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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Vienna and The Spanish Riding School.

Vienna was very beautiful and we had a lovely break there, and The Spanish Riding School were awesome!

I hadn't flown since I was sixteen years old, and then only the once, but I loved it. I love the power of take off and love being able to see countries and the sea passing by below you.

The underground in Vienna is excellent and we bought tickets for the week so we were free to travel wherever and whenever we wanted.

The highlights of our first holiday together were;

The zoo (the oldest and only baroque zoo in Europe - very beautiful and they have Giant Pandas including a baby Panda! The animals I most fell for were the Anteaters with their big, shaggy legs, looking like cuddly toys. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera!

A music festival we went to on the banks of the Danube. The Danube is very beautiful and impressive and bopping away to a Rock and Roll band on a hot July evening as dusk fell was an experience not to be missed!

The view over the city from the top of the huge Ferris wheel which long predates the London Eye. We went on it at night so the city was all lit up below us. Very romantic!

Lanzier Tiergarten, a huge wild park on the edge of the city where we saw wild boar roaming the woods and glades. The park is incredibly hilly and was very challenging walking, and the number of very elderly Viennese people managing the steepest climbs and descents really impressed me. There are little cafes in the remotest parts of the park and we had a really lovely day there. We climbed an enormous tower which is situated on one of the highest spots in the park and the view from the top over the city and surrounding countryside, with mountains in the distance, was breathtaking!

The Spanish Riding School (of course!). We watched morning exercise and had a guided tour of the stables on the Friday, then went back on the Sunday to watch the last performance before the summer break (the horses all go to the aforementioned Lanzier Tiergarten for the summer, and I looked for signs of them there but found none (it is a massive park).

I hadn't realized that the horses doing the 'airs above the ground' specialize in only one movement each. The stallions all seemed very relaxed and content, both in their work and in their stables, and were given lots of treats while training, from a special back pocket sewn into the riders tailcoats.

In the stables the droppings are picked up every hour, night and day, to keep the horses gleaming white and unstained! They also have three saddles per horse, which made me feel a lot better about how many mine have got between them!!

There are carriage rides which start and end outside the buildings which house the SRS and I made friends with a pair of greys who were much more sociable than most of the carriage horses. I met them several times and would very much have liked to sneak them home with me in my luggage! There are a huge number of carriage horses working in the city and I wondered where they all went to at night. I noticed that they all had buckets with chutes strategically placed behind the horses to stop the streets getting soiled. Vienna is a very clean city!

This first photo is the view from our hotel window;


The square outside The Spanish Riding School;


Taken sitting at a pavement cafe;



An inner city park;


My friends, the greys, taken at Starbucks just outside The Spanish Riding School;


And The SRS itself (you're not allowed to take photos so these are a bit sneaky!!!);





The stables;





Lanzier Tiergarten;



The view from the top of the tower:






3 comments:

  1. All I can say is "WOW!!" What a great trip you took.

    I've seen the Spanish Riding School here in its US tours about 4 times. There was also a morning training session we attended the last time they were here. Each time the performances took my breath away. True horsemanship for all of us to aspire to.

    So happy you had such a super vacation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you very much, Jean!!!

    ReplyDelete

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