On Saturday morning we had one goal in mind…..to visit the Butterfly Garden at the Hofburg Palace. We were trying to follow the signs, but without any English it was proving hard to do. Finally, we looked up and saw the Big Butterfly…..
Hooray….we had arrived!!
Now, here is when it is helpful to have a biologist along as Michael was able to point out the various types of butterflies and moths. There were stunning black ones with either red or yellow spots…..
….whose inside wings were a brilliant blue…..
There were two large Atlas Moths that were mating, attached to a lower branch. It was a perfect opportunity to get an “up close and personal” photo…..
This female was about 7 or 8 inches in width while the smaller male was about 5 inches…..
The garden was beautiful and had gorgeous bunches of flowers that I happily photographed.
Then I turned around and saw a sign saying that these ARTIFICIAL flowers were sprayed with honey and was a feeding station for the butterflies…..I am SO gullible!!
I was happy when they set up close to us and started to play. It was an interesting group of musicians with a wide age range….
I was able to video a portion of their performance….check it out…..
At 1:00, we were scheduled to meet Harry in one of the train stations where we took two other trains and a short walk to arrive at his and Cristina’s house. They live in one of the smaller villages outside of Vienna and it was so refreshing to be away from the tourists and also away from the noise. We walked toward a Biergarten in town, accompanied by their two daughters, Mika and Lena. They both are amazing at languages, speaking German, Spanish and English We had a laugh at their English as they both had California accents, probably a result of too much American TV watching!!
The restaurant is associated with one of the small, local vineyards. They are only allowed to sell their own wine products and can only be open for a certain amount of time each year. Consequently, there are a group of restaurants that rotate which days they are open. A lit lamp (or light bulb) indicates which one is open on a particular day…..
The restaurant was really cute and had a huge garden area which was where we sat……
We started out with drinks, and Cristina ordered a local specialty…..Coke mixed with an Orange soda. I didn’t try it but it did sound good.
Michael and I both had Weiner Schnitzel and tasty potato salad…..
We had a magnificent time sitting under the trees, eating wonderful food, drinking German beer and enjoying the family dynamics…..
The girls headed back home while the rest of us went for a much needed walk around the area. I loved the village sites……
We initially walked down several residential streets, enjoying the architecture…..
We eventually arrived in the more rural area, enjoying the views around the Vineyards……
We eventually arrived at another restaurant, this one located in an old monastery….
Michael opted for Schnaaps while I had an interesting desert of sweetened cheese balls, white chocolate balls and strawberries……
The dessert was ok but the most interesting part was that it was served on a slab of slate!!!
There was a birthday party happening at a nearby table and we were astounded that the servers sang “Happy birthday”…..in English!!!!
One aside here…..the Austrians love their dogs and they are allowed everywhere. In hotels, restaurants, stores and trains. I was impressed that this restaurant had a special drinking area just for our four legged friends…..
When Lucy, the family dog that was accompanying us, wouldn’t drink there, the waiter brought her a special bowl of water. Such service!!!!
Harry and Cristina dropped us off at a train station and we quickly made our way back to our hotel.
On Sunday morning, we had tickets to see the Lipizzaner Stallions at the Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule). According to Rick Steves, “these horses have been bred since the 1500’s to create an intelligent breed with a noble gait and Baroque profile”. They are born black and slowly fade to gray as they age. They don’t turn their trademark white until adulthood.
We entered the 300 year old hall and found a darkened ball room complete with chandeliers and soft, classical music….
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos during the performance, so the time was spent recording the performance in our minds!!!
The performances were not flashy but showed the beauty of a horse and rider working together in perfect harmony, The horses have been trained using the “High School of Classical Horsemanship”.
e first performance was by the younger stallions, many who had not changed to their classic white coat. We were told that they might be a bit more skittish but we didn’t see much of that. They calmly walk around the arena, changing gaits and movements as their handlers instructed them.
Next came four rider-less horses who performed various jumps and rearing up on their back legs. Two of these horses were handled by one person and the other two had a second handler with a long rein.
The final performance was by an 8 person team and is called the “Ballet of the White Stallions”. They walked and trotted their charges thru various displays and in various formations.
In between the performances we were given information about the teams and the horses. The color of the saddle blankets gives information about what type of training that particular horse has received. The clothes worn by the riders also reflect their experience and it was fun to hear that a hidden Sugar Cube pocket is sewn into every uniform!!
It was unsettling to watch a horse event accompanied to classical orchestral music. It just wasn’t the same as a West Texas Rodeo!!! Also, between performances, a gentleman with a “pooper scooper” came out and cleaned the field. We were waiting for Bubba on his tractor!!!
Finally, it was interesting to see the horses exit the arena and walk into palace halls!!
After the Performance, we had one thing in mind…..Bratwurst from a street vendor!!! The sliced sausage was served with mild mustard and rye bread…..
Previously I had seen a sign advertising the Albertina Museum so we decided to go there and see the various artwork.
There was a large permanent collection and we loved seeing paintings by so many of our favorite artists. Here are a few…..
….Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec……
Michael challenged me to make a quilt in this pointillist style!!
Although we didn’t know this painter, we loved the intense light shown in this painting by Alfons Walde…..
There were several smaller local artist temporary exhibits which were interesting in that the medium was different. One used mixed media and the other used large block prints.
As we were walking back to the hotel we passed two interesting “foot related” sights. The first was this pair of shoes, apparently abandoned the night before…..
Finally, we were back in the Riding School area and heard a whinny coming from one of the buildings. As we walked past a series of windows, this is what we could see……
….a palace being used as a stable!!!!