When we were talking about this year and the things we wanted to see, one of the high points on my list was Germany/Austria’s Christmas markets. I can’t tell you the history of the markets, (year they began, why they began), but this is where the Christmas market tradition began. So we planned a return visit to these countries with the main purpose of checking out markets, and experiencing a nice cosy/traditional German Christmas. I mentioned before that Nathan’s parents met up with us for this leg of the trip, and it was so fun sharing the experience with them J We started off in Vienna, which had markets everywhere we turned. And so much history…we took a tour of the Schonnbrunn Palace, where Mozart played his first concert for the Empress, took a quick peek in St Stephen’s Cathedral, which was also home base for a lot of world renowned musicians/composers (sorry, I am not too into classical music, so the facts didn’t really stick, but I think Handel was a choirboy here, Mozart applied to be the choir master, but passed away just before his term was to start….). Vienna was the place to be if you were a musician back in the day. And the cakes…..mmmmmm the cakes. It was a good thing we were walking so much, because the cakes and chocolates were too delicious not to eat. Vienna was a great way to get into the Christmas spirit and feel like we were getting a little bit of winter. And the Christmas markets were a lot of fun. I think my favourite one was where every booth had homemade wares to sell. There were leather goods, puppets, ceramics; all hand made, and all with something a little different. The boys had some spending money and did pretty good with buying things they wanted as well as remembering that we didn’t have a lot of space in our bags to be filled up with “stuff.”
After a week in Vienna, we headed back to one of our favourite places: Salzburg. The boys were quite happy to be back in a city we knew, and played at the park outside Hellbrunn Palace for a good hour. We checked out some more Christmas markets, and enjoyed some delicious Austrian/Hungarian food. The boys had fun playing in the snow and at the play place outside our lodgings for the weekend. Then it was down to southern Germany, where we stayed at an Airbnb in the country. We did a few day trips checking out the towns in the area, and went back to Neuschwanstein Castle, which we were able to tour this time since tours were not sold out (kinda nice not going at the height of tourist season 😉 ). The boys had fun sledding and playing at a park close to the house, but I think because it was a little colder out, and the sun is setting earlier, there weren’t any other kids their age out to play with. Drove from Wildsteig to Munich, and spent a day there in the main square. Then it was time to say goodbye to Nathan’s parents, and hop on a train to Italy. We are so glad that we went back to this area, and really felt like we got some Christmas and winter in before we head to warmer places. It is going to be different having a “warm” Christmas, and we’re not quite sure what to expect in terms of “Christmas” (decorations, music, etc on the ship and in Dubai), so these two weeks really felt like we got a “home” Christmas.
So that’s it for today…catch you on the next post 🙂