Friday May 23 - Vienna
We both slept really well and did not leave the hotel until after 9:30. We made our way to the Spanish Riding School to see a practice session for the Lippizaner horses. We did not buy tickets for the evening show. At 80 Euros each, we thought it a bit too much. The tickets for the practice session were much more reasonable.
On our walk over to the "morning exercise with music" training of the Lippizaner horses session, we met Joey (the Program Director form Viking Idi) with a morning tour group. We had a laugh about the great weather, took another photograph and said farewell again. We watched the full two hour practice session for the horses which, although they do not perform the impressive leaps during these sessions, it was nevertheless very interesting to see.
We then wandered towards the Naschmarkt. This is Vienna's liveliest food market with lots of established shops and small restaurants. We actually took the metro part of the way and also hopped on a tram. (We were given a pair of partially used week-long Vienna transportation tickets by the hotel concierge when we were inquiring about ticket prices.)
At the Naschmarkt, we walked around for a while looking at all of the stalls, cafes and restaurants before finally choosing the eat at a small falafel restaurant. We both ordered a dish that proved to be too much food, and we had to leave some -- very unusual for us.
Following lunch, we took the tram to the Belvedere Palace and Gardens. We walked through the gardens at the palace. It was a hot, sunny and windy day, and it was quite refreshing to have mist off one of the fountains cool us off a little. The gardens proper were actually quite disappointing. One could see how they might have looked. The structural elements of the beds were present but they contained only a few plants and flowers, and the beds needed weeding and the edges of the borders needed trimming. We did not go into either of the palaces; they will have to wait until another visit.
We took the tram system (2 trams) back to our hotel. For dinner, we walked across the city centre to a Viennese beer house restaurant that had been recommended by Tony, the concierge on the ship. The restaurant was called Gosser Bierklinik. We had a couple of dark Austrian beers each, Heather had goulash and Gary had wienerschnitzel -- both meals were rather filling. We "wobbled" back across to our hotel and stopped in one of the squares for an ice cream cone which we shared.
Vienna is a lovely city with hundreds of places to visit and thousands of cafes and restaurants. The city at night is lovely to see.