So after having driven through pretty much the whole of Austria, with a quick stop in Salzburg, we arrived in Vienna. I don't even know where to start. I absolutely loved Vienna. We spent two whole days in this stunning city although it now feels like we were there for a week. The two days were so eventful, we didn't sit down and relax for a minute. Saturday morning we went to the Spanische Hofreitschule (Spanish Riding School) where they have « practiced for nearly 450 years and continue to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the haute école. The objective of classical equitation is to study the way the horse naturally moves and to cultivate the highest levels of haute école elegance the horse is capable of through systematic training. The result creates an unparalleled harmony between rider and horse, as only Vienna's Spanish Riding School achieves ». We weren't able to go to one of their shows, so we went to "Der Morgenarbeit" (Training), which was just as beautiful to watch. The amount of people who come to watch the training is incredible, we were lucky to get a seat. Definitely recommend going to a session if you are a horse lover!
After having lunch in a cafe - where we came back to twice in the two days we were there - we went to the Hofburg Palace. I grew up watching a Dutch TV series called "Sisi", based on the life of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. In the series they were so in love and and she seemed like the kindest person on earth. After visiting the museum my childhood crumbled. Franz and Sisi's love wasn't at all as real as they made it in the series. Sisi is often referred to as "the depressed empress". For a certain period in her life she only wore black dresses, not beautiful, colorful, blue and pink dresses like in the series. Okay, I know, it is just a TV show, were everything is made into a perfect love story. But hearing how the real story goes, how she was murdered by a anarchist, somewhat ruins my all time favorite story from my childhood.
The main streets of Vienna were flocked with tourists, it was crazy how busy the city was. And in between all the intrigued tourists there were these men dressed up as Mozart, selling tickets for the, you guessed it, Mozart Orchestra. I can't help but imagine the world 300 years ago, when everyone was dressed like that. How different everything must have been... Even though I am not the biggest fan of classical music, if you are in Vienna you are basically obliged to go to at least one concert. Vienna is the birthplace of classical music and it really is worth the experience. The concert hall of the Wiener Musikverein was so beautiful, golden walls, paintings on the ceiling and the most stunning chandeliers. Our seats were on the second last row so with all the heads in front of us it was hard to really see the orchestra, but then again it is all about the music, not the view. Here's a video of a part of a song that everyone knows.
Sunday morning we went to Schönbrunn. Our hotel was just next to the park in which the palace is situated so we could be there quite early. 9am, not too many people there. Nevertheless, after our tour through the palace (40 rooms!), the gardens were filled with tourists. Queues of hundreds of meters long to get tickets... Glad we had gone early! After the tour we walked up to the Gloriette, where you have an amazing view of Vienna. However, I thought the best part of Schönbrunn was the Crown Prince Garden. I loved the vine cover passage!
In the afternoon we went for a boat trip on the Danube. For some reason I always get so tired when I am on a boat. Not sure whether it is the wind blowing in my face or the motion of the water, but yes I dozed off... And I must say, the Danube isn't the most picturesque river out there.