Austria, Germany and Switzerland are magical during the Christmas holiday season. This is a photo of a portion of the Imperial Palace in Vienna that we took after enjoying a Christmas Eve concert in the palace
This is the Christmas tree in front of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna. The palace is now an art museum, featuring an excellent collection of Klimt paintings.
The Vienna town hall is turned into a giant advent calendar each Christmas season, with a Chriskindle Market in the square in front of the town hall. Each day a new window is uncovered on the town hall to reveal the decoration behind it. We took this photo on Christmas Eve, so all of the windows, including the large one at the top, were uncovered.
The Chriskindle Markets are popular in town squares in Austria and Germany. They feature food, crafts, gifts, and beverages, particularly gluwein, which is a heated wine drink that is enjoyed like hot apple cider. It is served in a small mug a little larger than a tea cup. The mugs make nice souvenirs, as they are decorated with a holiday motif and the name or a scene of the particular Chriskindle market.
Street musicians add to the festive atmosphere of Christmas in Vienna. These musicians are Russian, with their balalaikas.
We don't think that there are any artificial Christmas decorations in all of Austria or Germany. Here is real mistletoe for sale in one of the booths in a Chriskindle Market.
A holiday street scene in downtown Vienna. By complete coincidence, two of our very good friends from Scottsdale, Rita and Tim, also decided to go to Vienna for Christmas, and we met them there. It doubled our fun for the holiday. Tim is a talented architect and artist. His work can be seen on Leafdog Art Gallery.
The altar of St. Stephen's Cathedral in the old town district of Vienna.