So on Friday night we drove down to Gatwick, as we had a super early flight the next morning- getting up at 5am was not my favourite way to start the weekend, but it turned out well in the end.
We dropped our bags at the hotel and headed out on a walk- it was pretty cold but not as freezing as it could have been (yet).
There were plenty of little Christmas markets on street corners- I love seeing all the gingerbread houses.
Plus plenty of very grand buildings- neither of us had been before and it was a great city to walk around- I think it would be lovely in the summer too as there were so many parks.
Just like in Cologne (we went there last year) all the markets had different cups- when you bought Gluwein (mulled wine) or any hot drink (Andy had that whereas I had a hot chocolate), you pay a deposit (a couple of Euros) and then get that back when you return the cup.
There were a few bigger markets that we walked to- in the day they were not too busy so we could look at what was on offer (and take photos).
Yet another market, by this church (cathedral?) with the most impressive patterned roof.
The gingerbread stalls were my favourite- we bought one to take home as we had one last year and it was just so good. Although some of the phrases piped onto them were a bit amusing- #yolo or #b*tch being the strangest two.
We had a rest in the hotel for a bit before heading out in the darkness to see the beautiful lights. I was not sure about food options, thinking it would be all sausages and stew, but there were a few veggie options about (although one market was so huge that you had to just get something when you saw it as you might not find it again)- I ended up having a jacket potato with cheese (my German is not the best, but I could translate that for sure) and Andy had a bread bowl filled with tomato soup- just like Boudins in San Francisco!
We went back to the biggest two markets, and they were just so pretty (but also rammed).
There were plenty of lanterns in the trees, including cupcake ones!
We were pretty shattered (and also freezing- it was so much colder after dark) so headed back for a long sleep- according to my vivofit I walked 29,000 steps- not too shabby! On Sunday we got a train pass and went out to the Schonbrunn Palace which is a big palace (over 1000 rooms) with enormous gardens- perfect for a walk. It also had a large Christmas market.
After a little walk around we fancied a warm drink – Andy again got the mulled wine, and I noticed on one menu an After Eight hot chocolate, and it stated alcohol free. The day before when I ordered my hot chocolate they asked if I wanted cream (I can’t remember what the word is, but it is a long word but it was written on the menu so I was prepared…) and I didn’t but this time they didn’t ask (and it wasn’t written so I didn’t think it would be included). The lady poured out the hot chocolate, covered it in cream and then stuck an actual after eight chocolate in the cream! I am not a huge fan of cream, but I put up with it because it held the chocolate in place!
Then we walked to the top of the hill for stunning view of the gardens and Vienna.
Then we walked back to the main building, had another mooch around the market before getting the train back to the city centre. I was going to buy a few gifts, but the shops had shut by the time we got back, plus we had hand luggage only so I was a bit limited with what I could bring back.
Our flight wasn’t until 9pm so we had time to re-visit our favourite markets before collecting our bags and heading to the airport. We still managed 22,000 steps for the Sunday- impressive!
It was a great weekend away- the flight was under 2 hours and because we didn’t check bags it was really speedy at both ends. The train from the airport to the city centre takes 16 minutes, and the centre was really walk-able too, with plenty of markets around.
Now we need to decide where to go next year! So far we have been to Copenhagen, Bruges, Cologne and Vienna, and I must say that the Germanic ones win so far for festiveness, food and gifts. I mean, last year I had a marzipan and nutella filled crepe, this year a marzipan pretzel- sounds good right?
Are you a fan of Christmas markets? I love that they are becoming more common over here too- we are off to Bath in a few weeks as theirs is always a nice one too.
What Christmassy food would you go for at a market like that?