21 December 2008

Vienna Christkindlmarkt (Adventsmarkt)

Decemember is Christmas Market season in Vienna. There are dozens of markets scattered all around the city. The tradition dates to the 1200s.
The markets sell a huge assortment of items, but I really like seeing all the Christmas ornaments (which are way too expensive for the most part) but still beautiful.
Elora likes the toys. There are a lot of different wooden toys, hand puppets, puzzles, etc. Chris broke down and bought her a toy at the first Christmas market we went to, so every day since she says, "Let's go to the Christmas Market and buy toys!" We did manage to help her pick out a toy to give to Oliver for Christmas. Then she told Oliver that he needed to buy her a duck. We tried to explain that he was going to pick out what he wanted to give her, and she said, "Oliver will buy me a present, and it will be a duck."

Of course there are always lots of chocolates and treats to eat...
This market is my favorite. It is at the Schonbrunn Palace, and it is in the middle of a big square so there are lots of booths and Elora could run around without getting lost in a maze of booths.

They also have this awesome stand where they cook you a fresh donut when you order it and fill it with chocolate, vanilla, or apricot filling. Soooo gooooooood.

This market was at the Wilhelminenberg Palace on the top of a huge hill, so it was really windy and freezing cold. They had an ice skating rink that overlooked the city of Vienna though, so it would be really beautiful at night.

There are a lot of booths with gingerbread and fruitcake. The gingerbread booths are fun, they have all kinds of cookies, houses, ornaments and such, but who is buying all the fruitcake?

This is the market at the Rathaus, which is the city hall, but I prefer the fitting title of Rat-House. It is the biggest market, and as the locals say, "too commercial". But it also has the best selection of baked goods and candy.

Here are the baked goods. Mmmmm. Nuff said.

This is the Karlskirche. There is a huge area with hay and a nativity with real goats and sheep. Elora loved the hay. She ran out into it, and then laid down in the soggy wet hay, because baby Jesus lays down in the hay.

Here is Chris checking out the huge blocks of cheese. I don't know how he can stand it, these cheese booths smell so nasty... You can smell them from ten booths away. Chris loves the smell, and says it reminds him of his dear old papa's socks.

Yeah, I don't know what they sell at this booth. Actually it is jewelry. Go figure, they are naming the people who buy this horribly expensive costume jewelry.

This is the Spittelberg market, where all the locals go. It is up and down narrow streets, and filled with people going to the hot punch stands. It's like happy hour outside in the cold. And I got a new hat, that I am wearing in the picture. So excited, it is way warm and only cost me 7 Euro.

This is at the Museums Quartier, which is where the natural history and art museums are. This one rocks, because it sells royal pancakes, which are like chunks of fried pancake dough that they put powdered sugar and plum sauce on. Amazing! And they sell these little dumplings filled with chocolate or strawberry. Also so good. A little funny though, they play cheesy American Christmas songs, like "Jingle Bell Rock". A little out of place, but festive I suppose.

This is the Belvedere Palace. I loved this one too, because the lights on the fountain were so pretty, and we got some awesome handpainted glass for cheap.

Elora said we should put up this picture. She doesn't look it, but she was so excited to ride on the train. They had these little trains at a couple of the markets, and it was actually pretty cheap to ride on. Elora was so happy to ride "Thomas". There was even a button that made the horn blow.
There are way more markets, and there are little stands all over the city. It is a really neat time of year to see them all. If anyone wants to visit next year, it really is a neat time to see the city, with all the markets and Christmas lights up. It makes the cold weather worth it!

Check out our picture gallery for more pictures of our European adventures as well as hiking trips in Utah and family photos.

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