This weekend we were in Budapest for the opera and decided to drive over to Vienna on Saturday to experience the renowned Christmas market there. It wasn’t the most ideal day to make the two hour trip. As Wallace Stevens wrote: It was evening all afternoon. And as soon as we passed over the border into Austria, the atmosphere let loose its blizzard on us. We were never so thankful for our Audi Quattro’s 4-wheel drive as this weekend (or was it last year when we were in another snow emergency near Shtulek-Semmering and a spiteful, malfunctioning GPS nearly sent us up a no-car, rangers-only mountain pass?).
The weather did not deter the crowd, however, and after waiting for 20 minutes in line at the Starbucks to use the women’s restroom, we walked around Volksgarten (built over the city walls destroyed by Napoleon) and made our way to the main Christmas market.
Nearly too crowded to enjoy, we still tried to snap a few pictures of the place. Like all Christmas markets, the delicious aroma of mulled wine wafted through the air, mixing with sweets, roasting chestnuts, and the alluring spice of grilled sausages. Györgyi and I shared one that was wrapped in a sweet batter. Note that I said we SHARED one. And that is the real Christmas miracle of the market trip, because I could have slammed like twenty of those babies.
If you are in the area during the holidays, the Vienna Christmas markets are a must, if only for the sake of tradition and to get yourself into the holiday spirit. Though I must say, staunch biases aside, that the Budapest Christmas market is better. Hoppá!