Salzburg ChristkindlmarktDecember 7, 2016 in Austria ⋅
Salzburg's Christkindlmarkt had come highly recommended so we took the bus 5km and back over the Austrian border to Salzburg city centre, a little while before sunset.
Instead of going straight to the market we crossed the love-lock and light swathed bridge to explore the streets on the opposite bank. Looking back over the river we saw a panorama of large pastel coloured buildings almost hiding the palaces and cathedral whose turrets, domes and spires peaked about their rooves before the city rose with the landscape, up a misty cliff on top of which there were more grand residences.
Walking towards the market we passed a line of horse drawn carriages, ready with warm rugs and sheepskins. The window display of a shop called 'Christmas in Salzburg' caught our eye. It was a reasonably large shop that brimmed with handpainted glass and egg baubles. There was every style imaginable and many were adorned with jewels, pearls, lace and even cross stitch. The standard of painting was amazing, each one a mini masterpiece! It was only knowing how easily delicate things are broken in the van that saved us from splashing out and coming away loaded with egg boxes!
The market itself was spread between two adjacent squares; those of the Cathedral and the Palace. The luxurious buildings provided a dramatic backdrop to the festivities. Stalls were larger and greater in their number than at other markets we'd visited. There was plenty of space but with all the focus being on one area, as the evening progressed and tour and school groups descended, it began to feel crowded as we were jostled from either side. A great range of languages were spoken and including the first native English speakers we'd heard for a while. There was a commercial feel, with many stalls selling the same things and it reminded us a little of the big German market in Birmingham. Our Salzburg experience ended with live Austrian carols sung by a school choir outside the Cathedral.
The bus back was 15 cold minutes late but at least this time we had confidence that we were at the right stop and that it was coming! We had a little panic when approaching the German border because we'd left our passports in the van and unlike on the way out, there were officials on duty and checks taking place. Luckily they waved the bus through, just doing a rough count of how many people were on board.Read more