Having been quite taken with Vienna after our arrival yesterday we were very much looking forward to a walk around the city today. We were still pinching ourselves that just a few days ago we were in Transylvania and Hungary feeling as if we were in the third world and yet a couple of hundred kilometres and here we were in Vienna! It’s all so clean and stylish and while the buildings are old and stately the place itself is modern and you can see the affluence of the city clearly!
First stop today was the Spanish riding school which has been an institution in Vienna for over 450 years. While we couldn’t see a show we could pay to go and see them training so we decided to have a look. The venue is pretty spectacular, located in the centre of Vienna next to the main palaces and inside a building which looks more like it would be apartments than a dressage ring inside. We were sat above the horses all around the ring and then the splendid white Lipizzan horses and their riders came out to practice. I don’t know much about riding but it was clear to see the skill involved and the horses and riders were amazing in their skill and control, we were mesmerised.
The whole place was impeccably clean and every time a horse pooped it was picked up within a minute. Their stables too across the road were impeccably clean. The whole thing looked very pompous and grand indeed.
Our plan of hopping quickly through Europe means that we don’t have a lot of time in each place and so decided to take the bus tour to see as much of the city as possible. Plus we get to learn a few facts about the city too.
The tour was interesting but the most interest is centred around the middle of Vienna and the outskirts while a little interesting weren’t quite as grand. It was interesting to find out that one of the reasons that the centre of Vienna is so full of palaces and stately homes is because the royals and nobles remained in the city centre rather than migrating out to the suburbs as they have in many other cities around Europe.
Amongst all the interesting facts the best we learnt was that in 1913, Hitler, Stalin, Trotsky, Lenin, Tito and Freud all lived in Vienna! Now that’s one hell of a dinner party! Another group of influential people (although slightly more positively) who all lived in Vienna were Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss. So any gaps in the commentary on the bus were filled with beautiful classical music and it was amusing to see everyone on the bus nodding their heads and waving their hands along to the music!
We would have liked to have seen a museum with a Freudian analysis of the fact that he co habited a city with some of the worlds most dangerous leaders but if the museum does in fact exist it’s not overly well advertised. So instead we went to the Music and Sound museum, Haus der Musik. It was fascinating as it had loads of interaction as we learnt how sound worked and then went into a history of the lives of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven (basically while brilliantly talented they were all poor and lead tough lives)
Back to the Christmas markets for us afterwards and it seemed that outside every major building or cathedral a market had set up. So we were able to gaze at the beautiful buildings all lit up while wandering around the market stalls. The best stalls by far were the mulled wine stands where people started to gather from about 5pm onwards. The mulled wine warmed our insides and the atmosphere was just superb!!
By the time we got back to the hotel we had been wandering around for 12 hours and I have to say that Vienna has been a wonderful place to come and would definitely like to come back to experience more what it has to offer!! T
You have to keep looking around to spot everything. While it’s difficult to capture in one shot these show just how intricate the designs are on the outsides of the buildings.
We couldn’t take photos during the training but this is the winter exercise hall where we got to see the Spanish Riding School train.
Sarah made me do this.
Conducting the orchestra. They would speed up and slow down with your movements!
Modern and ancient art is probably how best to describe Vienna.
The buzz of the markets was fantastic.
The main Opera house, would love to come back one day for a show!
St Stephen’s Cathedral in the centre of town. The inside was pretty amazing too. Once again the detail in the design of the structure was just incredible! Of course there was a Gluwien stand just outside.
Another typical street in the centre, shame we were too early for the Christmas lights.