A cringe-worthy post came across one of my Vienna social media news feeds last week: “Last year I went on a Christmas Market crawl and it was awesome! If anyone is interested I would love to arrange one for the group?”
It is more than enough for me that the online presence of my adopted hometown has been taken over bloggers who only see the city for its “Best This” and “Top Ten That;” and like wearing flip-flops and sloshing Sturm from a plastic cup on a vineyard hike, traipsing from Glühwein stall to Glühwein stall is Just. Wrong.
But on to my post. As an antidote to this depressing notion, Tony and I attended the tree lighting on Saturday at Vienna’s Grand Dame, the Wiener Christkindlmarkt, heralding the start of the holiday season. This year’s tree is from Vorarlberg, and it sparkled majestically against the back drop of City Hall.
We wandered about with the merry-makers, braving the masses whenever there appeared an opening to investigate one stall or another, even managing to adopt four adorable gnomes looking for a home. The snack of choice, of course, being sausage and Glühwein.
On Sunday the weather lacked holiday market spirit, but was otherwise ideal for a visit to, “Miniature-Tirolerland,” a model train and hobbyist’s dream. Open seasonally, this exhibit was entirely delightful, drawing families, train enthusiasts, and even the two of us.
I won’t offer many spoilers. We spent more than an hour moving through the imaginary Tirolean villages as their daily life progressed from morning into the night, each examination of a scene offering something new.
Plenty of whimsy, a tiny bit of which is perhaps not so family-friendly. In this animated scene, women are beating their rugs to remove dust and debris.
But when one expands their view…😳
Nearby, the evening drive-in cinema was attracting more than just persons in motor vehicles.
A winter scene, complete with Christmas market and holiday travelers.
A Berg Kirtag was underway in a neighboring village, with a carnival to be envied.
And on and on the simple amusements went. The exhibit space also offers a small Beisl where one can sample and purchase Tirolean products. I rarely shy away from anything Tirolean, but on this afternoon my gastronomic heartstrings were being called to a Thai restaurant in the near that serves the most luscious creations this side of the goodness of a restaurant in my American postal code, the likes of which were even frequented by Thai leaders visiting the U.S.
And with lunch, our Tannenbaum, Tirolean, and Thai Food weekend came to a close.