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!