Touring the Christmas Markets in Vienna
Where do we go for Christmas markets? When we got some date the prices were exorbitant, but this year finally I was able to tour the Christmas markets in Vienna. There was the other option to go during Spring in April, but in the end we opted for Munich. So when summer came, the idea of going to Vienna took shape to see the flea markets in Vienna.
For flights, there were companies with stopovers, but after giving it a spin we decided that for a few days it was better to go direct. After looking at prices on several pages, I asked a friend who has an agency about the prices of flights to Vienna. They look for us the hotel. It was well priced with breakfast, clean, and about 10 minutes from the Cathedral!
So now that there is already a hotel, flight, Lonely Planet guide to Vienna, and other websites, it's time for me to fasten my belts.
Our plane was supposed to leave in the morning. A month before, they send me an email and they tell me that the flight has been changed to 3:30 pm. The day before, we went to buy winter clothing. We went by bus and arrived around 12:30, from the station to the airport. We eat a sandwich, coffee and after a couple of laps we embark on the plane.
About 10 minutes before the scheduled time we arrived in Vienna. We buy tickets for the direct train that goes from the Airport to Wien Mitte. We went to the platform and at 7:36, we boarded the train to the center of Vienna. As soon as we left the station, we noticed a breath of cold air, and a lot of wind.
First we took the right direction but we thought we were wrong, and changed the address, but then we realized that it could not be. So we took the previous road, and with map in hand, in about 15 minutes we arrive at the hotel. After check-in and and without opening the suitcase, because it was 8:30 we went to find a place to dine.
We ended up in an area that we liked a lot, and then discovered that it was frequented by the Viennese. It was a typical tavern, and the first thing that caught our attention is the strong smell of cigarette on entering. Here people can smoke in the bars, but the truth is that we were surprised!
We had the famous breaded steak, and some spinach meatballs. At the end of dinner, we see that there was a ice cream parlor nearby. We went in and ordered a two-flavored ice cream, and I took my first punsch. The difference between punsch and hot wine is considerable. I had tasted wine in Berlin and Munich, and I liked it.
The punsch is much stronger, and there are several types. That day I put the orange, and the truth is that it was a bomb, but it was so cold that I do not care much! When we left, it was close to 11 at night. We tried to find some flea market, but they were all closed. We took a couple of photos of the cathedral, and the first Christmas shops we saw, and we went back to the hotel, frozen! The cold was getting into your bones. As we were tired, we fell asleep soon.
At 7:30 the alarm sounds. It seems incredible that we are on vacation. After a hot shower, we have breakfast, and get out on the cold street. We walk to the City Hall near the hotel. It is next to Freyung Street, where is the Kinsky Palace. There was the tourist office. After the Rathaus, the town hall, and after a round, we go to the Schonbrunn Palace.
When we arrived at the Palace, it is snowing, and there are many people. There are buses with Japanese and a lot of Italian tourists. When we enter the Palace, chaos is absolute. There are long queues. We do not know where to put ourselves, nor if we should put ourselves. Finally, we put ourselves in a queue to buy the access ticket to the palaces.
The fact is that after making the queue, when I get to the machine, I look for the Sisi Ticket, but it does not appear. After a while I discovered that Sisi tickets are not sold on the machine. I cannot believe it! In short, I return to make a new queue, this time in the sale of manual tickets, but not knowing if we were going to get the Sisi Ticket. There is no one to ask, and there is only chaos of tourists, and tour operators.
Fortunately, the line goes fast, and finally after a while, we have our Sisi Ticket. We went to the palace, and they gave us the audio guide like in Salzburg. Austrians know how to do their audio guides! After seeing the palace, I see that the sun had risen, although the cold was still unbearable. We began to walk through the gardens.
The water in the fountain was freezing! We climbed walking to the roundabout! After arriving at the top the views of the palace are very beautiful. And not only of the palace, but of the city as well. It starts to snow again, but we want to see the christmas market.
The snow stops, and so we take a walk around the market. There are ball stands, cribs, snowmen and many food stalls with punsch and mulled wine. As we feel cold we decided to have a hot wine. It was good, but not as much as what the Germans do. In Munich and Berlin, where we have tried it the truth is that it is spectacular. Here it is not bad, but the truth is that German is much better in our opinion.
We see the market, after the wine recess! It begins to snow this time with great force. We decided to leave there, and go by subway to Belvedere. When we left the subway, we went in the opposite direction to Belvedere Palace. It was cold and after about 20 minutes we started to think that with a map in hand, the Palace can not be that far.
So we retrace our steps, but we get lost, and at the end we see a tram that passes next to the Palace, in the lower part, and we decided to take it. I was hungry and as the tram has left us almost at the door, we went there to eat. For dessert they give cottage cheese and apricot. I try a spoonful and it is very good, but I am very full.
