The days when we didn’t have to catch a train or other transport generally started a bit later, because who doesn’t love a bit of a lie in? Unfortunately, the horses of the Spanish Riding School only exercise (that we could see) in the morning, so we were up and out early to make it to the riding school in time.
What we didn’t realise is that the exercise goes on for two hours, and you don’t actually have to be there at the beginning. Never mind, at least it meant we were up early enough to make the most of the day.
After watching the horses exercise and train for about an hour, we jumped on a good ol’ tourist hop on hop off bus tour. While I usually like to walk around to explore, the bus took us to the far fetched places, and meant that we were actually able to see a fair amount of the city. If we’d walked around exploring, we’d never have had the time or energy to see the University, UNO, Parater, Ausgarten and the Danube among everything else. In fact, we wouldn’t have known to see half of the things on the tour, so I was glad we’d taken the bus tour.
We ended the bus tour at Stadtpark and made the short journey in the freezing cold to Hundertwasserhaus. Although it was a short walk, we had to stop for a hot drink along the way as it was just too cold to function. When we finally arrived, I fell in love! I am a huge fan of Gaudi (Spanish architect, Sagrada Familia…) and this place is like a taste of Gaudi in Austria!
We had a good look around, nosed about in the little shopping centre, and it cemented itself as one of my favourite things about our trip! Taking the opportunity when it presents itself, I nipped in to use the toilet and was shocked to hear a speech playing through the speakers telling me in less than pleasant terms that, basically, pooping is equivalent to murder. In fact, I’ve never heard the word sh*t said so much in such a short time and I couldn’t help but laugh. I’m glad nobody came in, because it would have been a really strange situation – a voice telling over and over how unnatural it is to use a toilet and me just laughing about it. So surreal.
Back to reality, we made our way back to the city centre to head up the tower in the Cathedral. Can’t miss out on an opportunity to have a panoramic view! After paying a small fee, we jumped in the lift with the lift operative – cue awkward silence – who took us to the top. I don’t usually have a problem with heights, but the surrounding fencing didn’t feel quite as safe as other places we’ve been, and my legs felt a bit shaky. When you add to that a super cloudy and hazy day, we only spent about 10 minutes looking around before heading back down to ground level.
On a bit of a church roll, we stopped in at a circular church close to the cathedral on our way back to the hotel. The plan for the evening was to try and grab some last minute tickets for the opera. When in Austria and whatnot! We’d heard that if you head to the stage door 80 minutes before the show starts you can get bargain standing tickets. I’m not a huge fan of queueing, but we didn’t have to wait long before the ticket touts came to try and tempt us with ‘cheap’ seated tickets. We didn’t want any seated tickets, but it was entertaining to watch them try to sell them to other people as we waited for the queue to move along.
We eventually made it to the front of the queue, and managed to bag two €3 tickets! I’d seen seated tickets on sale for over €200, and we had two tickets for €6! Not quite believing our luck, we hurried in before anyone could say ‘oh hang on, we made a mistake’, found a spot in the standing area and left a scarf – the unofficial way to reserve a standing spot apparently.
The opera itself was about two hours long, and although it was all in Italian or Latin, there was a little screen by each space that had English subtitles on it. Even with the subtitles, my boyfriend and I had no idea what was going on until about 10 minutes before the end. We toyed with the idea of leaving halfway through, as we had an early start the next morning. But we perservered, and I’m glad otherwise we’d never have understood what was going on! That’s something ticked off the bucket list – watch an opera at Vienna State Opera House!
Back to the hotel, grabbing a quick bite to eat on the way, we had to get to bed sharpish as we had to catch a train at 6am the next day! Next stop – Innsbruck!