Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

We saw many beautiful and historic buildings during our trip to Vienna, Austria, but the Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) was by far the most amazing. Even during winter, the grounds, fountains, and exterior of the palace are quite beautiful and seeing the palace is certainly a highlight of any visit to Vienna. During the time that we were there, they were preparing for a Christmas Market on the grounds of the palace, however it wasn’t set to open for another week.  Since we went to several other markets in Vienna, that certainly wasn’t an issue.

One of the Fountains on the Grounds
One of the Fountains on the Grounds
Christmas Tree in the Main Courtyard
Christmas Tree in the Main Courtyard
View from the Stairs at the Palace
View from the Stairs at the Palace

We did the Grand Tour of the palace, which is an audio tour that takes you through forty of the magnificent rooms within. It was a cold and snowy Saturday, so we think a lot of people had the same idea as us to do something indoors as the lines were horrific as we snaked our way from room to room, but it did not lessen the grandeur of the lavish decorations and furniture. The history of the palace is a little overwhelming and there were a few surprises, such as Marie Antoinette having been the daughter of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, as well as Empress Maria Theresa both grew up in the palace.

One of the Palace Wings
One of the Palace Wings
Another Fountain
Another Fountain
Looking Down the Stairs
Looking Down the Stairs

There is no mistaking the similarity between Schönbrunn Palace and Versailles Palace. The palaces share many similarities and are both stunning in their beauty. Schönbrunn means “beautiful spring”, which couldn’t have been further than the weather the day we arrived, so we will definitely plan a return visit someday during the summer when the gardens are in full bloom and perhaps there are some rays of sunshine. We can’t complain about the weather too much, though, it may not have been perfect for sight-seeing, but it did make the Glühwein much more inviting 😀.

Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace
Looking from the Stairs
Looking from the Stairs

The Christmas Markets of Vienna, Austria

There are many reasons to visit the historic city of Vienna in Austria, but planning a trip in November will treat you with the extra treat of the Christmas markets. The markets in Vienna start in the middle of November, which is earlier than most of the other markets in Europe. We were there two years ago and visited four different Christmas markets that were located near the top sightseeing sites in the city. Although you can certainly visit the Christmas markets during the day, to really enjoy them, you should go at night.

Glass Ornaments for Sale

We Still Have One of These Gluhwein Mugs


Plenty of Crowds at the Markets

So Many Options for Gifts


Specialty Teas

Outside of the Cathedral

Obviously there are plenty of hot drinks to be found such as hot chocolate and gluhwein (hot mulled wine), but there are many more things to be found in the markets. Handmade crafts are on display with many of them being for the holiday season as well as items that make excellent gifts for family and friends. Food is certainly another highlight of all of the markets with many choices of bratwurst, roasted chestnuts, pretzels, and a variety of sweets. We actually purchased a candle holder with images of Mozart and Vienna at one of the stalls as a souvenir of our trip.

Unique Gifts

Ice Skating at a Market


Wein Lounge

Where We Bought our Candle Holder

Getting Busy

Colorful Hats

Perfect Setting for a Market

The markets are a great place to spend time with family and friends or just to stroll as a couple. With so many people gathering to enjoy the spirit of the season, they are certainly places of happiness. One of the markets that we visited in Vienna also included ice skating as they had frozen the walking paths and turned them into a skating rink. It certainly was one of the more unique Christmas markets that we have seen. Clearly Vienna has many reasons to visit at any time of the year such as the palace, opera house, and cathedral, but if you plan your trip during the holidays you will also get to enjoy some of the best Christmas markets in all of Europe.

Frozen Sidewalk for Ice Skating

Late in the Day

One of Four Christmas Markets that We Visited


Christmas Decorations

One of the Smaller Markets

Great for the Whole Family

Handmade Ornaments

Toys for Sale


Creating Unexpected Results

Many of us point and click our cameras and cell phones as we are traveling and when we get a chance to look back at our photos, sometimes the photos capture something different than what our eyes actually saw. Often these are happy accidents where the images turn out to be quite special and other times we are disappointed because it seemed so special at the time. We usually use auto-focus when traveling since we don’t always have time to stop and manually focus, which means that the camera might choose to focus on something different than intended. Also, the lighting might change how the image appears once we get a chance to look back at the photo. For this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, which is Horizontal Lines, we have decided to share some of our unintended results. Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a photograph after you go back and look at the pictures that you have taken that day?

Ice Skating on Sidewalks in Vienna

Standing in the 9/11 Museum Entrance in New York

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Ceiling in Cairo

Sun Setting on a Ship in Puerto Vallarta

Frozen Air on Stairs in Romania

Christmas Tree on a Restaurant Wall in Strasbourg

Longing for the Beach in India