Today we headed to old historical Vienna. The locals use the German version of the city name – Wien, pronounced “Vee-in.” Just say it really quickly. We walked from the Austrian parliament Building to Heldenplatz, or Heroes’ Square. One hero statue is Archduke Charles of Austria, who fought against Napoleon. The other statue is of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who defeated the invading Turkish armies.
From there, we walked to the Lipizzaner Stallion Riding School. People start training to become riders at the age of 16 and it can take ten years. The horses are dated back to the 16th century when they were bred for the Hapsburg family. 200 of them were transported from Spain to Vienna, although half did not survive the transport. All current stallions are bred from the surviving horses.
After looking at the horses, we headed to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. We were not able to really take many pictures, as they were holding mass at the time.
After the Cathedral, we headed to Demel Café to warm up with coffee. Chris had an applestudel and I had a sachertorte.
After this, we walked our legs off at the Museum of Natural History. The architecture alone makes it worth the visit. Maria Theresa and her husband (Emperor Franz) decided to begin a collection in 1750. He commissioned people to travel the world and bring back samples of animals and other things from around the world. Among the collection: a dodo bird and a Tasmanian Tiger.
When we finished dinner, we went on another excursion. It is the Heurigen Evening, which is a celebration for the bottling of the year’s wine harvest. The place was called Heurigen Wolff and they served their own vineyards’ wines accompanied by meats, cheeses, and spreads. They had musicians –a fiddle and an accordion.
The water levels on the Danube are too low to continue sailing down the river, so today we stayed in Vienna. It rained most of the day, but we were able to walk around and see a few fun things when it let up some. The Christmas lights were very pretty.