Best bets for the weekend of Nov. 13-14
Austria One of the first Christmas markets of Europe’s holiday season begins Saturday around Vienna’s City Hall. Some 150 illuminated stalls selling traditional decorations, wooden toys, crafts and the seasonal treats of gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, candy and punch help create a festive atmosphere. Colorful lights and decorations on the pavilions and trees in the park around the hall make an enchanted scene where visitors can listen to a talking tree and leave a greeting at the Post Office in the Clouds. The market is open until Dec. 24. For information, go to www.christkindlmarkt.at; it has an English version. For details on other Vienna markets, go to www.austria.info.
BelgiumStart your day at 7 a.m. Saturday with a beer and a tour of the Brussels Cantillon Brewery during its annual Public Brewing Session. The brewery is known for its lambic beers, which are fermented spontaneously when exposed to wild yeast and bacteria particular to the surrounding Senne valley, as opposed to beers that are fermented with laboratory-raised yeast. From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., watch the beer-making process, including filtration and hopping, cooking and pouring the wort — the unfermented liquid created from the mashed grain. From 7 a.m. to noon, you can watch the brewmaster and staff use traditional methods to clean the barrel that will hold the beer as it ferments. The cost is 6 euros. Find more details at www.cantillon.be.
EnglandFor 785 years, the Lord Mayor of London has made his way once a year from the city of London to Westminster to present himself to the reigning sovereign and swear loyalty to the crown. The tradition began in the days of King John, who granted the city the right to elect its own mayor if the mayor promised his allegiance to the king. Today, the procession has evolved into a three-mile parade of 800 years of English history with marching bands, military groups, colorful floats, dancers and musicians and the recently elected Michael Bear in the elegant 250-year-old Lord Mayor’s coach. The parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, one day after Bear assumes his new position. Find details on the procession and route at www.lordmayorshow.org.