Vienna and the out of season riding school. 

Unfortunately this hotel didn’t include breakfast but we made up for it with pastries and coffee in a nearby cafe, sat out in the morning sun. 

Another cute crossing. 

I checked the map and it looked like we could walk behind the plaza and garden from yesterday and through to the riding school. Turned out you could as long as you walked right round for an extended ten minutes. It wasn’t all bad as we saw the Palmenhaus as we walked round and we still made it in plenty of time. 

We made it to the riding school and took our seats. I knew very little about this whole enterprise but Peter filled me in on the whole horses performing etc. 

Unfortunately when we booked our tickets they didn’t tell us that the main stallions were down in Slovenia for the Summer and we had the backups and next generation horses! It was still a fun event to do but I think Peter was disappointed that it wasn’t what he had hoped for. The horses trotted about and did a few manoeuvres but nothing like the stuff Peter had shown me on youtube. 

Once it was over we had to decide what to see today. So after checking out some Roman ruins we took the underground  (Which is super impressive and easy to use.) to Schonbrunn Palace, a summer retreat for the wealthy Hapsburg family, surrounded by acres of land.

It’s free to get into the grounds but we didn’t enter the building as the weather was again glorious. The palace is huge and very impressive.

The grounds are even more entertaining, with mazes and flower gardens, a huge water feature and a great summer house perched on the top of a hill, looking down on the palace. We could just imagine the pained look on the servants when the royalty decided to dine up there.

You could even walk up and round the back of the fountain and look through to the palace. 

We walked up to the summer house and looked down to the palace. From here you could really appreciate the grandeur and you’d expect nothing less from the Hapsburgs. 

On our way back down the hill we took the scenic route through the woods and took a paid detour into the maze. 

It was loads of fun trying to race around the maze and get to the middle first. I thought I was beat for sure but some how made it to the prize first and then had loads of fun laughing at Peter and attempting misdirection. 

The prize was a lucky stone that yiu hugged to feel it’s energy. Once we were all energised up we hit the next maze and walked through the shaded parks where it wad a bit cooler. 

Once we left the palace grounds we found ourselves down by the canal and thought it would be a good time to stop for lunch. We found a table in a big restaurant across the road from the water and I ordered a ton load of food. 

Sausages, wrapped in bacon, filled with cheese. Yum! 

We walked through the streets of Vienna in the sunshine. It’s a beautiful city with grandiose buildings around every corner, green spaces everywhere and cafes/restaurants spilling out into the streets. 

Finding ourselves back by the Palmenhaus we stopped for a drink outside this incredible building. 

We continued on through the nearby park and sat out on the grass for a while. Loads of people were enjoying the early evening warmth and there were aerobics groups, art groups and what looked like book clubs out on the lawns. 

The only regret from the holiday was not spending time in any of the museums or galleries as they looked impressive and I imagine their content would be great. 

We walked back through the museum quarter down a route we hadn’t used before and back to the hotel. We had noticed some more bars and restaurants round the hotel the night before so got changed and went to a cool mexican themed bar where we had margaritas. 

We continued on, by now a little typsy and in need of food, we couldn’t make a proper decision so tumbled into a quaint little place down a dimly lit side street where we had I more schnitzel and Peter had steak. 

The food was cheap and cheerful amd we found our way back to the pub from the night before. Sat outside with some beers we reflected on what an ace holiday it had been. 

The next day was uneventful, the airport is an easy trip from the underground station marked on the map. We were just sad the holiday was coming to an end! 

Vienna and flying in the theme park. 

Our last day in Slovakia was here! Bratislava was such a great city and it certainly charmed us. Luckily our transport to Vienna was next door to our botel, so a slightly dodgy hotel breakfast later we were on the boat travelling up the Danube river.

It was so easy to book, it’s around 20Euros for a one way trip that takes about an hour and 15 minutes. On the way we passed Devin Castle, an old fort high atop a rocky crag on the border of Slovakia and Austria. 

We waved to a pretty riverside town and mostly passed through forest with lots of little fishermen’s huts lining the banks. It felt fun to speed along on a catamaran with the wind whipping around us. It didn’t feel like much time had passed before we hit the city limits and passed through onto the canal, before arriving between steep walls to the centre of the city. 

