Classes are over and final papers have been submitted, so what’s a girl to do with 15 days in Europe with nothing left to do? Go to Austria, of course!
My traveling buddy, Allison, and I arrived in Vienna late Thursday night a little later than planned since we missed our connection in Zurich due to our delayed flight from Paris, but no big deal … traveling has taught me that you gotta stay flexible!
Our first full day in Austria was spent touring Vienna. Thankfully, most people speak English there, although I did accidently start speaking French. Guess it’s a habit I just can’t break at this point! We took a short tour of the city in a horse-drawn carriage. The weather was beautiful, everything was so clean (there was no dog doo on the sidewalks like in France), and people were extremely friendly!!
Since Allison is a horse fanatic, we went to the world-famous Spanish Riding School. For a small fee, we were guided through Imperial courtyard and the stables where we saw the stunning Lipizzaner stallions and learned all about how they are bred, chosen and maintained. These “ballerinas” are famous for their ability to perform incredible choreography on the ground and in the air.
After years of rigorous and sometimes unglamorous training, only the best students who attend the riding school acquire the title of “Rider” and “Chief Rider.” There are 19 Riders at the moment, 18 men and just one woman. Hundreds of people apply to go this school, but only one person is accepted each year and many people end up dropping out because they soon find that life before reaching the top of the hierarchy is not as romantic as they imagine.
We also saw the arena known as the Winter Riding School where morning exercises are held and at the end of the tour, we saw the world’s biggest oval horse walker. Overall, I would say that the Spanish Riding School is a definite must-see for any horse lovers out there and even for those who have any kind of interest in horses, but just make sure to get there in time to catch the morning exercises!
We finished our day of sightseeing in Vienna with dinner at TGIFridays!! Yes, I know what you’re thinking: HOW AUTHENTIC. But after being in France for over four months where spicy food is pretty much non-existent, I’ve really really missed good ol’ American food, so I ordered myself a nice big hamburger loaded with melted cheese, jalapeno peppers, and guacamole to satisfy my craving for something spicy.
Vienna gets an “A” in my book!