Repatriate Games


Christmas Markets

Schloss Grafenegg Adventmarkt, a Rare Return Visit

Call us holiday market connoisseurs. When the Niederösterreich newsletter arrived in my inbox, listing the “most beautiful markets,” of the season  I pored over it like I once did the Toys R Us catalog as a I child. And why not?  So many palaces and castles that rarely open to the public fill their rooms with holiday greenery and handcrafted, locally produced goods for just one weekend, making visit feel like a mini-holiday. Add in a spectacular setting, and we are happy daytrippers. With so many markets to choose from, though, we have only made rare return visits in our soon-to-be four Christmases in Vienna.

Christmas Market-ing in the Salzkammergut: Wolfgangseer Advent

St. Gilgen, St. Wolfgang, and Strobl are the three villages trimming Lake Wolfgang, about an hour east of Salzburg. We spent a magical day between the villages, cheerily dressed for the holidays and with their glittering Advent markets offering something for everyone. The day was easily the highlight of our Salzkammergut holiday. Enjoy.

Christmas Market-ing in the Salzkammergut: Salzburg

Last year we spent the long Thanksgiving weekend in Innsbruck, and fell in love with Tirol. This year we chose the Salzkammergut for our getaway, hoping to be equally as enchanted by the Bavarian-style villages and their Advent markets. (Spoiler: we were enchanted!)

At the last minute we decided to have a family Thanksgiving on the night before, which worked beautifully because it meant we had leftovers to enjoy in Salzburg!  After settling Clayton Theodore on Thursday at the rental apartment, we set out for the markets. The forecast snow had not quite arrived and the skies were gray and gloomy, but the hot chocolates from the first market perked our spirits.

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Weekend Roundup. Perchten, Palaces, and Plenty of Food

It is no secret that we like to venture out on the weekends; and with Christmas markets opening across the region, the weekends seem to plan themselves.

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Weekend Roundup. Meat and Markets.

Saturday dawned sunny and bright, and thus Tony and I needed no further invitation to head out somewhere. One of my news feeds mentioned a festival somewhere nearby in Slovakia, and that was good enough for us.  It turned out that the town was celebrating the autumn kill, or something (we don’t speak Slovak!) Though everything on the grill smelled wonderful, eating barbecued animal parts at 1030 in the morning wasn’t for us.


Our Brief Bavarian Getaway

We have never been a family big on sitting around the house; it just isn’t what we do. So, it should be of little surprise that a day after Jack returned we packed the Volvo and headed to Bavaria for a long weekend.  Our home base was a cottage in Munich that could have been a workshop for Santa’s elves. Though it had modern restoration and conveniences, the ceilings of this former guest house were perhaps a little low for the taller members of the family. Small matter!

Another Christmas Market Post. (This One, with a History Lesson!)


With ox tails ragu-ing in the slow cooker for dinner, and a Teenager busy studying for an Algebra exam, Tony and I pointed the five-horse sleigh into Burgenland, Austria’s smallest state, and largely bordering Hungary (“Ungarn” on the map) to visit the Christmas market at Schloss Esterhazy.
Continue reading “Another Christmas Market Post. (This One, with a History Lesson!)”

Make New Friends, and Keep the Old

Christmas markets make for both pleasant diversions while running errands in the city, and as destinations in their own right. I am rather partial to the AltWiener Christkindlmarkt and the market nearby at Freyung public square.  The markets capture my attention for their displays, and strolling amidst the setting of Schottenkirche and several beautiful city palaces makes me happy.

Perchtenlaufen at a Palffy Palace

The weather being drizzly and grey on Saturday afternoon, we climbed into our five-horse sleigh and headed to an indoor Adventmarkt at Schloss Marchegg, just “another” Baroque palace dotting the Marchfeld, that area of Austria generally bordered by Vienna (to the west), Slovakia (to the east), Czech Republic (to the north) and the Danube floodplain (to the south). The Marchfeld supplies Austria’s vegetables and grains, and, as we learned, is another waystation in the spring for Europe’s largest colony of migrating tree-nesting storks.

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