It’s been a long time since I’ve chronicled my European travel tales, but it’s time to jump back in. We left off in Italy, the country that requires you to eat gelato three times per day. But after making stops in multiple Italian cities and eating my limit of gelato (yeah right… like there’s a limit when it comes to gelato), it was time to move on to Vienna, Austria.
We arrived to the hotel after the sun had set with just enough time to change into a nice outfit and rush to the opera and ballet. One of the items on my 101 in 1001 list is to see a ballet or opera. I don’t think I could have asked for a better location to cross this off my list. There was an amazing set of musicians, opera singers, and ballet dancers – sometimes all performing together. We weren’t allowed to take pictures during the performance, but I was so stunned by the room it was held in that I snapped a quick picture of the ceiling and chandelier.
A classy evening of Mozart was followed by a gourmet meal in the town hall. But then we tried to go to club and ended up at some special event where everyone was dressed in outlandish costumes. We were obviously out of the loop and arrived in normal attire, but had a great time taking pictures with the many characters, dancing with people on stilts, and sipping on over-priced cocktails.
I would call the first evening in Vienna a success, but the following day was even better. During our walking tour of the city we walked by the Spanish Riding School. A fellow horse-lover in the group and I took a tour of the stables, arena, practice area, and even met a couple of the horses. These beautiful Lipizzaner stallions were smaller than I expected, but had a magical quality about them that just can’t be explained. I was in absolute heaven, especially since I hadn’t been in contact with horses in 4 months – the longest amount of time I’d ever been separated from them since I was 5 years old.
After the tour, Karina and I snuck into a little café to enjoy some goulash, a delicious and piping hot stew that couldn’t have been more satisfying in the freezing cold. After dessert we walked around the city, snapping away at the stunning buildings as snow began to lightly fall. I took a picture with an elephant statue (I have an odd obsession with elephants) and then hopped on the bus with the rest of the group to head to the Schnapps factory. The founder’s grandson gave us a personal tour which of course ended with free Schnapps samples for all. I think it’s safe to say we all boarded the bus after that very happy and ready for the next leg of our adventure.
Next Stop: Mauthausen Concentration Camp