When Horse Bloggers Meet - In Real Life!

When I started the whole blogger thing, I thought people connecting with me will be like my Facebook friends (most of them to be honest): VIRTUAL. But what if all of a sudden one of them crosses your way in real life?

It would not be THAT special, if that specific blogger would be Austrian, or even German - then you could say it was at least pretty likely. What I never thought of was meeting somebody from TEXAS - there is no Texas in Europe, so I mean the one in the UNITED STATES!

Let us quickly take a look at the map:


Yes, there is a bit of water in between - so even more unlikely that a blogger crosses your way! But it happened!!! Some weeks ago, Jen from Wyern Oakes (here blog: http://pieceofheaven1951.blogspot.co.at/) sent me an email telling me that she will be passing Vienna on a business trip. Vienna is approximately 300kms away from where I live - nothing compared to 15hrs of flying! So I took my family and boyfriend and spent last weekend in Vienna.

Jen arrived on Saturday and unfortunately, stallions of the Spanish Riding School are still on holidays. Normally, you can watch the morning training and the evening shows, right now there are only morning trainings - and Jen was just landing when the training started. Another possibility would have been to go to Heldenberg, where the stallions have their summer camp or Piber, where the stud is located. Both options fell through because my car was already crowded.

Vienna, home of the Spanish Riding School, Piber, the stud in Styria, Heldenberg, stallion summer camp

All websites mentioned below available in English:


www.srs.at


http://www.piber.com/

So, what to do with a horse crazy person when not being able to see the most famous white horses? Well, Vienna is FULL of horses! I think from all capitals around there are the most horses living in and around Vienna. Apart from the also well known (and highly criticized) Fiaker, there is even more to see. And the best part of it: it is RIGHT in the middle of the city!

http://www.ungarn-tourist.de/Austria-Oesterreich/Wien.html

New York has the Central Park, Vienna has the "Prater": this huge park divides into two parts, one green oasis for recreation and one amusement park with lots of rides, restaurants, music.

http://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/parks/anlagen/images/pratertafel.jpg


The Prater has a size of approximately 6,000,000m²! Everything is connected via the so called Main Alley. And it was exactly that alley Jen and I were walking along for at least 4kms - what a lot of time to talk aboit horses!!! http://www.wien.info/en/sightseeing/prater/green-prater

Main Alley in Prater


In former times, the Prater was used as imperial hunting ground. The official description reads as follows (http://www.wien.gv.at/english/environment/parks/prater.html):
History
Following regulation of the river from 1871 to 1875, the entire area has undergone a dramatic change due to a lowering of the groundwater level. The construction of a weir here will bring about further changes. This municipal outdoor collage includes the "People's Prater", the main avenue with its adjoining landscapes, the fairgrounds, the Freudenau, the Krieau, the pleasure pavilion, theHeustadel pond, the Jesuit Meadows and the Prater Museum in the Planetarium near the Giant Ferris Wheel. The pleasure pavilion was built from 1781 to 1783 according to plans by Isidor Canevale, after which it was opened to the public in 1765. A wide variety of traditional entertainment possibilities are still available in the People's Prater.
The flat racing track in the Freudenau, which has been a racecourse since 1862, was designed byCarl von Hasenauer and was extensively remodelled from 1885 to 1887 to plans by Anton and Josef Drexler. The harness racing track in the Krieau was laid out in 1878, with an architecturally interesting grandstand designed by Emil Hoppe and Otto Schönthal added between 1911 and 1913.
A new utilization concept is currently being developed for the Prater, with a view to further developing the various facilities available and taking account of a wide variety of interests.

Today, you can find along the alley cyclists, roller skaters, walkers, there are tennis courts, a swimming pool, cricket and baseball fields, playgrounds, dog zones, golf course - but what is absolutely stunning - A RIDING TRACK! This is due to the fact that there is a barn at the end of this alley! Right in the middle of the city in one of the most beautiful and most versatile parks I have seen so far (and I actually lived at the edge of the park in the last apartment I had when I was still living in Vienna - can you imagine hearing Fiakers trotting by when washing the dishes in the kitchen? Yes, I had that!). There is even more than that: there is harness racing and another galopp race track! All right in the middle of the park!

So for me it was clear that I need to show that to Jen!
http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/display/23411675
Unfortunately, there were no trail riders (or trotters) on that day this was also due to an upcoming thunderstorm. We wanted to have some drinks at "Lusthaus" (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lusthaus_(Wien), it used to be a house for hunters) which is the end of the alley but there was a party going on and as we are no party crashers, we decided to head to "Altes Jägerhaus" (Old Hunters House), as shown in the second picture below, the first showing the "Lusthaus":

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/50/Lusthauswien.jpg
http://www.altes-jaegerhaus.com/
After the thunderstorm and heavy rainfall was over, we headed to the barn - EVENTUALLY! We were all so much looking forward to see the historical stables and it is absolutely stunning there! There are two indoors, two outdoors, fences, paddocks, smaller green fields and the charming old stalls! I am in love with this barn. Regular trail rides in the park are very common despite the people boarding there are mostly competition riders - no wonder, boarding is rather expensive. There are even horse shows hosted at this beautiful facility:


The stalls, http://www.askoe-wien.at/files/img/Sportanlagen/pferdeboxen.jpg

Prize giving ceremony at one of the shows, http://www.reitverein-freudenau.at/htm/aktuelles.php

We even saw a bit of the galopp track (Galopprennbahn Freudenau) and later on the bus got an idea of the harness racing facility (Krieau), both of them also equipped with the imperial charms of former times:

Home of Thoroughbreds in Vienna, http://www.cusoon.at/galopprennbahn-freudenau
Krieau, http://diepresse.com/images/uploads/d/3/a/1420602/Trabrennbahn_1371664288339589.jpg
Read more on the galopp track here: http://www.freudenau.at/Freudenau_Home.html

And about harness racing here: http://www.krieau.at/besucher/geschichte/

After tons of walking - I was tired and hungry and so were the others. So we took the bus right to the other side of the Prater, this time not in the green part but in the amusement area. As told before, there are lots of rides like the famous big eye or Wiener Riesenrad as we call it - a must see for Vienna tourists:

The Wiener Riesenrad, more than famous! http://www.news.at/a/wiener-prater-eroeffnung-freitag
But apart from romantic candlelight dinners in one of the cabins, the chance for food is rather low at this attraction. Thank God there is one restaurant every tourist should have seen at least once! The so called "Schweizerhaus" (The House of the Swiss).

The Schweizerhaus is one of the best locations to eat "Stelze" (a pig's leg) or of course Wiener Schnitzel and they have one of the biggest beer gardens in Vienna having space for almost 2,000 people outside. All pictures below from: http://wienwiki.wienerzeitung.at/WIENWIKI/Schweizerhaus


The beer garden

An original STELZE

Enjoying some drinks! 

The beer assembly line is simply fun to watch :D

http://www.tripadvisor.at/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g190454-d694595-i35586438-Schweizerhaus-Vienna.html

You can find more about this location here: http://www.schweizerhaus.at/#!/page_home


I enjoyed this afternoon/evening so much and it was such great fun to show a horse crazy person something she would not even expect to see and something that is in no tourist guide. Talking like knowing each other for ages felt like we really made friends over the Internet (point for you, Internet!).

Jen also brought presents (oh, you shouldn`t have): typical stuff from Texas making me wish to go there soon to also visit her and try this nice BBQ sauce on an original Texan BBQ!

Thanks once again Jen for your visit, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Curious what she thinks about it? Read her point of view here:



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