Before we arrived in Europe, Chris suggested that we might take a quick train ride to Vienna from Bratislava to enjoy the Christmas markets there. We really loved them when we visited Vienna in November 2014 — they were likely some of the most spectacular and festive Christmas markets we’d ever been to, with the stunning decorations, the gorgeous backdrop of the fully lit up Rathaus, the bright twinkling lights, and all the artisan crafts and varied foods being sold by different vendors. Plus, it would be different this time with Pookster in tow, as she could enjoy them. So late afternoon on Friday, we took a 1-hour train ride to Vienna and spent six glorious hours in Vienna. We visited the Manner wafer shop, which I don’t recall from nine years ago, but who knows, maybe it didn’t exist then! We admired all the Christmas lights and decor lining all the streets around Stephansplatz. We hopped from one Christmas market to another, all within walking distance from each other, and enjoyed local bites and gluhwein. This time around, I also noticed there were a lot more American voices than nine years ago. It could’ve just been me.
This time, I really admired all the little touches to the market to make them welcoming to young children. We took Pookster around the pathways to step up on the stools to see the little nativity and Christmas scenes lining the walking paths. She also saw the singing animals in the children’s area and enjoyed the Christmas music (and… threw a tantrum when we took her away….). She got excited when she saw the big Pepa Pig balloons with some of the vendors and repeatedly ran around the balloon area.
We picked up some Manner chocolate and wafers, a little train for Pookster, and a new handmade ceramic Christmas house to add to our growing collection (and discovered that they are no longer handmade in Germany, but now in Lithuania, likely due to cost of labor – what a surprise!). It was a quick and tiring trip, but a fun and beautiful one. It would be hard to imagine anyone visiting the stunning Vienna Christmas markets and not getting into the festive Christmas spirit. Visiting this Christmas market makes you fall in love with Christmas and everything happy it represents. It’s like you want everyone to experience the magic that is here; it just cannot be replicated back home.