One of my lifelong dreams has been to visit Vienna and the Spanish Riding School. I’ve always loved horses and after seeing a very old movie, Flight of the White Stallions, when I was very young I’ve always kept this trip in the back of my mind. A few years ago, my husband, Dieter, made my dream a reality. Well almost! The night before we left for Vienna he received an email to say the performance of the Lipizzaner Stallions was cancelled due to ill-health of several of their main performing horses. Devastation!! With our journey to Europe booked we had no option other than to go. To be that close, yet still not seeing them perform was a terrible blow.
The staff at the Spanish Riding School were very apologetic and sympathetic and as compensation organised free entry into the stables, books, dvd’s and front row seats to the training session as compensation. I spent many hours glued to the glass windows looking into the outer stables capturing as many images as I could; photos inside were not permitted unfortunately. Nonetheless it was a memorable experience and one day I will return to see those magnificent horses dance.
Our whirlwind European & UK trip saw us travel by train straight through Austria and into Switzerland to Basel where we met with close friends. They showed us around their city and neighbouring countryside including a brief visit into the Black Forest and Colmar, a quaint French town with beautiful architecture. We were also treated to another equine spectacular, Apassionata, a show of amazing talented horses and riders displaying a beautiful harmonious relationship with each other. From Europe we flew to the UK to meet up with more friends for the last part of our break. In two weeks we went through five countries and stayed in three. A taste of Europe and the UK!