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.


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.


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.


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


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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Dreams of My Father

I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot lately as the seventh year anniversary of his passing approaches. As many of you know, I decided to study German in college and spend my third year abroad in Austria and Germany because of my dad, Gene Bryant.

My dad was stationed in the army in Austria in the 50s (a trick of fate that he didn’t get sent to fight in the Korean War), and there cultivated his life-long love for the Germanic culture, with its history, classical music and opera, Bratwurst and Bier. As a kid, I poured over my dad’s army photos, fascinated by pictures of my youthful, confident father and his army friends taking on Europe. These pictures showed my dad as a young man I never knew (he was 58 when I was born) and a very interesting Europe that was in the process of rebuilding itself after the war. My dad never became fluent in German, but, fifty years after being stationed in Austria, he still studied his German books, teaching me such useful words as: Schweinhund, an insult that literally translates to “pig dog,” and Mach schnell, hurry up. When my dad passed away during the spring of my senior year of high school, I returned to his army photos and felt this incredible urge, maybe even compulsion, to visit the places in the photographs and learn to speak German. However, I was not prepared to meet my husband, the man who would turn my world upside down and who would mark a before and after in my life.

Looking at his pictures, today, I am stunned by the fact that I not only recognize but also know so many of the places he photographed. What was once an intangible dream–living in Europe like my dad–became a reality for three years and will remain an ever-present memory. I can only imagine what it was like when my dad was there in the 50s. He never liked to talk much about the army, although it’s pretty safe to assume looking at his pictures that he’d had a good time. I think it made him sad that he didn’t keep in touch with any of his friends after they got out. I remember prodding him once about it when I was 15. I got him to agree to let me use an online search engine to look up a few of his old comrades. Fifty years had passed since he had spoken to any of them. I managed to find the phone number of one of his friends in Chicago, whose name I can no longer remember. I shared the news with my dad excitedly. But it turned out we were too late. My dad called and his friend’s wife informed him that his friend had passed a few years prior. That was the first and last attempt my dad made at contacting anyone.

Reflecting on everything that has happened in my life, I see the truth in the saying, “Sometimes the bad things in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.” When my dad died almost seven years ago, I never would have imagined that this tragic loss would somehow put me on the path to finding my future husband. As a photographer, I guess it’s fitting that my dad’s photographs were what inspired me to move across the world and learn a foreign language, thus falling in love with a Slovakian-born, Austrian accountant in the process. 

In short, the worst thing I’ve experienced in life has directly led me to the best thing to ever happen to me. Without my dad’s passing, I have no idea whether I would’ve chosen to study abroad in Austria or if Miri and I ever would have found each other and fallen in love. The universe works in mysterious ways and although I miss my dad terribly and will never stop feeling the pain of his loss, I still thank God for the seventeen years we had together and for turning a tragedy into a blessing by connecting my soul to Miri’s. Love is the most powerful force in the world and it will change your life, if only you let it.

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