Thursday, September 11, 2014

Vienna - Day 7

Wednesday, September 10
Vienna is a beautiful city known for palaces, parks, great music, multiple varieties of coffee and delectable sweets. So much to see and so little time, but we were determined to make the most of our short stay.
We started the morning with a visit to the Spanish Riding School where we watched the training of the famous Lipizzaner stallions while listening to classical music. The Spanish Riding School was started in 1572 and so named because the horses are of Spanish origin. The venue for the training is a large hall located in the Imperial Palace. They exercise 5 horses at a time, 4 white and one bay. They are very groomed horses, with short, trimmed manes and long, bushy tails that had been crimped. Apparently, this breed of horse turns white as it ages, perhaps after 7 or 8 years, and the face of one bay was starting to turn white.  Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photographs.
After watching for awhile, we left and went to the Treasury where we saw artifacts and jewelry from the royalty and many vestments and objects from churches. Several items caught my attention, which are noted here:
Large green emerald, which was acquired from what is now Columbia in the 1600's;
christening gown for Emperor Franz Joseph and his siblings;
cradle given to Empress Marie Louise by the people of France in 1811 for the birth of her son with Napoleon Bonaparte;
and a painting of Francis I.
He was the husband of Empress Maria Theresa (1740-1780) and father of her 16 children, including Marie Louise. I include this photo because I can't help but wonder what the Emperor or artist was thinking when he was painted in white tights. The following photo is the cape he was wearing.
There were several on display and they were amazing for their condition as well as for the detailed hand embroidery, often with metallic thread that breaks easily.
Lunch time took us in search of Weinerschneitzel which we found at Albertine Keller. Then back to Demel's for apple strudel and Vienese coffee. Here is Ed enjoying his treats.
Remember the pastry chef making the marzipan creatures yesterday while talking on the phone? Here are the finished creations -- dinosaurs with human heads!
And more of their famous cakes!
On the way, I shot a photo of Ed in front of the palace where we partied last night.
Then I sent Ed back to the boat and I walked around the old section. I visited St. Michael's, a gothic church dating from the 1400's, which is now set among some of the fanciest shops in the world -- from Chanel to Prada and everything in between.
Tonight we left Vienna and cruised to our next destination. Sometimes the bridges are so low, that we have to be on a lower deck and the captain's quarters have to be lowered in order to clear the bridge. That's the bridge on the top of this photo! We could have almost touched it!
Tonight Ed and I enjoyed a special French dinner in the Bistro while cruising on the river. Another lovely evening.

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