Saturday, August 29

In Magical Vienna all day today! It's hot and sunny, forecast is 91 degrees!

Austria has a population of 8.5 million with 1.8 million in Vienna. It is landlocked now, but had access to the Adriatic Sea before 1918. We have a bus tour of the city, driving on Ring Avenue which was built on the footprint of the original city wall. About 25 to 30 percent of Vienna was bombed in WWII. Our guide, Sylvia, tells us that the Marshall Plan was responsible for rebuilding Vienna. We pass a multitude of beautiful, impressive buildings. Vienna's Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The State Opera House has a different opera performed every night and every performance is sold out. It was rebuilt after WWII.

The Presidential Palace houses the offices of the President of Parliament, mostly a figure head position. The flag indicates that he is here in Vienna.

We pass a statue of Mozart in a city park.

City Hall is a large, ornate, impressive building. It is not near the center of the city, so we must be satisfied with a drive by photo.

We're off the bus, walking through Hofburg square, past the Imperial Palace. The Habsburg family was in power for 640 years and responsible for the impressive buildings in Old City Vienna. Maria Theresia reigned from 1740 to 1780. She had 16 children. Her son Joseph II reigned with her and after her.

The famous Lippizaner Stallions of the Spanish Horse Riding School are housed here in Hofburg Square.

We catch a glimpse of a few of the horses in their stables. 72 horses are here. They come here at age four and are trained for five to seven years before they perform.

The Winter Palace now belongs to the Republic. The short wall in front circles an area of Roman ruins.

In a nearby square there is a spot for modern art, with the pieces being changed every month. This one of a broken horse and seated rider is called Monumental Break. The square marks an area that was the original moat of the city wall. The Badenburg family filled in the moat in the 1100s with money received from the ransom of Richard the Lionhearted.

Tom takes a break from the sun.