Day 15 – Horses & Hairoplanes

4 Oct

True to my word, I made the most of the hotel room. A 9am breakfast had a rather similar-to-Albania feel with eggs and sausages on offer. However you can tell it is a four star hotel as it had a toaster they let you use all by yourself.

So off to the horses. By now I had the route sorted. At least to the ticket booth. After a quick visit to the stable yard, I climbed some narrow stairs and found an Australian to stand beside for the duration. Thankfully I was early as it filled up quickly. The winter arena was fantastically decorated, if dully lit.

The lights rose, literally, and the chandeliers illuminated the Spanish Riding School in all its glory.

First out of the gates were the 4-6 year old learners. They could walk, trot and poo. Wouldn’t like the job of the man that came on after them.

We had four more sessions, each with ever increasing complexity. We saw the horses walk sideways and jump spectacularly in the air, as well as seeming to hover on their back legs. Synchronised to the music and each other it was truly a great affair. I’m sure a good vet could make those horses walk in a straight line though.

A special mention must go to the ushers, who were the ultimate in making sure that no photos were taken – communicating across the vast hall at the mere raise of a phone or removal of a lens cap.

Afterwards however was a different story.

On then to the second plan for the day – the bus tour. Took the Big Bus red line tour from the opera house across the Danube and back again. Thought I might have been able to squeeze in the other tour, but had to head to the airport. The tour was notable for the open window and the occasional views of the Danube. It also took in the hundred year old ferris wheel and the site of a bungee jump. Wow. It also mentioned “The Third Man” – a 1949 film set in Vienna starring Orson Welles – at least 5 times. Must rush to see that.

Back to the Hotel Royal to pick up my luggage – great hotel – I strolled, sweating, through the park to the train station in the middle of a shopping mall. Passed by non-sweating joggers wrapped in their winter woolies.

Uneventfully I made it to the airport in plenty time – still early. I like the CAT. Only to be stung at the food court for a hot chicken sandwich. (€11 including a drink!?) Two words were correct. Chicken wasn’t one of them.

Off to find the correct gate – they seem to have changed it again.

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