Vienna

From the Czech Republic we headed back into Austria – this time the eastern side – and found a campsite just outside Vienna. We’d heard good things about Vienna, but weren’t really sure exactly what there was on offer other than the usual cathedrals, opera houses and suchlike. So we did a quick Trip Advisor search and set off to see what we would stumble across whilst wandering around.

As with a lot of the other cities we’ve visited, Vienna isn’t short of beautiful buildings and churches and it’s always nice to just meander through the streets, making sure you look up as well as in front of you. One of the things Vienna is famous for is its coffee houses, so we made sure we visited a few of those to sample the good stuff, which was both the coffee and the cakes on offer!

Another thing Vienna is famous for is the schnitzel. So, when on our wandering we came across a restaurant, Figlmuller, claiming to have the best (and biggest) schnitzel in Vienna, we decided to put it to the test – especially when we saw the queue lining up outside the door. We got chatting with a nice American couple as we were waiting our turn and ended up sharing a table with them. We certainly weren’t disappointed with the schnitzel and the potato salad that went with it was perhaps even better. We left with very full stomachs and lots of good tips from Julie and Steve on what to see/do the following day.

And a full day it was: we started off with breakfast at the Central coffee house and then went to see the morning exercises of the Spanish Riding School and their Lipizzaner horses. It was amazing to see these graceful creatures “dancing” their way around the arena. Each of the exercise sessions lasted approximately 30 minutes, with most of them practicing simple movements, designed to strengthen their muscles as well as perfecting their style. However we also got to see a couple of the more experienced horses being trained in jumps: a somewhat tense, but fantastic thing to witness.

From here we headed up to the Belvedere, a former palace, to see a Gustav Klimt exhibition. It started off with a lot of examples of his, his brother and his friend Franz Matsch’s early work. They’d gone to art school together and then ended up working together. His early work is very different from the paintings he’s most known for as they’re very “real” rather than abstract, however you can see these influences reflected in his later work in the faces of those he paints. The highlight was, of course, to see the originals of those paintings he’s most famous for. We were lucky enough to see, amongst others, The Kiss (one of Karen’s favourite paintings), Judith and part of the Beethoven Frieze, as well as examples of some of his landscape pieces. Simply stunning.

To complete our day of culture, in the evening we treated ourselves to tickets to see the Vienna Mozart Orchestra at the Goldener Saal concert hall. It was a wonderful experience and we’re glad we’d waited for Vienna to splash out on a concert. The venue, music and traditional costumes all made for a fantastic and very relaxing evening.

After another whistlestop city stay, it was time to head onto our next: Budapest.

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