Christmas Markets in Vienna
January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
When I was booking my Finnair winter promo ticket to Europe, I was thinking: There wouldn’t be lots of beautiful sunny day, it would be cold and dark, shops close early, even museums have a shorter visiting hours. If I must do this trip in winter, I should do it in…December! It can’t go wrong with the all Christmas decorations along the streets, and after dark, there would be still a bunch of Christmas markets going on all over the place!
I went into a Christmas market in front of the Helsinki Cathedral during my brief visit to the city, but it wasn’t a really big one. Perhaps it was not yet in its full swing, as it was around noon. So seeing the Christmas markets in Vienna, for the first time, was amazing! There were lots of cute little things: handmade soap bar, objects hand carved out of wood, beautiful candle holder, jewellery, pottery…… It was a wonderful place to shop for Christmas gift. See the pictures below:
Walking around a Christmas market, you cannot ignore the smell of gluhwein, basically it’s hot wine. That’s quite the best idea for shopping outdoor in the winter. I guess, the alcohol also help the shoppers to loosen up, and make more unnecessary purchases. For the food, you can always find grilled sausages, fruit covered by delicious chocolate (I can never get over those chocolate covered strawberries), sweet cake, cookies, nougat, “honig”, jam, ginger bread, different types of roasted nuts in sugar…even pasta, crepe, cheese, dried meat, mash potatoes and soup. I’m sure you can get a full stomach in any christmas market, just head to somewher with a crowd, or look for the smokiest stall. (Someone advised me that they only had little snacks in Christmas Markets, and wouldn’t fill me up… that’s just lies)
At Schonbrunn, I smelled something fried. Then I found the source… with the longest queue in the entire market. It’s something called “spiral kartoffel”. Basically, they have a machine to slice the potatoes into very thin slices, often in spiral form. Then they fry it right away. So when the ultra-crispy potato “chips” arrived in your hand, they are still hot! That, was the most delicious potatoe chips I’ve ever tried. I totally should import that machine to Hong Kong. Consider the street food culture here, I’d become a very rich girl.
I really enjoy checking out all every Christmas markets. I can always find something nice there, and fill up my stomach inexpensively. Visiting one after doing the whole tourist thing during the day, was the best way to end a busy day. Also, every country’s markets are slightly different, mostly, it’s the food that set the difference.
Note: Hot wine cost around 2 to 5 euro per cup, depends on where you are and if it’s some fancy flavor combination. They always serve it in a mug, so, be prepared to pay deposit for it. Usually the deposit is 2euro, which you get can get it back when you return the mug.