Schlosser Advent at GmundenDecember 8, 2016 in Austria
Having reached the north western Austrian border, we set off eastwards, through the Austrian lake district and towards Vienna, where we plan to spend Christmas. The going was flat on the motorway and as we moved in and out of valleys and you could tell which ones had industrial chimneys even before you saw them, due to the light smog hanging in the air. As well as this artificially produced haze, there were valleys filled with morning mist and at one point it hid a lake (Mondsee) which appeared only when we were nearly at its shore. It was a serene sight, with features fading the further they were from us.
Arriving at the large Gmunden car park we couldn't see any designated van parking but there was a fluorescent clad official who told us to park up. We were very lucky to have arrived when we did because in another 15 minutes the car park was full. There dozens of people heading to and from the far end and so intrigued, we followed them, to find a hut selling entry tickets. We didn't know what we were buying entry to but we thought we'd go for it based on the number of people who'd travelled to be there.
The big attraction turned out to be a Christmas craft market called Schlosser Advent due to the fact it was held inside two lakeside castles and their grounds. The first castle was called Landschloss. We entered its central square through an archway to find huts arranged around an old central tree under which was a quartet of traditionally dressed men playing seasonal tunes brass instruments. The second castle (Seeschloss) was reached by a wooden bridge over the lake Traunsee. There were floating palates supporting lit Christmas trees, a nativity scene and angel to name but a few things. The Landsee market was inside the castles first floor rooms which were impressive in themselves.
We enjoyed looking at the stalls here more than in Salzburg because there was a far greater range of original handmade products, often with the craftspeople behind the stall creating new items for us to see how they did it. There were some fascinating processes, such as the hand weaving of angels using threads on wooden spools that were plaited around an array of individually placed pins. A chainsaw and angle grinder was used to carve faces in a tree trunk, candles were dipped and wire twisted into jewellery... we could go on but it would take a lot of time to list all the different crafts on exhibit!
It was exceptionally busy for a Thursday so we searched the date on the internet and found out it was a public holiday to celebrate the immaculate conception!Read more