It is freezing in Vienna! Since we arrived two days ago, our bodies – still on Mexico time – have been trying to cope with the extreme temperature change. We’ve equiped ourselves with warm coats, scarfs, gloves, hats, you name it and once you feel confident every inch of your body is covered, you can finally start to enjoy this impressive city.
One of my favourite things at this time of the year are without a doubt the beautiful Christmas markets. They pop up in many neighborhoods in the city but there are some that have a more special atmosphere and offer original and unique gifts. Gastronomy choices are also important if you want to taste some Austrian specialties and drink something warm like the famous gluehwein which is warm wine with spices, or 5 varieties of hot chocolate. I even managed to find hot chocolate with chili!
The first market, I chose, near Karlsplatz, is not the biggest but has a very charming atmosphere. As it is not as crowded as the main Christmas market at Rathaus, you can stroll more at ease and stop at your pace in the wonderful stalls. It is also very children friendly as they can run around and even roam a bit without you losing sight of them. We met my brother in law and his baby daughter whom we had never met. Although the two cousins had never met, it was like they recognized each other as playmates and were happy to play a bit and walk about.
When we arrived at the market, the first stand that greets you is the one advertising the warm and comforting gluehwein. You can see how Austrians seem oblivious to the cold and are enjoying themselves.
We started with a delicious Austrian Bauernkrapfen, which means peasant krapfen. It has a similar consistency to donut dough but it is bigger, flatter and in the middle they spread jam or if you prefer a salty accompaniment, sauerkraut as you can see in the picture. Legend says the original krapfen was invented in the 17th century in Vienna by a lady baker who – upset at her apprentice – threw a ball at him that landed in a pot of boiling fat. When she took it out she found it had become a delicious pastry.
We decided on the red currant marmelade topping, dusted with sugar. It comes out warm and is very comforting when you feel so cold.
The artisans at the Karlsplatz Christmas market are very proud, because their handicrafts and art are original, there is no place here for mass produced wares. Everyday from midday onwards they show how their wares are created. There are real unique handicraft items different from what you see everywhere else.
Even the winter hats can be very original
As well as different kinds of woodwork
In the center of the market there is a wonderful place for children with live animals to pet, carts and other games
There is even this original carrousel which is completely powered by the two ladies on the bicycles
You leave feeling inspired by the whole atmosphere and by what you saw and tasted. You almost don’t feel the cold anymore, almost…
Before you leave you admire one last time the beautiful baroque catholic Karlskirche