Sunday, May 25, 2014

Vienna Day 1

I know it will shock you but we're sitting in the bar on the ship as I type this.  I know, I need to give you a minute to get over the shock.
OK... You over it?
Today was our first day in Vienna.  Ever. For either of us.  I won't say that again because we're now in territory that I've never been in, so Ken and I are in the same boat (ha) from now on.

First Vienna beer - in the hotel

Wandering around Vienna in the morning

 Ken and I met Mom and Dad at the Spanish Riding School Visitor Center (where you pick up tickets) and then wandered over to St Stephen's Cathedral while waiting for the doors to open for the Lipizzaner show.  We were lucky enough to attend part of a service in St Stephen's.

These weren't for sale.....or you know one would be in my suitcase now....

One could call this an arena but that would be so inadequate (I love that they call the stables the "horse castle" though)

 I know I absolutely can't describe the Spanish Riding School adequately.  Those of you that know me know that it's on my 'bucket list' and that I've seen them when they were in San Francisco.  But seeing them in their home 'castle' is indescribable.

No photos allowed while the horses were present.  And yes, I'm bummed that I'm one of those who follows the rules.  But since we were in the front row IN the arena (yes, at 'dirt' level) and were in the spotlight at least a few times, I wasn't willing to chance being kicked out.  So no photos while horses are in the arena.  But yes, I'm not so straight laced that I didn't stand on the arena floor with Ken to have our photo taken (with the employee saying something to us in German (Austrian) that we couldn't understand, but got out of the arena quickly just in case....)

Looking up from our seats to the Emperor's box

The ceiling

Front and center (literally) yep, goose bumps, tears, the whole nine yards

 The show was amazing. 

The dirt after the show - yes I could have reached out and touched the horses.  and yes I sniffed deeply countless times. 
Standing on the 'dirt'

Spanish Riding School

Beer between performance and tour

Between the performance and the tour we visited a lovely sidewalk restaurant and tried some beverages.  And food.

Just over my head in that archway was where we entered.  The horses performed to the left of me, inside that amazing building.

Here's a view of our seats - front row center.

We also went on the tour of the facility.  Each of the 100 horses on sight in Vienna have two saddles and multiple bridles.  The tack room was awe inspiring.

Again, couldn't take photos of the horses but yes, I did manage to 'accidentally' turn on my camera and take a photo in the stable....

After the tour we went to the globe museum.  There were globes from the 1600's - notice California is an island?

a church on the walk to the ship

We took the U-bahn to the river and walked a couple hundred yards to our new home for the next two weeks.

Uniworld's River Princess is a lovely ship.  The crew we've met so far are very nice. And would you believe, as we were walking up to the ship the Captain (yep, the Captain) came up to me and took my suitcase.  A couple other crew members took the rest of the luggage and said we didn't need to worry any more as we were on holiday.  Heaven.

Our room - lovely

Mom and Dad gave us a cabin warming gift of Turkish Delights from Istanbul (yummy!!!)

Our first shipboard drinks - The cocktail of the day, a Woo Woo (Vodka, Schnapps and Cranberry) and a Becks - later Ken switched to a Budweiser....but before anyone flips out, it is the original Czech version.

First drinks in the lounge during the safety drill (yep, really)

Our first wander around the ship - this is on the Danube, Bow of the ship

\The chess board on the Sun Deck

But for now, it's off to bed.  We're going to do part of the Vienna City tour then cruise around the city on our own (Ken and I) and then get back to the ship in time for a tour of the Schoenenberg palace tour with Mom and Dad and Greg and Yolanda. 

Ta ta for now!

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