This day was a really big deal in Sarah's life - a day she had been looking forward to since she became a horse-crazy little girl in the third grade and learned that this place existed. This was the day Sarah saw the world famous Lipizzaner stallions perform at the Spanish Riding School. But first, coffee!
When we arrived in Vienna Friday afternoon, we walked by what was clearly a very popular cafe. We did a little research and decided to have breakfast here this morning to kick off our fancy-pants day. Café Central has been in business since 1876 and is an institution in the traditional Viennese coffee culture scene. Sigmund Freud and Leon Trotsky were regulars. The Viennese take their coffee very seriously and they know what they're doing. There are a couple of Starbucks in town, but one has recently closed because it can't compete with the real deal.
After a very nice breakfast - where we were given a choice table because we dressed up for the occasion - we walked just two blocks over to the Spanish Riding School for the main event. In fact, because we had both been to Vienna before, a chance to see this performance was the main reason we returned to the city on this trip. Hirsh had little interest in the horses, so we decided our money would be better spent on one amazing seat for Sarah. Ground level, first row, slightly off center for the perfect view! We purchased the ticket online two days before, and at that time there were only four seats available in the entire venue for this performance. Because we're planning our itinerary as we go, we really couldn't buy a ticket much further out. Needless to say, we were very lucky to get this seat and it seemed like the stars aligned.
After Hirsh dropped me off and made sure there were no issues with the ticket at will call, I sat in my amazing seat and admired this exquisite hall and almost had to pinch myself. I may or may not have gotten a little misty eyed because I thought this would always just be a dream for me. The performance was wonderful! No pictures allowed during the show, and that's just as well. It would be a shame to view such unique and beautiful art through a viewfinder or behind a phone screen. Better to just take it in and enjoy.
After the show, I met Hirsh back at the apartment and we ventured out for lunch at the Naschmarkt. This open air market is filled with restaurants and food stalls of every variety you could imagine, and we had a fun and relaxing lunch in the sunshine. This was followed by a rest in one of the city's beautiful parks.
Unlike many of our meals, dinner this night had not been researched and planned to death in advance. When we were riding the bike around the city, we just followed the music until we came upon a film festival right in the heart of town, near the university. For the entire summer, the city of Vienna hosts this festival and plays a different movie every night. This night was a screening of a performance of some unknown (to us) musician who reminded us of a cross between Elton John and Meatloaf. The locals seemed to love it though because the place was packed. Again, there were food vendors of every type, from Viennese to Thai to American to Australian to Hungarian to French...you name it. We shared a delicious crepe. It was a very fun vibe and made us fall even deeper in love with this city.
To end the night, we had coffee and dessert at another of Vienna's famous coffee shops, Landtmann.