Over the Easter weekend my siblings and I were whisked off to Vienna as a treat from our lovely dad. Three of us had never visited before and Vienna is rather firmly entrenched in our family's history as my grandmother is Austrian - her aunt even attended the official reopening of the State Opera House back in the 50s! I have always felt a yearning to visit which I can't fully explain - I just knew I would fall in love with the city! I thought it would be particularly fun to share my photos with you ahead of this Saturday's Eurovision song contest which will be held in the city.
We stayed in the rather delightful Hotel Bristol, situated opposite the Opera and only a short walk from the city centre. We did end up walking almost everywhere... I was clocking in around 20,000 steps a day, but there are delightful horse carriages on every corner to ferry people around, should your legs get too tired! We didn't take a carriage but I had so much enjoyment taking snaps of them everytime I saw them... what can I say, once a horse lover, always a horse lover...
On our first day we visited Schönbrunn Palace and the Tiergarten (zoo) - I'm not usually a huge fan of zoos as I feel sorry for the animals (safari parks are a different matter!) but with the revelation that the Tiergarten housed several pandas, we had to go see them! We left feeling partly saddened for the animals in their enclosures, and partly delighted that we'd seen pandas at last. Such a bittersweet moment...
We also took in a performance at the Spanish Riding School - now this culminated in one of my childhood goals being achieved. I've always wanted to see the Lipizzaner stallions in action, as a child I used to pore over books and read all the history, and it was incredible to see their dressage "dances". If however you aren't incredibly horsey, I'd give it a miss - my siblings enjoyed it but weren't as impressed as I was! You can also sneak a glance at the enormous stables, situated opposite the School - one stall is about the same size as my flat! Unfortunately they don't allow any photographs during the performance but I had a great time snapping all the horses around the city instead.
Another highlight was the Austrian National Library, one of the most ornate rooms I have seen, stuffed with ancient texts and artefacts. It was simply stunning and I took far too many photos!
Our visit concluded with a luxurious tea at the Sacher Hotel (where we somehow managed to order lunch without sampling the famous Sachertorte - such a fail) - I'd say this a must-do if you visit Vienna, as the cakes are sumptuous, the surroundings stunning, and the hot chocolate was one of the best I have ever tasted.
I'm already planning my next visit - I'd love to walk around the Prater, go on the Riesenrad, and track down the biggest schnitzel in town!
Have you ever been to Vienna? Would you like to go? I'd definitely recommend it, it's only 2 hours away from Gatwick by Easyjet!