Travelogue: European Christmas Markets - Part II
Just in time for the holidays, FEAST contributor Barbara Gibbs Ostmann delivers a two-part photo essay on European Christmas markets. Tour the second part on Austrian markets here.
Known as Innsbruck Grostl or Tiroler Grostl, this popular local dish is composed of roasted potatoes and cooked beef topped with a fried egg.
Roasted chestnuts are popular street food at Christmas markets throughout Europe, including Innsbruck.
Sacks of chestnuts await transformation via roasting into Heisse Maroni (roasted chestnuts).
The historic Golden Roof (in center at end of street) is the symbol of Innsbruck. It has competition from today’s well-known golden arches of McDonald’s (at right).
Winter traditions in Austria and many European countries include frightening masks and age-old celebrations.
The closeness of Innsbruck to its surrounding mountains is shown in this view from my hotel window.
Nativity scenes are prevalent throughout Innsbruck area, such as this one at St. James Cathedral.
You can visit private homes to see elaborate nativity scenes that have been passed down through generations, including this one belonging to the Johann Wishaber family that takes up an entire room.
Dried ears of corn are used to decorate barn and home exteriors, as well as indoor rafters.
The historic Tyrolean post stop, Postkutscherhof, has become a tourist destination, offering hearty traditional meals and horse-drawn rides.
Kids – and adults – love Backerbsen, crispy little hollow dough balls floating in beef broth. This version was served at Postkutscherhof, in Axams, just outside of Innsbruck.
A horse-drawn sleigh ride with the Postkutscherhof team is a charming way to visit the small towns surrounding Innsbruck.
Elisabeth Grassmayr, owner of the Grassmayr Bell Foundry, established in 1599, is a passionate spokesperson for the Walk My Alps campaign (walkmyalps.com).
Swarovski Crystal World is a popular day trip for Innsbruck visitors – and a great place for some Christmas shopping.
Shoppers fuel up with hot drinks and snacks while wandering from booth to booth and market to market. For lists of Christmas markets and Advent events in the Innsbruck area, visit christkindlmarkt.cc.
Assorted foil-wrapped candies and ornaments are popular at market booths.
Presentation is part of the enjoyment of hot drink booths at Christmas markets, such as this one offering hot sangria and an alcohol-free children’s punch.
Rapunzel and her golden hair is just one of many fairy tales illustrated each year as part of the Marchen Gasse, or Fairytale Lane, in the Christmas market in Innsbruck’s Old Town.
Innsbruck restaurants proudly serve freshly baked, house-made breads, such as this attractive multi-loaf served at the 300-year-old Europa Stuberl at the Hotel Europa.
You’ll find wooden springerle molds at Christmas markets in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.