We disembarked and through my brilliant sense of direction headed towards the hotel I had booked via St Stephen’s cathedral, a huge spectacle towering above a small square surrounding it, with a beautiful spire touching the sky above us. 

After passing several cake shops we found our way to the underground, where it was only a short journey up to the museum district and our hotel viennart in the museumsquartier. An easy friendly check in later and we were sorted, with lovely clean rooms and great views out over Vienna. 

A quick freshen up and getting our bearings we went out to take our time wandering past tye different museum buildings and parks that lay before us. The weather was again brilliant and it really helped make the holiday.  

Vienna is such a grand city, and we were quite happy to explore without going out of the sunshine into the galleries and museums surrounding us, instead preferring to leisurely pass through parks and relax in the sun with a beer. Plus there was enough to see outside without heading in. 

We walked through Heldenplarltz and Volksgarten, passing through to the Spanish Riding School, something Peter insisted we must do. We picked up our tickets for the following morning and returned to our trail via some interesting fountains and buildings. 

Our path took us past the parliament building and we stopped off in a park a short distance along from there. We wound our way round to Rathausplatz where they hold an outdoor cinema in the summer which looked really fun. 

As we found ourselves getting carried away with no purpose to our walking we swung around the Sigmund-freud park, hopped onto an underground, fueled up on huge sandwiches and headed to the Vienna Opera building. I loved the road crossing lights, with the walking man or woman hand in hand with another man or woman. It was a cute little thing but a nice sign with the little heart in the middle.

The sheer amount of culture in Vienna is amazing, with nods to historical figures of all types around every corner as we looped around the city.

We found ourselves walking through another park, with hordes of pokemon go players glued to their phones. It was nice that there were so many people out enjoying the greenery and the hot weather. 

After the park we were back on the streets, walking past lovely art shops and clothes stores. Through little arcades and across wide shopping streets with the smell of food and the sound of laughter all around us. 

Our plan now was to walk back to the hotel and relax for a bit, ready to go across the city to Vienna’s own theme park: Prater. 

We arrived early evening and joined the various groups of all ages heading towards the entrance. It’s free to get in and you pay for the various rides. We had come for the big wheel and hopefully sunset views from the top. 

It’s a really vibrant place with an old school feel, lots of bumper cars, food stalls and rides like water rapids, ghost trains and this snake that flipped people up and over again and again. 

If we hadn’t been budgeting we would have gone on so many rides but we ended up spotting one which took you high up over the park, and span you round while you sat in a little chair with metal chains securing you to the main pillar. I think we egged each other on a bit to go on it but it was totally worth it.

It went so high! Peter had his eyes closed for a lot of it but I enjoyed looking out over the city and even managed to get a great photo from up there. 

I enjoyed the adrenaline thrill and we were buzzing as we walked away. Going round the rest of the park you could see how much fun it would be and I’d definitely go back there. 

Our main aim was the big wheel and with the sun getting low in the sky it was time to board. Some people had booked to dine in some of the cars going round and it was funny to watch the waiter go in and fill their wine glasses and deliver their next course while they waited patiently for the next journey round. We even got to see models of a post apocalyptic Vienna!

It was soon our turn and we jumped in, luckily with only a handful of others due to a huge group of Chinese behind us. 

The views were as stunning as I had hoped and you could see for what felt like forever. 

It was very romantic and you got a good amount of time to go round and soak up the views. 

Once we landed it was food time, we decided to just grab something in the park and ended up with traditional pretzels, schnitzel and erm…chicken wings. All washed down with a refreshing fruit beer. 

By this point the sun had set and the park too on a whole new look with all it’s neon lights shooting into the sky, the only problem was a sudden influx of midges, hordes of them under every light which made my head itch. Again there were rides we really wanted to go on but hadn’t brought the money to do it. 

This one had 5 loops! 

All lit up for night time, still with people arriving, we left to go back closer to the hotel and have a drink. It ended up being harder than we thought and we had to walk past our hotel till we found a small pub with outdoor seating jutting out onto the road. 

A few beers and some excellent music later it was time to head back and get a good nights sleep. Tomorrow was a full day in Vienna.