Last Sunday was brisk but sunny, and a perfect day for a drive out to one of the “top” holiday markets from the list that the Niederösterreich tourism folks kindly compile each season. Our market of choice was at Schloss Rosenburg, a Renaissance Schloss towering above the River Kamp from atop a cliff. The setting alone is worth the short drive.

img_9989

We have visited Rosenburg previously for its spectacular birds of prey demonstration; this visit, however, was for lunch and the market. In a first (and it only took four years!) I not only ordered the fried Karpfen (carp), but loved it, too! For reasons unknown to me I have been wickedly averse to the fish; I guess it took the very limited tavern menu (Schnitzel and Fleisch Knodel, a dumpling ball stuffed with minced meat being the other options) to win me over.

img_9994

Most of the market was inside the palace, though the grounds were open for exploration. A few outside vendors in the courtyard offered various Glühwein and culinary treats from the Waldviertel.

Weaving our way through the palace rooms we enjoyed not only the decor (antlers!) but also the variety of handcrafted items, bringing home two small Christmas stocking gifts and lots of inspiration. Holiday music was playing; the artisans were eager to talk about their work; and the spirit was merry. And so pleasantly uncommercial.

Nativity scenes are a serious matter in Austria. One room of the palace was devoted to the projects of, “Krippe Wien,” a group that offers courses in building these elaborate creche.  This nativity scene in particular caught our attention. The Holy Family and the Angel seemed obvious, but just who the man sleeping near the cellar was stumped us.

img_0019

This, “pile of something” had intrigued me on the way to the Schloss. Of course Tony obliged by pulling off the road on the drive home. And of course I traipsed through the farmer’s field for a closer look. Can you guess? Celery Roots!

img_0087