mention the food? We took some of this speck (ham) and cheese home with us and it is truly awesome.
Did I mention the food? We took some of this speck (ham) and cheese home with us and it is truly awesome.
In the Old Town: little street, big lights.
In the Old Town: little street, big lights.
Really BIG lights.
Really BIG lights.
Especially nice lights.
Especially nice lights.
The plague column on the Graben. With lights.
The plague column on the Graben. With lights.
Pretty, pretty, pretty.
Pretty, pretty, pretty.
St. Stephan's cathedral.
St. Stephan’s cathedral.
Karlsplatz market.
Karlsplatz market.
Punsch stand in front of the church. This is right by a major U-Bahn stop, and I think a lot of people just stop on the way home from work for a punsch.
Punsch stand in front of the church. This is right by a major U-Bahn stop, and I think a lot of people just stop on the way home from work for a punsch.
Some petting zoo sheep at the market.
Some petting zoo sheep at the market.
Christmas ornaments for sale.
Christmas ornaments for sale.
Anything bee- or honey-related is big at these markets.
Anything bee- or honey-related is big at these markets.
More (expensive) ornaments--not kitty compatible!
More (expensive) ornaments–not kitty compatible!
Cute handmade bears at the Freyung Adventmarkt.
Cute handmade bears at the Freyung Adventmarkt.
Ornaments at Am Hof.
Ornaments at Am Hof.
Insanely expensive but very artistic bird houses at Am Hof.
Insanely expensive but very artistic bird houses at Am Hof.
Nicola (not Santa!) meeting some kids at Am Hof.
Nicola (not Santa!) meeting some kids at Am Hof.
Steckenpferd (stick horses) at Karlsplatz.  Want!
Steckenpferd (stick horses) at Karlsplatz. Want!
I did buy some Santas at the thrift store for my collection.  About 2 Euros for the lot.  Now, that's my kind of shopping...
I did buy some Santas at the thrift store for my collection. About 2 Euros for the lot. Now, that’s my kind of shopping…
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4 comments

  1. Great photos! And I love the thrift-store Santas. Does that one on the right have wheels for rolling or is he trying to lift weights?

    Like

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