Of the myriad of things I love about travel, one is discovery of people, places and things well known to everyone in the world except me. I am one of the most poorly traveled creatures on the planet (my TripAdvisor travel map is but the tiniest sliver of the pie chart) so every new destination is a welcome little triumph over hopeless provincialism.
And so it was on a Saturday morning in Vienna when, dazed from travel and lack of sleep, I looked at my hastily-scribbled “to do in Vienna” notes and suggested we set off for “something called the Naschmarkt.”
Which turned out, judging from all the other tourists three-deep at the counters and all the locals with their market baskets, to be the place to be in Vienna on a Saturday. Everyone knows about the Naschmarkt, and now, at long last, I do, too.
Depending on your source, the Naschmarkt dates back to either the 17th or 18th century, its name supposedly based on its origin as a milk market and the “asch” (ash) wood pails that were used to carry milk. Or maybe not. It could also be a play on the word naschen – to eat sweets – thus, as I will always think of it, the “nosh” market.
Over the centuries, the market expanded and modernized and today is comprised of a plethora of stalls selling all manner of food and drink, as well as café upon café tucked amongst the booths. The market is open every day but on Saturdays also features a flea market.
But it’s really, truly all about the food.
Such a feast for the senses, in every sense! The cheerful bustle helped us ever so briefly forget our jet lag, and we wandered from booth to booth in wonderment. Every other farmers market will have to get in line behind the Naschmarkt – I’ve never seen so much food displayed in one place!
With all those choices, however, somehow we managed to buy fruit from the one stall where the wares were a disappointment. “Where are the plums from?” asked the CE, puzzling over all this fresh fruit to be found in September. “Poland,” answered the vendor. We hauled two bulging bags of peaches and plums back to the hotel, where the CE later pronounced the contents inedible. Deserved or not, “Poland” will forevermore be our code word for sub-par fruit. Caveat emptor.
But all was not lost. While the fruit might be iffy, I can vouch for the local brew. In hopes of angling toward an afternoon nap, I sampled an Ottakringer, and it was wunderbar!