Easter in Vienna

Easter in Vienna is something else. Traditional Easter Markets are set up in March, where you can enjoy live music and Austrian culinary treats, such as a variety of Wurst (sausages), Käsespätzle (the German/Austrian version of macaroni and cheese, made of homemade egg noodles and emmental cheese, topped with crispy fried onions), and Marillenknödel (apricot dumplings). Artfully hand-painted Easter eggs are set up in beautiful displays for sale, among other adorable decorations. Easter, next to Christmas, has always been my favorite holiday because of its sheer cuteness — I’m a sucker for pastels, flowers, baby bunnies, chicks, and lambs. I love that Vienna carries on its market tradition through spring, providing a nice alternative to the Christmas markets that begin the holiday season in late November.

I was lucky enough to spend two Easters in Vienna in 2014 and 2015 and visited three of the five Easter markets hosted in the city.

Ostermark Schloss Schönbrunn | Schönbrunn Palace Easter Market

The Schönbrunn Palace Easter Market is arguably the most romantic Easter market because of its stunning palace backdrop. I came here with Miri and my brother, Kevin, who visited Vienna in April 2014 before the two of us took a trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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Kevin and me in front of the giant Easter egg.

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Cuteness overload.

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Miri and me in front of the Palace.

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Beautiful wisteria in bloom.

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Looking up at the Gloriette, which was built in 1775 was and Empress Maria Theresia’s favorite spot because of its splendid view of Vienna.

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Looking down at Vienna from the Gloriette.

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Miri, Kevin and me.

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Altwiener Ostermarkt auf der Freyung | Old Vienna Easter Market at the Freyung

The Freyung Easter Market is probably my favorite Easter market because of its astonishing tower of eggs, apparently the largest in Europe with more than 40,000 handpainted eggs, located in the heart of the 1st District. I often passed by this square on my way to work, which was about a 10-minute walk from my apartment at the time.

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For those of you who haven’t read the “About Us” section on our homepage, the nickname Käfer (German for bug) came about when Miri and I first started dating. We were at a thermal spring in Bad Krozingen, Germany when Miri teased that I kept latching onto him “wie ein Wasserkäfer” (like a waterbug). At first, I was insulted, but the name stuck and you’ll rarely hear us call each other by our first names to this day. We’re always on the lookout for our ladybug symbol 🙂

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“Easter Egg Stand at the Freyung”

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Ostermarkt am Hof | Am Hof Handicraft Market

The Am Hof Handicraft Market is just around the corner from the Freyung and hosts numerous stands which sell artisan trinkets, foods, wines, and, of course, Easter eggs.

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Miri and my father-in-law, Frank.

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No trip to Vienna is complete without a ride, or at least picture, of the Fiaker, Vienna’s iconic horse-drawn carriages.

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Wandering around Café Central, the legendary literati coffeehouse where authors and intellectuals such as Arthur Schnitzler, Adolf Loos, and Peter Altenberg were regulars.

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Vienna is full of beautiful old streets like this one.

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In front of the Spanish Riding School at Michaelerplatz, where tourists go to watch the world-famous, UNESCO-protected Lippizan ballet. Lippizan horses are white stallions which are trained for years to dance in perfect harmony with the classical music that resounds within the baroque Imperial Palace during gala performances.

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Looking at the Rathaus, city hall, from within the Volksgarten.

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My favorite part about this picture is the classic Viennese woman behind me. It’s like two different eras are colliding in one.

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In front of the the Austrian Parliament building.

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Lastly, pictures of the beautiful pink blossoms in Stadtpark, the city park across the street from the school where I taught English.

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Marin Headlands & the Golden Gate Bridge

It’s hard for me to describe the joy and excitement I felt when taking these pictures. Nothing makes me feel as alive as documenting a place, whether new or old, through the lens of my camera. I know photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge at twilight are nothing revolutionary–we’ve all seen shots of the bridge just like these on postcards and in books–but this doesn’t bother me. I love the challenge of trying to recreate iconic images myself. I don’t have a lot of fancy equipment or lenses, but I do have a good camera, a steady tripod, and an eye for recreating images that, at first, may seem out-of-reach for an amateur photographer. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to come out here considering the fact that I’m a Bay Area native and my mom lives in Mill Valley, a 15-minute drive away from this stunning view of the most recognizable bridge in the world.

Twilight has always been my favorite time of day to shoot. I love watching the light change from sunset to the small window of time when city lights begin twinkling against cerulean blue skies before the last bit of natural light is enveloped in darkness. Of course, you can take gorgeous pictures of the bridge during the day, but isn’t the shot at twilight so much more compelling? It was also hard-earned. I made poor Miri wait in the car with me for about an hour-and-a-half until I got the lighting I wanted. This wasn’t the first time I tested his patience for a photograph. When we were in Cinque Terre in July 2014, he sat in the dirt with me at the top of a hill for three hours, all without complaining, so that I could get pictures of Vernazza at twilight. God bless his easy-going soul.

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We were worried before making the trip over that we might not be able to see the bridge due to Karl, San Francisco’s ubiquitous fog. We lucked out as only part of the bridge was covered, which I think made the scene even more atmospheric (and authentic). Taking a picture of the bridge on a clear day is like photographing Ireland on a sunny day. It happens but it’s not quite right.

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My ever-happy, ever-helpful photo assistant and model carrying the tripod for me 🙂 Man, I love him.

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Tourists gathering at one of several Golden Gate Bridge lookout points along the Marin Headlands drive.

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Beautiful Silver Bush Lupine growing along the side of the road just in time for the first day of spring.

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Franciscan Paintbrush in bloom.

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Karl rolling in.

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Look back at it.

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Sticky Monkeyflower. What a name.

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We stopped for dinner at Tamalpie, a pizzeria on Miller Avenue in Mill Valley that I appreciate for its name, a clever allusion to Mount Tamalpais, which towers over the small, affluent and outdoorsy community. I ditched all thoughts of “eating healthily” and we shared two mouthwatering pizzas (“I do it for the gram“). Miri chose the Railroad Grade pizza, topped with pepperoni, roasted peppers and onions, tomato and mozzarella. I opted for the Blithedale Canyon pizza, made up of an enticing combination of bacon, potato, mozzarella, fontina and pesto. Miri was really excited (I mean, just look at his face) about the fact that the crust was thin and crunchy, which is how pizza is prepared in Vienna, in contrast to the fat, doughy crusts you get when ordering pizza delivery in the U.S. from chains like Domino’s or Round Table. Anyway, I warned you that I’m not a food critic so I’m just going to end this post by saying the pizzas were reeeeal good. Hopefully, I get better at restaurant reviews the more we do this. Thanks for bearing with me and continuing to read until then 😉 Question for you: What kind of food would you like to see me attempt to review next?

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