Friday, December 2, 2011

Wiener Christkindlmarkt

On Wednesday, my boyfriend, Michi Schmieder, took me to visit the Christmas markets in Vienna.  The Vienna Christmas market, or Wiener Christkindlmarkt in German, has been a special attraction to Vienna residents and visitors for more than 700 years.  Merchants and traders gather to form a market for potentially selling their products (sweets, toys, clothes, jewelry, and other Christmas goods).  Once we got into the city, there were several Christmas markets around the area, but we found a parking spot near Rathaus, or city hall, where a large Christmas market was located. 

An alignment of small huts created a market in front of the hall.  The smell of candied apples, roasted chestnuts (maroni), pretzels (Bretzeln), and glühwein formed an aroma in the air.  Glühwein is a traditional beverage offered and drunk in German-speaking countries during the Christmas holidays.  It is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, vanilla pods, cloves, citrus, and sugar.

We had glühwein on Sunday when we went to a soccer game, so we decided to have punsch this time.  Punsch is similar to glühwein in that it is also a traditional warm beverage in Austria.  It contains rum-marinated orange slices or berries that are usually prepared in a cup of hot-spiced red wine, like glühwein.  We had the berry punch, or Beeren Punsch.  It was delicious.  It tasted similar to a hot, berry-flavored tea.  I enjoyed it even more because it brought some warmth to my freezing body.

As we drank our punch in the cold Austrian weather, Michi was hungry, like all boys usually are.  He ordered langos toast, which was like a fried dough with meat and cheese in the middle.   We continued to drink our punch and we ate our langos toast.  Of course, Michi ate two on his own.

After we finished our drinks and food, we proceeded to look around the market for Christmas gifts for my family back home in America.  We stopped at one hut that made fresh crepes, so we tried one.  It was a warm rolled-crepe with Nutella and banana slices inside.  It was even more delicious than the punch!

As we walked around some more, we met up with Michi's brother, Alexander.  He bought us another round of punch.  After we finished this round of punch, we walked through the market once more.  Michi stopped at another hut and ordered some roasted chestnuts, or maroni, since I have never tried them.  They were also really good.

Once we finished shopping and walking around the market, we went to a nearby restaurant to have a couple beers.  It definitely was nice being in a warm atmosphere rather than the cold outdoor area of the market.  After we finished our beers, we went to his brother's apartment, which was located about 15 minutes outside the city.  There, I met his girlfriend, dog, and two cats.  After spending some time with his brother, we drove nearly an hour back home to Mürzzuschlag.  I had a great day seeing the Wiener Christkindlmarkt for the first time, and especially tasting all the delicious food and drinks!


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