Friday, November 27, 2009
Christmas Market, it is only fitting that the Rathaus is decorated as an Advent Calendar.
The beginnings of the Viennese Christmas Market date back to more than 7 centuries! In 1296, the emperor Albrecht I granted the privilege of organizing a "Dezembermarkt" (December Market) in order to ensure the supply for the urban population. In the 16th century, today's "Christkindlmarkt" was named "Thomasmarkt" and took place around Christmas time and New Year's Eve. Goods such as glass, leather, books, and toys can be purchased at the market. Most enjoyable for us was sampling all the delicious food! We tried chocolate covered bananas, Vienna sausages, and hot amaretto punch which was served in a collectible mug.
Carrying our steaming amaretto punches down the street, we stopped to enjoy them while admiring the setting sun over the Votivkirche, or Votiv Church. The Votivkirche is made out of white sandstone and has to be constantly renovated and protected from air-pollution and acid rain, which tends to colour and erode the soft stone.
As night fell upon us (at only 4pm, mind you), the lights of the Christmas Market came alive for a truly spectacular scene. We ventured once again through the market and up the Ringroad to the Austrian Parliament building. The Athena Fountain (1893) stands in front, the four lying figures at the foot of Athena are representations of the four most important rivers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They represent at the front the Danube and Inn, and in the back part, the Elbe and Vltava rivers.
We visited the Vienna Natural Histories Museum, which houses zoology, botanic, and mineral exhibitions. Darwin's Evolution is a special exhibit on display to which I paid special attention since my History of Ideas course was discussing this topic at the time.
After a quick cat nap, we ventured back out for dinner. We found Neubauschenke where Tim sampled the Wiener Schnitzel, a cutlet of veal that is pounded flat, coated in flour, egg and breadcrumbs, and fried in clarified butter, with German potato salad. In Austria, the term Wiener Schnitzel is protected by law, and any schnitzel called by that name has to be made from veal. I had the Cordon Blue, a slice of Wiener Schnitzel rolled and filled with cheese and ham. Everything was delicious! Tim wasn't too fond of the potato salad but I liked the sweet, vinegary taste and polished it off for him.
Turning off Der Graben, Michaelerplatz is located at the old gates to Imperial Palace. Here Romans Ruins were found during excavation from 1990 - 1991.
View all of our pictures at: http://public.fotki.com/Davis2001r6/italy-2010/vienna-austria/.