Wrapping Things Up for 2016 XMas Style

As the year draws to a close, and everything around us in Vienna becomes festive and beautiful, it’s hard not to think about Christmas, mulled wine and snow, so, why fight it? The topic of our last 2016 walk was, quite simply, “Christmas in Hirschstetten”.

Vienna is very famous for its Christmas markets, the most famous one, undoubtedly, being the one at the Rathaus. It’s gorgeous, with its decorated park, and lit up Town Hall. Being a local, though, you can’t help but notice quite quickly, that its beauty is pretty much its only asset; it’s overpriced, has terrible hot beverages (watered-down mulled wine and punsch), and is too crowded (with tourists). Locals all, sooner or later, start to branch out and explore those markets not listed in Lonely Planet. One of them is the market in the botanical gardens of Hirschstetten, in Vienna’s 22nd district.

Every year the garden administration comes up with a new theme; last year it was “Sweet Christmas” (everything was decorated Hansel-and-Gretel-style, and was GORGEOUS), and this year it was “Christmas Around the World”. The gardens are decorated with fairly lights, little market stands, and sculptures, and there’s a special themed installation in one of the larger greenhouses. The drinks are cheaper and by far tastier and hotter, and the crowd is almost exclusively local. We decided since we’re going to have to photograph a Christmas market anyway (I repeat, why fight it, when you know you want to) we’re going to make it off-the-beaten path and we’re going to make it all about Hirschstetten.

The day we met the thermometer ourside my window showed an icy -6 degrees celcius, and of the 16 people that signed up for the walk, only 8 showed up. Huge thank you to those guys; you’re awesome. Seeing the huge crowds at the market, we quickly made a plan: in case we all lose each other, we’re meeting in an hour by the big Christmas tree for a mug of hot Punsch. Losing each other is exactly what happened, as some photo walkers went into the greenhouses, and others wandered off deep into the botanical gardens. We all managed to meet at 5:00pm by the tree, though, and cheers to our final walk this calendar year.

Below are some pictures (not submitted to the contest) taken by our photo walkers on the day; thank you for sharing these with the group, guys!

Have a great weekend, fantastic holidays, and see you when we’re back on in January 2017! Thank you for your ongoing support this year, for all the good ideas, words of encouragement, and creativity.