Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sights Around Vienna


Even though I have been traveling very frequently, I have also managed to see a few of the sights in the beautiful city that I am living in right now. On Tuesday, 27.09.2005, Lara, Patti (Lara’s friend that was visiting), and I decided to go to the opera. Tickets to the Staadsoper are quite expensive, but on the day of the opera you can get standing room tickets for 3,50 Euro. So, we went to the Staadsoper at around 16.30 and stood in line for an hour and a half waiting for the ticket window to open. When it opened, we bought our tickets and then went to stand in line for another hour to wait for the auditorium of the Staadsoper to be opened. We finally got to go into the auditorium, so all of the people with tickets herded into the standing room. It was quite crowded, and I don’t think the city of Vienna has the same fire codes that we do in America. The opera that we were seeing was Carmen and it was amazing! I cannot even begin to describe how incredible it was to be in a beautiful opera house hearing one of the world’s greatest operas. I am so glad that we went, and I am looking forward to going again before I leave Vienna.

Spanische Hofreitschule

On Tuesday, 04.10.2005, I went to see the Spanische Hofreitschule (Spanish Riding School), which is the home of the Lipizzaner Stallions. The school has been the home of the stallions since the 1700s and it is world-renowned for being the one of the best riding schools in the world for precision horsemanship. During my tour of the school I found out several interesting facts. First of all, there are only 17 riders, and they train 65 stallions that are stabled there. No other riders are allowed on the horses. Also, women are not accepted as riders or horses – it’s an exclusive “Boys’ Club.”

Another interesting story regards a superstition about the Spanische Hofreitschule. Lipizanner stallions are born with a dark coat of hair, but as they grow older, the hair lightens until their coats are completely white (which is a well-known characteristic of the Lipizzaner Stallions). However, there is a small percentage of the Lipizzaners (less that 1%) that are born with a dark brown coat and they stay that way as they get older (I could go in to the biology of it, but it’s too boring). These horses are thought to bring good luck to the riding school. The superstition says that if there is ever a time when there is not at least one brown stallion in the school in Vienna, all of the riders and horses will get sick and the school will collapse. So, there are currently three brown stallions residing in the riding school in Vienna right now. Rathaus Reception

On Wednesday, 12.10.2005, the Mayor of Vienna held a reception for the exchange students that are studying at schools in the city. A large group of us went to the Rathaus together, and it was nice to see everyone so dressed up, instead of in jeans (like we normally are). As we entered the Rathaus, I was amazed by how beautiful the inside was. We had our reception in an enormous banquet hall, where they served plenty of food, wine, and beer. Everyone had a wonderful time. I even got to meet Sonja Kato, Social Democratic member of the Viennese Parliament (far left); Dr. Hans K. Kaiser, Vice-Rector of the Technical University Vienna (left); and Mag. Ulrich Hoermann, General Director of the Austrian Exchange Service (far right). There are no words to describe how fortunate I feel to be able to live in this beautiful city and have so many wonderful things to see and do right at my doorstep. I have to keep reminding myself to explore the city that I live in as well as the surrounding areas, so that I don’t miss out on anything. I hope I will have the chance to do that since my parents will be visiting in a few days and I get to be their tour guide for the city.



Anonymous Sonja KATO said...

This is sonja KATO, we met at the rathaus-reception, and I just happend to find your blog-report on that!
thanks fo your lovely lines about vienna, I hope you´re still enjoying it!
All the best!
sonja kato

Saturday, November 26, 2005 3:47:00 PM  

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