Eggs are easy. You know what they taste like and look like – a thin skin, a goeey centre and an oval shape. Now, imagine this delicate thing decorated with beads, or embroidery, or painted with pictures or just. Add a bunch of these together and you have an Easter Egg Market. Look closely in that crowded market and you will find me in the middle of it, gazing at the stacks of eggs around me in wonder.
Vienna’s Christmas market has always been on my wishlist. So when my holiday plan included Easter, I figured it was time to check out the city’s second best markets: the Easter ones. Research threw up two places – the market in front of Schönbrunn Palace and at Freyung.
The palace and grounds were breathtaking; the market not as much. It felt like a hipster space created to satisfy tourists who thronged it on Easter Sunday. Cute wooden stalls sold jewellery, pottery, toys, clothes and curios. One area had a band crooning classic English numbers. People were ambling about, sipping wine or beer, munching on (quite average) food and taking selfies. It was noisy and crowded and felt like a Bombay market. The only saving grace was the view of the palace up ahead.
GETTING THERE: Schönbrunn station is the nearest metro/ tram station – it’s a 15 minute walk from there. Log on Ostermarkt.
On Easter Monday, we visited the Old Viennese Easter Market on Freyung, a pretty square in the city. There, we hunted for what some blogs said was the biggest tower of painted Easter eggs (40,000). There was no tower, just a giant painted egg, but the small market had enough charm to make up for it. In the centre was a display of just Easter eggs – painted ones, embroidered ones, beaded ones. There were eggs with lattice work, gold trimmings, ribbons, cloth and more.
We couldn’t help admire the craftmanship and thought that went into decorating those eggs. The market, we were told, also had workshops for children and musical performances in the evening.
Aside: History lesson – In 1990, the first Osterreichische Ostermarkt was held in Freyung, as a counterpart to the Christmas market (Christkindlmarkt), in 1990. Freyung in the early days was a thoroughfare, and was always used as a market place.
The stack of eggs apart, there were stalls selling handmade crockery, wooden toys, organic food and even a food truck serving alcohol. We gravitated towards a hot chocolate shop with the idea of warming ourselves up a bit (it was too early for alcohol). The shop sold chocolate bars, which once chosen were dissolved in cups of milk and served hot. Quite a lovely find.
GETTING THERE: Schottentor is the nearest metro/ tram station – it’s a five minute walk from there, down Schottengasse. Log on Altwiener-markt.at.