After booking my Rick Steves ~ My Way: Alpine Europe tour I needed to make plans for pre and post tour adventures before booking my flight. Having no idea where I wanted to go, I ordered the Rick Steves Vienna guide book and when I realized Vienna was the home to the famous royal Lipizzaner Stallions and the 300 year old Spanish Riding School, I knew I had to go to Vienna because the Lipizzaners had been on my Bucket List for decades. Decision made! I knew I was flying to Vienna from Mexico ... and it was the perfect decision for me.
I absolutely loved going through the RS Vienna guide book and planning out my entire pre-tour adventures. I knew I wanted to hear the opera choir at the Sunday morning Augustinian Church Mass (thank you RS! This was recommended is his book under Music Sightseeing Priorities - Helpful Hints) and the Lipizzaners performed on Saturday mornings so I planned my flight to arrive Friday early evening ... plenty of time to take the train from the airport, get settled into my hotel and get a good nights sleep.
The royal Lipizzaner show Saturday morning was spectacular watching them in their own arena complete with antique chandeliers that were once dismantled piece by piece and hidden during WWII. The Hofburg Palace equestrian facilities were built in 1736 with the express purpose of showcasing the grand jewels of their empire ... the royal Lipizzaner Stallions. SO impressive!
The choir at Augustinian Church Sunday morning was like nothing I had ever heard in a church! I think there were Angels in the choir being led by a talented priest. An absolutely breathtaking experience!
I had originally planned on going to Bratislava, Slovakia on Monday ... just because I could (because I was on a My Way tour!) .. and it was recommended in the RS Vienna guide book, ... but I ended up going for a morning tour of the Lipizzaners practicing in their beautiful arena ... then a spectacular afternoon tour of their stables and tack room. WoW! Loved every minute watching those gorgeous horses!
I didn't have the right clothes or extra money (or desire) to go to a show at the Vienna Opera House, but luckily they had a big screen just outside and lots of chairs ... so I got the dose of the Vienna Opera House I needed! It was fun watching all the well-dressed people going in before the show.
And meals in the heart of Vienna were a taste of heaven ... and the energy was exciting!! You can feel it in my photo above .... after the rain. Click on any stacked photo for the caption.
I followed Rick Steves advice from his Vienna guide book and stayed within the Ring at the very comfortable Pension Neuer Markt The entire staff was very friendly and helpful and the breakfasts were very good.
The location was fabulous! I was only 2 short blocks from St. Stephen's Cathedral in the heart of the Old City Center ... and only a few blocks from my beloved Lipizzaner Stallions. Exactly where I wanted to be!
The price was "Moderate - $$ - in RS Vienna guide book.
One day I took the bus to Schönbrunn Palace not far from Vienna. Wow! It's huge with gorgeous gardens ... and they even have a zoo! I decided to do something different from touring another castle, so I attended their Apple Strudel Cooking Class. What fun! Then I walked the amazing gardens and toured some of the Palace ... and a few parts of the big zoo. Fun day!