Travel

Vienna, Austria

Christian and I planned a weekend in Vienna during the Christmas season months and months ago.  I had read how beautiful the city is decorated for the holidays and there are tons of Christmas markets.  They weren’t wrong!  We flew out early Saturday morning, arrived at Vienna’s airport and then took the CAT (city airport train) into the city center.  From there, we walked the quiet, morning streets to our hotel.  We stayed at the luxurious Park Hyatt Vienna.  Christian booked this hotel with some points and I felt completely spoiled.  The room was so spacious, the hotel interior was gorgeous and the breakfast buffet was amazing!  After checking in, we decided to start exploring.  We had no plans to see anything specific in the city except for a visit to Hotel Sacher and to see all the Christmas markets at night. 

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I was hoping to have Sacher-Torte at Hotel Sacher, while we were in Vienna.  Sacher-Torte is a rich, chocolate cake with a layer of apricot marmalade.  Christian has brought back Sacher-Torte from his trips to Vienna, so I have had the pleasure of the original.  Unfortunately, the wait to get in the café was too long, so we ended up just going into the hotel shop and picked up a small cake for us to share. 

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If you google Vienna Christmas market, a picture of the Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz will show up.  It is the market that is right in front of the town hall.  It is a huge market and very picturesque from a distance!  Our advice is to stand on the opposite side of the street, take a picture and then turn around and find another Christmas market to visit.  It is so crowded and so commercialized, it isn’t worth actually walking through the market.  There is also a really nice ice skating rink next to it but it is also very crowded.  There are so many other markets, you will easily find another one where you can enjoy your Glühwein without being jostled.

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Right across from our hotel was the Weihnachtsmarkt am Hof, a small but not overly crowded market. 

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We visited the Weihnachtsmarkt am Spittelberg after dinner.  It was lined up on a couple narrow streets and seemed to be a locals favorite as well.  On our walk home, we also passed another couple markets and walking through the shopping streets were also a treat with all the lights. 

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On Sunday, after our filling breakfast buffet at the hotel (the scrambled eggs with truffles was my favorite part), we walked to the Hofburg.  This is the winter residence of the Habsburgs, the imperial family, as well as the government seat and administrative center.  We were originally going to go to a park near the river shore (Danube) but it was still so cold that we decided it would be better to spend some time indoors.  At the Hofburg, you can visit the Royal Apartments (Kaiserappartements), the Sisi Museum and view the Silver collection (Silberkammer).  We started with the Silver Collection, which was interesting to me as it had examples of the many dishes, silver dishes, utensils and banquets used by the royals.  Then we walked pretty quickly through the Sisi Museum, which was a very modern multimedia display of the life of Empress Elisabeth.  Where finally we walked through the apartments occupied by Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth.

I took a few pictures in the Silberkammer until Christian said I probably wasn’t allowed.  Look at all these dishes!

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Even though it was lunch time, we still weren’t very hungry after our trip to the Hofburg but picked up a treat at Demel because it was recommended and based on the lines to get in, very popular and worth it!  We checked out of the hotel, dropped off our luggage at the CAT station before taking a train to Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Habsburgs.  They have a beautiful Christmas market set-up in front of the palace.  It is such a great setting and they had some really nice homemade items worth looking at or even purchasing.  I am wimp and we didn’t stay too long at the market before I complained of being too cold, so we took the train back to the CAT station and headed to the airport. 

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It was a quick visit to Vienna and we didn’t see most of the things one is supposed to see while visiting but we were happy with just walking through the city and partaking in all the Christmas festivities!

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