Vienna, Austria in Winter and the Opulent Christmas

Different views of Vienna

Different views of Vienna

It was the day before Christmas Eve when I arrived in Vienna. The air was cold but the excitement of the upcoming holiday was palpable in the air. Huge chandeliers were in the walking paths of the city and at every turn I was accosted by solicitors with pamphlets to go see some concert.  I was meeting Joy the next day so I wanted to see some of the museums before we met.  Walking through Vienna, if there is one word to describe it, then it would have to be grand.  The variety of architecture from Baroque to Romanesque keeps the aura of opulence very much alive in this city.

I wanted to see the Leopold Museum and the Kunsthistoriches Museum before the end of the day.  Good thing they are right next to each other in the Museumquartier.  Plus, it was a nice way to get out of the biting cold that is the winter wind through the streets.  For anybody, the most noticeable paintings would be the ones from Gustav Klimt and that was where most of my attention was focused upon.  Although, my guide books say they were only minor paintings, I was still very impressed.

As I took Tram 1 for a quick tour of the city, I saw the Christmas market.  The Christmas market in front of the Rathaus (City Hall) spilled out from the plaza right to the street. They were different kinds of decorations strung up in the trees. One had candy canes. Another with golden stars. And one curious one with animals but mostly penguins. Christmas lights were strung all over the place. I went to go find some Glühwein to keep warm. I wore my Santa hat that I bought in Stuttgart in celebration of Christmas. Any Christmas market you find in Europe will be kitsch central and it’s glorious. Unless you are jaded with a heart of stone, it’s hard not to smile and recall childhood memories of the tchotchkes you would get. I took another turn around the market without buying anything and headed back to my hostel.

Parting Words

I think more than anyplace with a Christmas market, Vienna has probably the most lavish decorations out of anywhere I have seen.  Those chandeliers hanging above the pedestrian street had to be about 6-8 feet tall and with a 5 feet radius.  The Nuremberg Christmas market might be bigger and the market in Bad Wimpfen in Germany might have more character, but there is no denying the grandeur that is Vienna during Christmas time.  And I suspect that it is grand any other time of year too.

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About the Author

John is always trying to find his way back to the road. He has an affinity for Germany due to his three years studying German at Cal, and a year working as an intern in the Stuttgart area. He also likes chocolate cake and good cheese.