Rain, Rain and more Rain; at least it isn't hot!! Lucky for us the hotel has plenty of big umbrellas; so off we went into the rain to discover Vienna. First stop the Spanish Riding School where we watched the famous Lipizzaner horses do their morning exercises to the music of Mozart and Beethoven. It is like watching horses do ballet as they elegantly pranced to the music. The riding school itself is amazing; a large ornate indoor riding ring with huge glass chandeliers. Not only was it an enjoyable way to start the morning, it was dry.
Then it was onwards towards the Stephenson Cathedral. Along the way we walked thru the upscale shopping area; Channel, Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, and I could go on and on.... Why is it that when ever we are walking by, or thru a shopping district it is always at the most inopportune time to shop, or Frank and Kai are insisting that it is time for ice cream. The boys were nice enough to let me run into Julius Meinl - OMG - it was almost as wonderful as the food hall at Harrods!! So much wonderful food, just no refrigerator for me to be able to enjoy it! I did have a wonderful ham and cheese baguette! Why don't we have food like this in the US?
After our appetites were calmed we walked into the cathedral. It is beautiful, as are all old churches. This cathedral houses the largest bell in Austria and only rings one time per year; as it rings in the New Year. Kai wanted to go on the tour of the catacombs housed underneath the church - so down we went! The catacombs here are an invaluable tour through Vienna's history in its own right. The underground burial place contains some 10,000 bodies, and also contains the tomb of its founder, Duke Rudolph. Other remarkable items here include 56 urns containing the intestines of other members of the royal Habsburg clan and huge rooms filled, floor to ceiling, with thousands of bones and skeleton stacked on to of each other. The most recent burial in the catacombs was of a Cardinal only six years ago; this was a great tour and lots of history in only 30 minutes. As we came out of the passageway from the catacombs, we came right back out into the rain.
By this time we were basically drowned rats and our shoes and jeans were soaked, so we opted to walk back to the hotel and dry of before heading out later tonight to see a Mozart concert. A bit of culture for Kai; you can only imagine how excited he is!!!
From what we are told if you can only see one concert while in Vienna, make sure it is at the Musikverein - the cities most prestigious classical music venue. This particular show is shown in the Golden Hall, one of the oldest and most ornate buildings in Vienna, built back in the 1800's.Hopefully, the sun will be out for our departure to Budapest early tomorrow afternoon! It is hard to believe how quicky our trip is going; only 5 more days and two more countries before we journey back to the USA!