We roll in early in the morning on a train from Ljubljana, Slovenia and are absolutely shocked to find that winter is in full swing in Austria. Not that we haven’t been cold on this trip (because I’ve been near death several times from the temperature), but we haven’t gotten a single glimpse of snow yet, so it’s pretty exciting stuff and we are both pressed up against the window squealing like small children.

Never mind that Xmas is more than a month away, we still get to enjoy the amazing Weihnachtsmarkt at Stephanplatz, which is our first taste of the European Christmas Markets to come. Naturally, I’m beside myself with excitement, because who doesn’t love the festive season!

The Christmas market is packed out with stalls selling holiday handicrafts like ornaments and candles and leather bags, plus (my personal favourite) food and drink stalls selling much-needed hot favourites like apple cider in adorable market mugs shaped like stockings and hot pumpkin soup in hollowed-out bread bowls.

We don’t know at the time that it’s really quite typical of Christmas markets, so we are loving that you just pay a small cash deposit for your Weihnachtsmarkt mug that they continue to fill up with hot drinks, and then you can just forsake the return of your deposit and keep the mug. We take a couple away from the market and carefully tote them around in our luggage for the next month and a half, along with the other mugs we just have to have from the other Christmas markets we visit.

Sorry, Australia, but Christmas is just better cold.

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