Thursday, 21 April 2016

Vienna Day 2

This morning we went to see the Lipizzans’ Morning Exercise in the Winter Riding School. To quote from the website:

Training of the Lipizzaner Stallions

The morning exercise offers an insight into the years of training of the Lipizzaners and their riders. Accompanied by classical Viennese music the riders and their horses do simple relaxing exercises and exercises aimed at refining and perfecting a certain movement. Through the specific strengthening and building up of the muscles, the horses’ natural movements are developed into the perfect figures of the High School of classical Horsemanship. As we do not want to put too much strain on the horses, the classical School Jumps, which are shown during the performances, are not practised on a daily basis.


Tickets can be purchased on the day


from 9 a.m. at the Stables Visitor Centre at Michaelerplatz or as we found, from our hotel  reception


for €10.50 (Senior Prices) and are considerably cheaper than those for attending a performance.

To describe Michaelerplatz as impressive is an understatement.

Vienna Horse Drawn Carriage

It is a tourist magnet and a good spot for hiring a horse drawn carriage.


The Winter Riding Hall is accessed through the archway of the Hofburg Palace

Inside dome of Hofburg entrance

and having gone through the arch, there is an enormous ornate dome above you.

Here we encountered one of the few failures we met during our time in Vienna to adequately consider the needs of wheelchair users - there were four steps you had to get up before you got to the wheelchair friendly inside. One thing that being a wheelchair pusher has given me is a far better understanding of associated design and access issues and I now see access problems where previously I would have thought that there were none.

The Winter Riding School 

The training session consists of six horses at a time going through various exercises around the hall with an explainer at the side occasionally telling you what was happening. It takes 10 years for a horse to become fully trained. One of the riders we saw was female and at the time we did not know that she was one of only two in the team and the “break with tradition”.

Taking photographs during the training session is not allowed so I took one of the hall when the horses were not there.

Lipizzan Hall

Possibly the only thing “great about being in a wheelchair” or as in my case “great about accompanying someone in a wheelchair” is that often you get extra allowances made. In this case we were escorted to an area just below the Royal Box at floor level and so close to the horses that you could smell them as they went past. Everyone else is crowded into the balcony level seats and often have to look over somebody else to see the training taking place.


These photographs were scrapped from the Lipizzan Website (at their suggestion).


Being there was very interesting and we saw most of what the horses do when they are fully trained (although all bar one were in training) apart from the famous jump they do.  

At lunchtime my Rotary Club arrived in Vienna and the plan for the afternoon and evening was:

  • a tour of the city by Bus
  • a visit to the Belvedere, its Gardens and Galleries
  • dinner at a wine tavern
  • driving up Kahlenberg to see the view

Street Art / Wall Murals / Signs / Street Furniture in Vienna

The bus tour gave a reasonable feel for Vienna and it is impossible to adequately describe the numerous buildings we passed. One thing I did notice was the large number of of interesting art / objects and general ephemera around the city. For some I managed to record the location, others there was no chance because we drove by so quickly.

As a sample, I offer:

Street Ventillator

Vienna is famous for its sewers at least those in the Third Man. I never got to find out exactly what these were used for but they reminded us of Paris and also of ventilators installed to ventilate the sewers.

Karmeliterkirche Taborstrasse Wien

On the side of the Karmaliterkirche in Taborstrasse

Karmeliter Kirche Mural

is a relatively modern (1941) mural showing a Landsknecht (German Mercenary Soldier) holding his Halberd with the fortress of Vienna in the background supposedly around the year 1409.

Municipal Housing BlockMunicipal Housing Block Sign

Because living conditions were so bad in the early 1920s, a number of large Municipal or Communal Housing Blocks were built and some of them have signs on a side wall  recording their construction. These days, significant numbers of Viennese live in them.


On the front wall of the MAK (Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art) is a rather nice mural

Bar Arragall

a sign on the side of the Bar Arragall in Stephensplatz

Hotel Window

and this freeze around a hotel window on a street near the Belvedere which we passed as we were driving to the Belvedere. 

The Belvedere

Dating from around 1700, The Belvedere is not one building but a Baroque complex of two palaces, an orangery and Palace Stables all in a park. It claims to house the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt’s paintings including the Kiss (Lovers) and Judith. Impressive is a rather inadequate word for The Belvedere.

Belvedere Gates

The style and grandeur of these gates is an indication of what is inside

Belvedere reflected in lake

The lower garden is very stylised with long rows of short box hedges 

Belvedere Garden

surrounded by brushed gravel all done in the French style.

Belvedere Snowman

although no-one could explain why there was a snowman standing in the middle of the main path.

Belvedere Female Griffin

There are numerous statues around the Upper Palace Gardens and this one is representative of many. It is said to have been modelled on the appearance of one of the social beauties of the day, not necessarily with her permission.







Photography is allowed in some parts of the inside of the Palace, not encouraged in others and strictly not allowed in most of the galleries.

In the ground floor entrance room at the rear are four large Atlas Pillars.  

Atlas 1

    Atlas 2

These are however not what they seem. The room above (the Marble Hall) became so heavy that structural problems started to appear and the chief architect for the project (Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt) had to put in four pillars to hold up the ceiling.

Belvedere Ceiling

The Marble Hall above is a tremendously impressive work of art. The ceiling

Marble Hall Dome

by Carlo Carlone (1686-1775) is a work of art and the hall is full of troupe l’oeil 

Marble Hall Half Wall

Taking photographs of the paintings is not allowed but before I was found out, I

Five Senses

had taken a picture of “The Five Senses” (Sight, Hearing, Feeling, Taste, Smell) by Hans Makart (1840-1884)

Orpheus Eurydice

and Orpheus and Eurydice 1869 by Feuerbach which we liked because of its style and the skills shown in painting the cloth folds. Next door was The Kiss by Klimt and photography stopped just here.

Viennese Heurige


Within the city boundaries are around 320 vineyards and  “heurige” are wine taverns where only current vintage wine is sold with food.

Martin Zepp

We had dinner at  “Zum Martin Sepp"

Dinner Plate Martin Zepp

which whilst a pretty poor choice for a vegetarian,

Wine by the glass

served wine in large quantities.


The Kahlenberg is a 1588ft hill on the northern side of Vienna from the top of which one can see the whole of city. It is said to be the site of the Battle of Kahlenberg (aka Battle of Vienna) between the forces of the Holy Roman Empire of Germany together with the Kingdom of Poland defeated the armies of the Ottoman Empire who were besieging Vienna in 1683.

Vienna at night

From here we saw this view of Vienna at night and managed to pick out the famous Ferris Wheel in the centre of this photograph.

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