Started out the morning with some coffee and then it was off to watch morning practice at the Spanish Riding School. Unfortunately, our flights home were before the next scheduled performance…otherwise, I would have loved to see the full performance.
It is classical dressage and the horses are all Lipizzaners, a breed from the 16th century of horses from the Iberian Peninsula. All the horses that are trained and perform in Vienna are stallions and there are only 18 riders of varying levels who work with the horses. The riding school is the oldest riding school in the world and the baroque building was built during the mid 1700’s.
During the two-hour morning practice, 5 or six riders and horses would practice for 30 minutes, and then would dismount, assistants came in to halter the horses, lead them back to the stables and the riders would leave to mount the next groups of “student” horses. So over the course of the two hours, about 25 horses practiced various skills and moves.
Although none of the jumps and leaps were practiced during the session I watched – the stallions are known for amazing leaps and jumps…such as the one shown below. (photo courtesy of The Horsey Lady)
Although a little like watching swimming practice or football practice, as you’re not always entirely sure what is going on – the arena was beautiful, the horses strong and talented and the riders were precise. Very cool!
After the practice, I met up with Woody near Karlsplatz…after a little confusion…as there are 18 different ways to pop out of the metro station…we found each other and headed for some lunch, walking past the Secession. A building and artist collective started by Gustav Klimt in response to the conservatism in the late 1800’s. It is known for the golden cabbage that sits above the entryway.
photo courtesy of this site
We headed toward Naschmarkt – a large open air food market with about a mile of fresh produce stalls, specialty shops, kebab and falafel vendors and rows of small cafes and restaurants. We stopped at OrientOccident or EastWest and grabbed lunch.
Woody had Orient Toast – apparently a toasty sandwich with a curry dipping sauce. I went with the Käsespatzle again. I know…shocking!
We walked around the market…and I wanted to buy and eat everything!
After exploring we began walking back toward our hotel…and made sure to walk past the Joh. Springer Erben store. he store was beautiful and incredibly classy. You begin to understand that hunting used to be the realm of royalty and prestige. There was a distinct lack of “camo”, which I appreciated. For gazillions of years, hunters have been hunting without crazy-photographic-mossy-oak-cabela’s-nightstalker-brown-and-green-blotchy camoflage…and generally they’ve been successful.
I appreciated the tradition that you could feel oozing from the store.
Woody would like this car…complete with all the contents we could spy in the car.
Must have belonged to an employee of the store!
Palais Coburg was right around the corner…it’s been turned into a hotel…ahem, very nice hotel! A quick look at the prices, and the most inexpensive (I couldn’t bring myself to use the word cheap) room is a cool €670 a night. Whoa! The palace was built on the former defense wall of the emperor’s city.
Woody headed back for some afternoon sessions at the conference and agreed to make it back to the hotel for a dinner reservation our hotel concierge helped us get at Meinl Am Graben…this would be our celebratory dinner for Woody’s accomplishment of European Geosciences Union Young Outstanding Scientist Award.
I’ll post more comprehensive photos on O & C, but we had an amazing meal with a fabulous maitre d’hotel/sommelier/waiter who chose our wines for us (all Austrian, of course) and made sure we enjoyed every moment of the evening!
Dogs welcome…and this one felt like the rolling buffet cart was a perfect little hideout since his people weren’t paying enough attention to him.
It was a wonderful meal, beautiful evening and definitely a moment in Vienna we will remember.