Our first day in Vienna was more like a half day as we arrived around 3pm and the sun was already well on it’s way to setting for the evening. We settled into our very lovely room at the Le Meridian near Karlsplatz then set off on foot to explore Vienna and visit the large Christmas market in front of the Rathaus.
The street decorations did not disappoint. All the main shopping drags were lit up spectacularly and many of the stores were dripping with Christmas lights.
After a very convoluted path led by all the decorated streets, somehow Eric managed to get us to the main market which was bustling even on a Wednesday night. He snapped a few photos while I explored the stalls for ornaments and gifts.
We bought several pretzels from the Brezel stand twice on our trip – one savory (cheese), one sweet (chocolate and powdered sugar), and one standard.
After we had our fill of market fare we wandered about some more and discovered at least four other small Christmas markets – all with their individual mugs describing the location (and sponsors) of that particular market. I really enjoyed the fact that hot beverages were served in these mugs which you could either keep (as we did) or return to get your 1-2 Euro deposit back. From the amount of people at these markets it’s a good thing locals returned the cups!
We weren’t hungry enough for a full dinner, so we headed back to the hotel and asked about a nearby local wine bar to get a glass (or two) of Austrian wine. The concierge recommended a wonderful place just two blocks away named Weinquartier.
Not only were the wine prices reasonable, we were also served a complimentary basket of bread and olive oil. Eric had no trouble picking out his whites but the reds were a bit more intimidating to me, so our server (perhaps also the owner?) let me sample a few wines to see what I liked best. What a lovely way to end our first day in Austria!