When leaving at 4.30, it is already dark. We walked through the gardens of the Belvedere, which we did not think to enter, and we took some pictures. As we could not see anything else, for the light of life, we decided to go to see Christmas markets, but those that are more in the outskirts. We played Schonbrunn, and Prater. The first although we had seen it during the day, we wanted to see it at night because the location seemed very nice, and the second because we felt like it.
But before going there we took a walk through the Belvedere market, although this did not have much people, or stalls. We took the tram, went down to the center, took the metro in the Opera, and from there to Schonbrunn. There was a lot of people, and a group of elderly people singing Christmas carols.
We took photos, walked, but there were more and more people and it was quite oppressive. So we went back to the subway, and this time towards the Prater amusement park. There were less people there. There was a group playing, salsa songs, of Shakira. We took half a punch of the apricot. It was very good. We danced for a while, as the Viennese did! We took a walk through the amusement park and then we went back to the center.
We arrived at the Opera, and at 9:30 and with hardly any hunger after having eaten so late, we decided that our dinner would be the Sachertorte! When entering a girl tells us that we have to leave the coats in the closet. After leaving them, we went to the cafeteria. We took pieces of sacher cake and tea. The chocolate covered is very good, but the cake in general is nothing great.
We walked to Karlsplatz, we rested in the Christmas market that had a lot but a lot of people. There at Karlplatz, we went for a walk around the market, and we had a punch. We decided to try one called Beerpunsch, thinking it was beer and to know what that concoction was, and what was our surprise when we saw that it had raspberries, and fruits of the forest. Beer in German is Berry in English!
There was a group of soldiers singing Christmas carols. The truth is that we liked them a lot. From there we went to the cathedral area. We saw the Christmas illumination of the streets, the market of the cathedral that we thought was the dullest, and we walked along Garben Street.
Anyway, it's late. We go back walking through Albertina, Hofburg, and we passed through Am Hof. The flea market is next to the hotel, but it's already closing, and we go back to rest. It's been a long day, and we're tired. I think I fell asleep before going to bed!
The alarm clock sounds at 8.15. We have shower, and breakfast and go down to the street. The day was great. It was cold, but a very nice sun encouraged us to visit the city. We pass in front of the Votive Church (Votivkirche). We decided to continue enjoying the day. The map is hardly necessary, since from this point we could see what our next stop would be. In front of the town hall, the huge Christmas market full of punch stalls, and different handmade gifts gets livelier.
We ordered a cone of roasted potatoes and crossed the street market towards the Burgtheater. We continue to the nearby Parliament, which is truly spectacular especially the mosaic on the door. A little further on, we found a hotdog stand in a tram station and we eat. They are mammoth. I cannot resist asking for my currywurst. The sausage is accompanied by a ketchup and curry sauce, but it does not even reach the ones made in Hamburg, I must say.
In the Maria Theresien Platz, where there is another huge Christmas market, we get assaulted by the first concert salesman. On both sides of the square, the two imposing buildings that we can see are the Museum of Art History and the Museum of Natural History. We agree to continue walking down the street. We do it crossing the Burggarten, where we can see the mythical statue of Mozart full of tourists taking pictures, and the lonely statue of Francisco I.
In front of the Albertina, there is the Vienna tourist office, where we take a little bit of warmth and we take the opportunity to connect to wifi. We pass behind the treasure chamber and arrive at Michaeler Square, where the imperial apartments are. They are two beautiful buildings, but as are all we have seen so far. They are also in perfect condition.
We continue on our way to St. Stephen's Cathedral, passing by Graben Street. Here there are some Art Nouveau bathrooms designed by Adolf Loss and a sculpture that recalls the end of the plague epidemic. In St. Stephen's Square (Stephansplatz), we are assaulted by the second concert salesman. This does not offer us a student price, but it tries to convince us in the worst way possible.
We could not avoid the laughter, of course. We do not enter the cathedral, and leave it for another time. Our next goal was the Hoher Markt, where the Ankeruhr is located. This is a clock in Art Nouveau style. It is beautiful, with figurines that are passing and indicating the time. At 12 o'clock they all pass in procession, but although we tried another day, we did not see them.
We decided that it is time to try the famous Punsch and go to a market that is in front of the Kunstforum. In the Kunstforum there was an exhibition of Toulouse Lautrec that we would have liked to see but in the end we did not see. In return we took an hot Apfelpunsch. The things as they are, the punch is nice. I warmed my hands with it and when it had cooled down, I drank it happily.
We return to the town hall market to see it at night. Now it is beautiful with the lights but full of people. It is quite oppressive. We decided to go back to the hotel, take a short break and go out to dinner in the area.
The chosen restaurant is near the hotel and comes recommended in the Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor. The bad thing is that they have no place and we have to eat in the smoking area. The consequent taint of snuff remains in the clothes and then leads to the room.
We ordered a Schnitzel, of course, a pumpkin soup and a spectacular chocolate cake. It's the Sussitorte. As soon as we finished, we practically ran to the hotel to sleep, because we were too tired.