Today my two nephews Markus and Daniel are here for a visit and it’s always a bit hectic. They don’t like sitting down, but that’s how it should be with children. Today their “favourite uncle” has thought of something special, as today the Radstadt Christmas Walk is on the programme. So we wrap up warm, put on our winter boots and off we go!
Advent calendar and Christmas carol singing
Shortly after 5.00 pm we meet at the little Schwaiger Chapel in the Schlossstrasse, which is where the walk starts. Right at the entrance we see the first illuminated window of the Advent calendar, which accompanies us along the whole way with Christmas and Advent motives and from the balcony of the old tannery we are welcomed by four brass musicians with Advent music. We carry on along the way, well-lit by torches, to the Loreto Church. On entering this baroque gem organ music and Christmas carols await us. But both rascals want to head on, as they’ve already discovered that the next station is that of the story-teller.
Listening to Christmas tales
Above the Loreto Church there’s a small arena, where the story-teller Max Steiner tells his tales. A group of children is sitting around the open fire and listening wide-eyed to his narration. But the children’s parents are listening intently too. After the fourth story I manage to drag my nephews away and we head on towards the Kaiserpromenade. Out a narrow crevice, transformed into a picturesque sight using a colourful spotlight, words of the Gospel according to Lucas sound out accompanied by music. It’s all a bit surreal, yet quite impressive. We march onward and come to a small stand where free non-alcoholic Advent punch is being served. Next to which there’s a board telling a Christmas story.
The scent of Christmas
After this warming refreshment we march onward through the Kaiserpromenade and reach the “scent house“, in which we can see a wonderful nativity scene. Once again Christmas carols can be heard and the scent of incense pervades our noses. A hundred metres on we come to a small bridge over the so-called “Schatzl-Graben” and here too plays of light transform the forest into a fascinating natural spectacle. In the meantime we’ve reached window 12 of the Advent calendar, which is by the way the longest Advent calendar in Europe. Continuing on we reach a shelter, where a men’s quartet choir sing more Christmas carols.
Lots of tasty treats at the Christmas market
Afterwards the torchlights and a angel flying above show us the way until we leave the forest. We once again enjoy the incomparable view of illuminated Radstadt with its imposing town walls. Heading down over the “Bräuleite“ we pass by the “Three Kings“ warming themselves by the open fire, whilst the horses take a rest. Once again in the valley it’s not all over yet, the remaining Advent calendar windows guide us back to the centre of Radstadt where the Christmas market is in full swing in the Town Square. I treat myself to a portion of tasty meat fritters, whilst my nephews are enchanted by the “live nativity scene”. Finally we head home.
Once back home the children have plenty to tell their parents on the phone. As I put them to bed later, they ask me if they can join the next Christmas walk – and I can’t say no – especially as I’m their “favourite uncle”! They’re both probably going to dream of visiting the next Radstadt Christmas walk tonight.
Photo credits: Lorenz Masser; TVB Radstadt