When setting up our trip we needed a long layover in Europe, and Vienna was a familiar place for it since it is relatively easy to get into town from the airport, plus – Christmas markets!
On arrival Vienna was very foggy and it was hard to see the ground on landing. We had already cleared immigration in Brussels and I had a stockpile of Euros from previous trips, so it was a quick walk to the train area for RT tickets into town.
We both had carry-on bags and backpacks with us but we figured we could stash everything in a locker in the main train station. It turns out that not all locker storage areas are created equal. In Brussels there is a sea of storage lockers, but in Vienna? About twenty lockers (all full) with several people sadly standing in front of them waiting for one to open up.
We weren’t going to waste our time with that nonsense, so we decided to try dropping our luggage off at the front desk of a hotel we had stayed in previously. It worked!
Most retail stores were closed because it was a Sunday, so many of the markets were even more packed than our previous trips in November. We started with the cosy, centrally located Am Hof Advent Market, one of our favorites.
Just across the street was the Christmas Market on Freyung which had a mix of hand-made items one side and organic food on the other.
We ducked into a passageway that happened to have Xocolat, a boutique chocolatier, where we purchased a few Christmas gifts. From there we continued to the main Vienna market, which turned out to be very crowded and more expensive than the others.
Tired of the crowd jostling we headed back to Am Hof. The kartopfelpuffen was disappointingly small, but at least we were able to enjoy it. Freyung’s market had nice red mugs for our growing Christmas market-themed collection, so we went there for our hot mulled wine. At a neighboring stall Eric spotted a chocolate coconut cookie that was tasty too.
Eric warming his hands with a mug of gluhwein.
As dusk set in we grabbed our bags and took the train back to the airport to await our next leg of flights that would get us to Taiwan at long last.