Vienna’s Rathaus Christmas Markets and a special concert

It may be that going to the Rathaus Christmas Market was anticlimactic after visiting the wonderful National Library, but so it seemed.

The spires of the Rathaus
The spires of the Rathaus

The Rathaus itself was impressive, a large 19th century Gothic building that loomed over the large square it bordered on one side.

A stall selling punsch and other spirits
A stall selling punsch and other spirits

The Christmas Market  was equally  huge, with dozens of stalls arranged in rows, but bigger is not always better. We  later realized  that it was more  for local residents  than  tourists and there were several school groups at the Market. The booths for the most part held items that could be purchased anywhere, most of them imported from Asia.

Our Australian friends enjoying a sweet treat
Our Australian friends enjoying a sweet treat

Not that there weren’t a few items that were made locally, mainly things to eat and the ubiquitous Gluhwein, But all in all, there was not the selection of home-made items that we found at the Budapest Christmas Market. I was beginning to realize that I enjoyed the Christmas decorations, so different from those at home, to the Christmas Markets.

Admittedly we did not walk up and down all the rows so there may have been a few local product stalls tucked in somewhere, but we didn’t find them.

You too can be an angel
You too can be an angel

Of course it was also a gloomy day, but despite the dreary weather, the Christmas lights hadn’t been turned on, another disappointment.  We did enjoy watching a young women pose in a angel tableau and right at the edge of the square, I finally found a chestnut stall.

chestnut stand in front of rathskellar
chestnut stand in front of rathskeller

This Rambler does enjoy roasted chestnuts but since we would soon be heading back to the Beatrice for an excellent lunch, I didn’t get any.

Disappointed in the market, we decided to look for a bank where we could exchange our money, and  get out of the cold for a moment. It was not yet time for our shuttle bus to take us back to the Beatrice.

Hidden courtyard
Hidden courtyard

One would have thought that the area around City Hall would sport lots of banks but such was not the case. We finally asked,  and found that there was a indeed a Bank of Austria not too far away. Taking a shortcut, we found this pretty courtyard tucked away between the buildings of the City Hall complex. It must be a lovely spot in warmer weather.

Uniworld thoughtfully provided several more afternoon shuttles for those who wanted to go back the city but the Ramblers were content to stay on board. There were many opportunities to  meet fellow passengers in the lounge with its comfortable furniture and Christmas decor. This was also a time for me to use one of the computers in the Captain’s lounge to check my email.

That night, those who loved Mozart and Strauss had an opportunity to attend a special private concert performed by a talented chamber orchestra . The senior Rambler is not a fan of concerts so I joined friends to enjoy a wonderful intimate performance in a beautifully restored building, the Palace of the Austrian Association of Engineers and Architects. (Took no photos, as I wanted to concentrate on the music.) The first half was devoted to Mozart and the second to Strauss. Of course it concluded with a rousing rendition of the Radetzky March,  the perfect ending to a day in Vienna!

 

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