Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Markets in Bolzano and Innsbruck!

     I don't think I have ever had a busier Thanksgiving weekend!  This week was spent preparing for two Thanksgiving dinners and planning a three-day, three-stop weekend that would take us to Bolzano, Italy on Saturday, then to Innsbruck, Austria on Sunday, and finally Aviano, Italy on Monday.  This all started when we heard about an organized trip to the Bolzano Christmas market that didn't really fit into our schedule, so we worked around it and made it into a trip!  On Thanksgiving we shared a wonderful meal with friends and on Friday we had another Thanksgiving with more friends.  Saturday afternoon we embarked on the two-hour trip to Bolzano where one of the biggest Italian Christmas markets is held every year.

     It was our first Italian market, but it was very similar to the Vienna and Innsbruck markets from last year.  We were able to walk around the town with our friends and enjoying the beautiful scenery.  There were singers caroling when we arrived and we quickly bought some gluhwein and hot chocolate to warm us up!  I ate a really cold pretzel and had a coffee as we weaved through the shops.   

     After that, we drove into Innsbruck and arrived around 9 or 10 at night.  After checking in to our room and ordering Chinese I decided to venture next door to the hotel (literally right next door) where a beautiful church was lit up.  I also sneaked into the graveyard which was very neat!  In the morning, we got to see the mountains that were unrecognizable in the dark, and it was like a whole new view!  

      On Sunday morning we drove into the town for the Christmas market.  Even at 10 in the morning the stalls were just beginning to open up, so we grabbed a coffee and waiting for things to get started.  Innsbruck is very unique because during the Christmas market the entire city is covered in beautiful decorations on their windows and streets.

     Innsbruck definitely has one of the more scenic Christmas markets since it sits on a gorgeous river flowing next to huge snow-topped mountains.  I am so glad we were able to visit again this year and get an ornament to add to our tree.  

     After we had a little lunch, we got on the road again and headed toward the Air Force base in Aviano, Italy.  It was our first time driving through the Dolomites and it was breath-taking (and a little scary!).  We got in to the base around 9 and then got some sushi.  In the morning we ate breakfast and Stephen did some last-minute studying.  We were on the road again by 5 and home before 8.  

    This was a great start to the Christmas season and hopefully we will be able to visit the Verona Christmas market this month.  I cannot believe it is already December!  

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