Where: Vienna, Austria
Has anyone ever surprised you with a trip? It’s truly fantastic. There is nothing quite like setting off for the airport, but not knowing which flight you’ll be on.
Matt planned this trip and only told me what weather to pack for (he’s not an idiot; not letting me properly pack would have been a disaster). When he revealed that we would be spending a long weekend in Vienna, I was thrilled – a place steeped in culture and history, and more importantly, a place with my beloved Christmas markets. Well played, Matt.
Plate of food: Growing up with the Calgary Stampede as a fixture in my summers means that I am not afraid of food that you eat with your hands or food that is deep-fried (please refer to deep-fried pickles, Oreos, Pop-Tarts, and so on). So I felt right at home when I discovered Langos at the Christmas market in Vienna.
Langos are large discs of puffy dough, deep-fried, and then – get this! – slathered with garlic. Imagine the glorious smell when the fresh garlic hits the hot dough….deliciousness.
I’ll confess – we ate a lot of langos. They were comfortingly hot on those cold nights; warming our hands as much as our bellies. And the salty, garlicky flavour was the perfect accompaniment to the sweetness of the mulled wine we were
You should definitely try these if you get the chance. Just make sure anyone you are with eats one, too. The saying goes, “If one has Langos breath, all must have Langos breath”. At least I think that’s a saying…well, it should be.
The best: I have fully admitted my love for German Christmas markets. Vienna, to her credit, did not disappoint.
There were a number of small markets, but the main one in front of City Hall was spectacular: loads of stalls selling decorations, nutcrackers, gingerbread, and food. In the centre of all the action was a huge fir tree that sparkled with white lights and smelled heavenly. There was a brass band that wandered around playing carols (is the French Horn not in its element during the Christmas season?).
The trees surrounding the square were festooned with glowing decorations in different themes: there was an angel tree, a heart tree, a sweets tree, a teddy bear tree. The very best thing about this market? The city hall was one giant advent calendar with its lit windows being the numbered tabs for each day. You crafty, festive Austrians!!
Story that needs to be told: After many langos and a few grilled bratwurst thrown in for good measure, we nabbed another mug of mulled wine. We wanted to get away from the bustling crowds and sit for a bit; we’d been on our feet the entire day. We found a park bench under the trees and sat down to admire the decorations dangling from the branches.
It was a wintery night; the cold bit at our cheeks and I could feel the chill of the bench on the back of my legs. We could still hear the cheerful murmurings of the crowd and the distant notes of Christmas music.
Matt reminded me how much he loves me, spurred no doubt by the effects of mulled wine and the romantic scent of…garlic? I was touched, but could not be distracted from taking in the sights of the market.
Suddenly a family passed by, the children lingering over the festive scene and shrieking with delight. Matt seemed annoyed, which was unusual even for us who were childless at this point and therefore had a low threshold for noise, mess, and interruption. (Ask me about that threshold now.) Just as suddenly the family disappeared between the twinkling market stalls.
And Matt repeated his sentiments. Oooookay. I get it, you love me. Let’s get another langos!
Then he was on one knee.
Then there was a very sparkly ring on my finger.
And “Yes” became the sweetest sounding word in the world.
Turns out he had more than one surprise up his sleeve. Well played, Matt. Well played.
“Love withers with predictability; its very essence is surprise and amazement.”
– Leo F. Buscaglia