Europe Journey 2015 – Day 32 to 35
We drove from Alpbach to Austria’s capital city Vienna that lies in the country’s east on the Danube River.
We took the local tram to the heart of the city of Vienna and wandered the streets marvelling at the magesty of the historic buildings. Vienna’s Ringstrasse is 5.3 kilometers long and houses monumental buildings built during the period of Historicism in the 1860s to 1890s.
Today we visited Schönbrunn Palace, a former Austrian empire summer residence. We wandered through the extensive gardens and saw some of the rooms of the 1,441-room Baroque palace. The decorative garden leads towards a 60-metre-high hill, which since 1775 has been crowned by a Gloriette structure. We walked to the top to see spectacular panoramic views of Vienna.
Day 35 – Spanish Riding School
The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution in the world that has practiced for nearly 450 years and continues to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the Haute Ecole.
When I was a teenager girls either liked boys, rock music, ballet or horses. For me it was horses. I read novels about them, plastered my walls with posters of them and watched movies and TV shows about them. I even owned a horse for four years. As I grew to adulthood I put my obsession with horses behind me and got on with establishing a career and raising a family.
One of the reasons we visited Vienna during our trip was to see a performance of the famous Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule). Seeing the performance was by far my highlight of this trip, or perhaps any other trip. Being in the Hofburg palace in the same arena as the majestic Lipizzan stallions and their riders sent joy through my body. I imagine people who love fine art or music would derive the same pleasure should they be in the presence of the artists. Watching the horses and riders harmoniously work together to classical music cast a magical spell over me and took my breath away. It was the pinnacle of horsemanship. All my teenage dreams came true, albeit 40 years later.
Later in the day we enjoyed a behind the scenes tour and saw the beautiful Lipizzan stallions in their stables. They were so calm and peaceful; I felt such a strong connection to them.