By the time our post here in Austria is over I may will need a 12-step program. I love the markets. Love them. Large or small, traditional, touristy or with a special theme. Love them. Every weekend between now and Christmas is marked with a market to visit, if not two or three. It’s a special treat for me that Advent and Christmas markets are in Europe and not in the U.S. (with few exceptions), for in place of the Glühwein and smoked meat stalls would likely be Starbucks booths and McFrankfurters-to-go.

Some of Vienna’s districts open a market along their “Main Street.”  Over lunch a week or so ago a friend alerted me to the new Landstraße Hauptstraße Adventmarkt setting up in front of the Wien Mitte Hauptbahnhof (train station). I eagerly anticipated its opening, but not all the market vendors shared that sentiment.

No matter, for I found seasonal cheer at the nearby Farmer’s Market, even in non-seasonal colors.

Over at Freyung in the InnerStadt the Bio-Markt (Organic Adventmarkt) tempted visitors with “simply raw sweet creations.” No offense intended to my dietarily-challenged friends, but, yuck.

We were tempted instead by the wild specialties of deer and boar sausage.

 I know. Almost too cute to become sausage.

 At the AmHof Adventmarkt, this wreath seemed to sparkle even without lights.

 The aroma of the “Star Anise” (Pun! Get it?) at the Stephansplatz Adventmarkt was intoxicating…

 …as was the Lebkuchen house.

For a different market experience we went to Burgruine Aggstein’s Medieval Adventmarkt out in the Wachau Valley this weekend, about an hour-ish drive from Vienna. We toured the ruins over the summer and were enchanted by the castle, so the decision to return was an easy one. The day was gray and a bit fogged in along the river, yet the weather somehow added to the enjoyment.

Should you be in need of lunch while there, may I suggest the wild boar ragout? 
Artisans and craftsmen filled the larger spaces of the ruins, and visitors filled the spaces in between! Shuttle buses were moving visitors up and down the 20% grade to and from the castle, an adventure in itself.

Many vendors were wearing period clothing. I am not sure what medieval period the Northface, Crocs-wearing meat smoker man was from…
…just as I am not certain that Renaissance folk ate “Lachs BonBons.” But in the spirit of good will and glad tidings, we brought home a sampling of the smoked salmon petit fours. For the record, if Renaissance folks were not eating smoked salmon with roasted garlic, they should have been.
To winter markets.  Cheers!