On St. Nicholas Day, we drove two hours south to Innsbruck, Austria, to visit some Christmas markets and meet Krampus. Freising was enveloped in dense, freezing fog, but in the Alps the weather was quite lovely.
Mountains surrounding the town.
Modern Nativity Scene (Krippe) by the Tyrolean State Museum.
View of mountains from Maria-Theresien-Straße with Annasäule (a memorial statue with the Virgin Mary and her mother) in foreground.
Another view of Maria-Theresien-Straße. There was a fabric shop on the end with three floors of fabrics…
Nordkette, around 3:30 p.m. as the sunset begins.
After some Glühwein, we took the Hungerburgbahn partway up the mountain to the north of the city. This is a very impressive ride.
St. Nicholas with his angels, waiting at the station. The book contains the names of all the good children. I did not ask about “Heather.”
Station’s modern architecture, with mountains and Christmas decorations.
View of the Inn (the river) and a Christmas market, from the Hungerburg.
Local kitteh is not impressed.
After some warm mead, we followed St. Nicholas a bit further up the mountain to a bonfire. Soon the Krampuses (Krampi? Krampteen?) hurtled down the mountain, with bundles of sticks and carts to haul away the naughty children, and ran around the bonfire shouting and waving. It was very loud, and very impressive.
Krampuses with carts, circling the fire. Guest photo by Roland.
More detailed look at the Krampus costume. Guest photo by Roland.
Krampus, fire, spectator…and firefighter, to keep things from getting too out of hand. Guest photo by Roland.
While generally Krampus is a scary dude, this event was suitable for children. After running, some of the Krampuses posed for photos.
Here you can see the giant bells worn by the Krampus. They seemed to be intentionally tuned to be discordant.
Mini-Krampus probably didn’t intend to steal the show, but he did. Note the red legs and the bundle of sticks (for beating the children whose names are not in Nicholas’ book).
After all that running, a Krampus must be pretty thirsty, so it’s off to the market for a festive beverage. Note here the horns and the red legs. Guest photo by Roland.
And at last, my favorite photo from the day. The sign on the shop says “Everything beautiful and good”, and the Krampus is just walking by.
We enjoyed Innsbruck, and would like to go back sometime when the days are a bit longer.