Visiting Vienna and the Spanish Riding School had been on my travel bucket list since I was a little girl. So, when we had a chance to visit last fall and make this dream come true, I was over the moon.
Age does not seem to wither my passion for horses, so whenever I visit a place and see they’re a part of the culture above and beyond what I might have imagined, I am always pleasantly surprised.
Vienna has an extensive carriage trade.
The unmistakeable ring of clip-clopping hooves resounding outside our hotel window was my first clue.
“Ooh!” I excitedly pulled back the curtain and looked five storeys down to the street below. “That’s nice!”
The moment passed. I mentioned it to Lloyd and then thought no more of it until a few minutes later another horse and carriage, and then another and then another trotted by in single file on their way into the city centre about 10 minutes away.
Now I was curious.
After breakfast we walked the 15 minutes from our hotel to the Hofburg Palace, our first stop the Spanish Riding School. The alabaster-coloured buildings and monuments seemed to shimmer beneath the veil of a perfect azure sky. I was enthralled.
As we approached city centre the rhythmic cacophony of metal shoes on cobblestones rang out again, from all directions, echoing as brightly off the walls of the narrow streets as the sunlight that burst upon them. Pealing church bells punctuated the clatter on the quarter hour until all was sensory overload. It was, at times, almost overwhelming.
When we arrived at the Michaelerplatz just outside the Hofburg Palace (where this image was taken) horses and carriages and their respective drivers were waiting for fares. Ever the romantic I knew I just had to see Vienna from a horse-drawn carriage.
So, after purchasing our tickets for the Spanish Riding School stable tour, which would happen later in the day, we paid our fare and revelled in a 60-minute tour of Vienna’s beautiful sites in a carriage pulled by Fritz and Friedl, a lovely team of greys.
I knew I would love Vienna.
Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012