We spent the weekend in Vienna on a trip with Tom’s family to surprise his Mum for her 60th birthday. We flew out on Friday morning with Tom’s sister, Becca, and her husband, Pete. Our plan was to meet up with Tom’s other sister and husband on Saturday morning, then surprise Tom’s mum in the Christmas markets on Saturday afternoon! It worked out perfectly, and Jo couldn’t have looked more shocked to see us there.
Here are a few snaps from our weekend. One of the highlights was a bike tour around the city that I’ll share with you tomorrow, but in the meantime here are some of the hundreds of photos that I took over the weekend. Vienna is a very walkable city, and despite the rain, we did just that. Our amazing hotel, Hotel Bristol, was in a brilliant location next to the Opera House.
You can climb up one of the bell towers at St Stephen’s Cathedral (which has free entry) or take a lift up on the other side for some spectacular views across the city. Sadly the weather wasn’t brilliant during the weekend, but it was still worth it. We opted to take the lift up to the proper viewing platform, rather than climbing the 666 stairs to look out of the window on the other side!
If you’re going to Vienna in December, you’re definitely going to come across a few (hundred) Christmas markets. I thought I would love these, but the first one we walked around, the largest just outside the Town Hall, was crazily crowded and full of tacky products. Luckily, we had been told to visit a few others, including an organic market, and a local produce market that were more to our taste. Can’t not have a hot cider or hot chocolate at the market!
The lashing rain made the idea of a horse drawn carriage even more appealing. There were a huge number of them trotting around the cobbled streets.
Next time I visit Vienna I will definitely be booking tickets to see the Spanish Riding School show. We went to see the stables, and couldn’t believe the luxury in which the horses lived – they even had their own Christmas tree. The horses were so well groomed and turned out. When a rider and horse work together, they become partners throughout their time at the riding school. Tom’s parents saw the show, and said it was incredible- one for the bucket list.
We ate a lot. Schnitzel, goulash, cake, dumplings- Austrian fare is not light.
There’s always a ‘hands up’ photo when you’re with Tom’s family!