Saturday, November 26, 2011

Vienna and Salzburg

Last weekend, I went to Vienna and Salzburg to explore the Christmas markets and soak in the fairy-tale scenery. I was really excited for Vienna, which unfortunately did not quite live up to what I had hoped for, but Salzburg was much more than I expected, so in the end it evened out. The Christmas markets in both cities were gorgeous, and there were lights up all around both cities as well -- although Vienna didn't turn theirs on at night, which is part of what made me not like it as much. There should be a law that if Christmas lights are up, they should be lit anytime it's not light out. However, it was still a beautiful city, and the drive between Vienna and Salzburg was gorgeous as well. All of the countryside in Austria is stunning, which made taking a bus much nicer than it otherwise could have been.

Sadly unlit lights in Vienna

Molly and me outside of Hofburg Palace

Delicious macaroni & cheese at the first Christmas market in Vienna with Hilary and Molly.

Drinking gluhwein (hot wine) in a Christmas mug at the second Christmas market in Vienna! This setting was gorgeous with the surrounding architecture and lovely decorations, but we unfortunately did not make it back at night when the lights were on as it was beyond freezing outside. 

This picture doesn't adequately represent how gorgeous the river was in Vienna -- the reflections of the fall leaves were soo pretty. 

The girls I went with (Emma, Molly, Hilary, me and Erin) in front of Schonbrunn Palace attempting to look royal.

The gardens of Schonbrunn Palace. I imagine they would have been even more stunning if the flowers were in bloom.

In front of another section of the grounds -- this place was huge!

At the Christmas markets outside the palace they had these giant donuts that they pump full of a filling of your choice (chocolate, of course) and are completely delicious. Surprisingly, all the Christmas markets had a huge selection of scrumptious pastries, from every kind of pretzel (marzipan, apple strudel, you name it) to donuts and cream-filled confections.

The huge Christmas tree at my favorite Christmas market in Salzburg.

Molly and me in front of the tree and surrounding stands.

Ornament heaven -- this is barely a fraction of how many ornaments were sold at these markets.

After we almost froze to death at the Salzburg markets, we went to Augustiner, an Austrian beer hall where monks brew the beer and you drink it in these giant stoneware mugs that you fill with cold water to cool down and end up with a frothy, delicious beverage.

The next day, we went on a Sound of Music tour. This is the lake that Maria and the von Trapp children row around, and that's the building used as the back of the family home.

More Christmas decorations and markets

Being twirled in front of the von Trapp gazebo (I Am 16 Going On 17 and I Must Have Done Something Good)

The road Maria skips down while singing I've Got Confidence

Attempting to dance like Maria...the picture didn't quite capture how very graceful I really looked.

Amazing view

Church where Maria and the Captain were married, which is actually in Mondsee

The picturesque town of Mondsee, where we ate fantastic apple strudel.

Our tour bus :)

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