This is a busy time for most of you, but I encourage you to take up a slower pace and enjoy and reflect.
For me, ‘tis the season to be homesick for Europe. Christmas is magic. Christmas markets fill town squares with sounds of merchants, curious shoppers, and musicians; smells of traditional foods and mulled wines; and as sun sets the lights twinkle bright like fairies sparkling through the night. As lively and crowded as the markets are, there is a feeling of peace and solidarity that comes with age old traditions ingrained in the community. You have to marvel how pagan traditions found their way to Christendom.
Enjoy Salzburg’s Christmas Market
In my heart Christmas, where ever I find myself, will be a magical time where people come together to enjoy each other and the fruits of winter season and look with anticipation to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
One of my favorite cities for magic any time of year is Salzburg, Austria. Salzburg is divided by the Salzach River in to the old town and new town. First settled by Celts around 5th century BC, Romans were to follow and then the Catholic Church. The city’s fortress, Hohensalzburg, was built in 1077 by Archbishop Geppard and dominates this beautiful city of 35 churches.
Its medieval roots and Baroque heritage are found well-preserved throughout the Alt-Stadt, “old city”. Salzburg in all its splendor was the “Rome of the North”, it is the birthplace of 18th century composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and, in 1996, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you plan to visit, take a poncho and umbrella and stay at ArtHotel Blaue Gans if you’re looking for a central boutique hotel with flair. Blaue Gans is Salzburg’s oldest hotel, a mere 660 years old, and located down the street from Mozart’s birthplace. If you prefer a more traditional establishment a bit off the beaten path, I love Romantik Hotel Die Gersberg Alm. Even in Mozart’s time, Gersberg Alm was a beloved excursion for city-dwellers yearning for nature. This lovely spot has a magnificent view of the castle and cathedral. Either way be ready to fall in love with Salzburg.