So, let’s start with the worst part… Leaving the girls. Ok, so it was only for 2 nights, my mum was looking after them and knew they would be absolutely fine…. But when it actually came to leaving the house at 0415 to go to the airport it was so much harder than I expected! I cried most of the way and then didn’t really relax until we landed in Vienna. Once I had started to relax I did get into the whole experience.
Vienna is simply beautiful, so clean and historical. In December there are Christmas decorations everywhere. I did a little research into the Christmas markets before we went so I knew where the main ones were. What I hadn’t realised was that every corner you turned there would be a different market. The main markets had some standardised stalls. They all had a Christmas decorations stall, I have never seen so many baubles. Then the candle stall, the glass gifts, wooden gifts, jewellery, plus loads more. If you saw something you liked in one market but didn’t get it, it would be available at another market. Some of the smaller markets also had some ‘one off’ stands which were always worth looking around. There were numerous drinks and food stands at each market. Goulash soup inside a giant roll, hot dogs stuffed into a hollowed out baguette with mustard. Pretzels, salted, sugared, iced…. Yummy! Then there was the punch…. Orange, apple, amaretto, mulled wine. Most were rather strong with alcohol and I’m fairly certain that the Austrians add brandy or some other spirit to their mulled wine…. It took me a little by surprise, it was delicious though. Our favourite was an apfelpunsch with winter Jack. It was like an apple pie in a mug, I had a few of those. The mugs came in various shapes and colours, boots, hearts, tankards. The deal was you pay a deposit for the mug and buy the drink of your choice. You could take the mug back for a refill or give it back and have your deposit returned. Otherwise you could keep the mug. We have quite a few in our kitchen now which I shall be filling with my own apple punch very soon.
Outside the Spanish Riding School and at other points throughout the city their were numerous horse and carriages available for a tour or just a romantic ride. We took one on the first night and it was magical, so romantic and the sound of the hooves on the streets was very festive. The main market outside the City Hall was enormous and had a wonderland walk around the outside. This market was my favourite. There were various festive displays of Santa, penguins, a nativity. Plus the post office for the Vienna Christmas postage mark. Each tree in the walk had a different theme, cupcakes, ladybirds, hearts, candy canes. The best time to view all of the markets was after sunset. When they were all lit up with fairy lights it was hard not to feel festive and cosy (even if it was 3 degrees).
The hotel was lovely, clean comfortable and the staff were friendly. The breakfast was delicious and filling.
All in all it was an amazing couple of days. We walked for miles but it was all worth it. The break from the girls actually did me the world of good and although I think it was harder being abroad and leaving them it did mean I had to accept it as I couldn’t exactly just go home.
I would recommend Vienna to anyone. It was very pushchair friendly with street level lifts to the underground. These were very clean and well maintained, unlike the lifts in London. Plus many of the hotels are family friendly and will accommodate the need of babies, toddlers and children. I would love to go back and maybe even take the girls when they are older, it would be nice to do it when they could cope with staying up late and walking a little further. We don’t tend to use public transport, even in London, as we find we see and learn so much more by walking.
Vienna made us both feel so festive we stopped at our local Christmas tree farm on our way home from the airport.
Hubby keeps referring to himself as the ‘Romance Ninja’ now…. I think he’s hoping the name will stick.