I arrived late last night and am in one of the strangest hotel rooms I have ever stayed in. There is a slight circus theme to the room in that it has a large mural of various carnies painted on the wall behind the bed (of all places).
I find it a bit disturbing as I am not a fan of the circus, or clowns, or any of that sort of thing. For some reason I find myself thinking back to that John Irving book, “Setting Free the Bears” (also strange!).
However, I quite like the rest of the room. It is a little studio with an itsy-bitsy kitchenette area with a two-burner stove top and pots and pans, etc. It reminds me a little of my “monolocale” in Siena. The bathroom has a nice big walk-in shower, AND, Vienna is actually in the year 2011 in that I have free wifi in the room and there is free wifi elsewhere around the city (unlike that crazy Copenhagen!). To see photos, read my post “The circus continues!”
As I arrived late last night it was dark and I really couldn’t get a good idea of the city or where the hotel is. I have been to Austria before (Salzburg and its environs) but never to Vienna.
When I headed into town this morning I was pleasantly surprised! The style of the city is Baroque and there are massive statues and monuments all about the place. Lots of statues of guys on horses and quite a few statues along the tops of many of the buildings.
The buildings are also huge and the museums and palaces all seem to be centrally located and very close to one another, just separated by green spaces which are nicely manicured. The scale of things, while sizable, is well balanced. It feels a bit like being surrounded by heavily iced cakes!
One of my favorite things, though, is that there are horses! There are many horse-drawn carriages and the Lipizzaners are also here! I so miss the horses back home and I am really happy to see horses here and, yes, I love the smell, too!
Between the buildings dripping with icing, the horse-drawn carriages, the large lawns and wide streets, it is very easy to imagine the days of Mozart and the romance of the court. Powdered wigs, brocade cloth, waltzes, etc.
Okay..snapping out of that dream sequence…!
After my late breakfast consisting of a latte and an apfel strudel at the Hotel Sacher (the swanky hotel in Vienna), I visited the Albertina museum which houses paintings by Picasso, Monet, etc., and then went on a guided tour of the Spanische Hofreitschule (the Spanish Court Riding School) which is where the Lipizzaner horses are stabled, trained, and perform. It is right smack in the middle of Vienna so while these horses are not only exceptionally pampered, they are also living and working in some of the most expensive real estate in Vienna (Austria, at that!).
I’ll have more on the Lipizzaners tomorrow as I am going to watch their morning exercise!