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By Sophie Schmidt


There are four Christmas markets in Vienna: at the City Hall, the Belvedere (castle), the University, and at Schönbrunn (castle). At all of these locations, there is live music: old men that play very traditional Christmas songs, with a guitar player and a few singers.

But sometimes, one can see a very unusual Christmas concert. Last time, a group of old men were performing a jazz concert, playing all the traditional Christmas songs in a funky way, it was very entertaining.

The traditional Viennese Christmas market has about fifty wooden cabins that offer punch, mulled claret, sweets, traditional confection of pastry, and sandwiches. Of course, one can also buy a few Christmas presents. The selection is rather poor and much too expensive, but sometimes, since the Christmas market is open until 9.00 p.m., it can serve as last minute shopping.

But Christmas markets should not just be used as a shopping opportunity. Instead you should also enjoy the Christmas feeling, produced by the music, glittering lights, freezing chill, and the smell of candy and punch.

The problem at the markets is usually that they are very full; it is very hard to walk without squeezing through the crowd. It is best to go in the late afternoon around five. At that time the market starts to fill up, but at least one gets a glimpse of the market in daylight and it’s not as crowed yet.

What distinguishes one market from the other is that the markets in Schönbrunn and Belvedere are bigger and have a mysterious atmosphere with the castles in the background. The City Hall and University markets are warmer, since they are inside the city and a little smaller. All four markets offer the same products and all of them are expensive. Mulled claret costs 5 Euros, which includes 2 Euros deposit for the cup.

With the public transportation, it is very easy to get to all four markets. When one goes to the City Hall market, the first thing that you see is the beautifully decorated building. It has 24 windows that are covered, and each day, starting from December 1, one window is opened.

Christmas music, glittering light, Christmas trees and sweet tonsils, it all sounds like a cliché. But Vienna knows how to make this cliché a sophisticated and traditional adventure. Christmas in Vienna should be on everybody’s check list.

Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.

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