The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music!

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Day 17: Vienna to Budapest

So, let me start off by telling you that in fifth grade I did a report on Vienna, Austria and what it was know for and the only thing that I vividly remember is an entire section (maybe it was even a diorama or something) on the Lippizzaner horses. Now, for those of you who didn’t get to read my report, these are the award winning gorgeous creatures who prance and perform in shows worldwide and are known the world over. So needless to say when there was a chance of making the 5th grade report into a reality today along with being in the land of more storybook fantasies and where the hills are alive with the sound of music…I HAD to take it! That’s just how the day started…you’ll never believe what you can truly do on a Thursday if you put your mind to it!

With that in mind; here’s what happened…we woke up this morning in our very nice pyramid shaped hotel in Vienna that had a free wireless connection in the lobby, a pool, a spa and a gym. We had a lovely buffet breakfast housed in the pyramid section of the hotel and then headed out early as to be in the city at 9am since we had to leave by about 12:30 to get to Budapest on schedule. Yan (the Dutch driver if you forgot) dropped us off at the city center and everyone split up as we had 3+ hours to cover whatever sections of the city you wanted to cover. We hit the park by the palace where there’s a statue of Mozart that has a beautiful flower bed in front of him with flowers in the shape of a treble (musical) clef…get this; they change the flowers weekly so that the colors are always different (don’t you wish you had that type of gardner?) and took a few photos. After that we thought that since we weren’t going to be in town for the actual show and it’s apparently a big deal to be able to say that you saw the horses in Vienna as they are often traveling, we thought we’d hit the museum and the stables and take our chances as someone told us there was a practice exercise today. We got there and you could buy tickets for the 10:00 exercise to music so of course we did and went inside and there in the inside paddock of that museum a report done over 25 years ago came to life! It was SO cool! Gorgeous creatures that are so amazing and beautiful to watch as we saw them walk, prance, trot and almost gallop around the paddock. I could just imagine the look on Allyson’s (my best friend’s 6 year old daughter who went to horseback riding camp and is now taking lessons with her favorite horse Buffet) face if she could see these awesome creatures in person. Anyway…after that it really didn’t matter much what I did for the rest of the afternoon as Vienna got a big check mark and I was happy.

Mathew and I split up as he was going to meet Adam for the biggest schnitzel in Vienna and apparently the best as well and I was going to have lunch with the girls at a salad bar that is most famous as well. I met them at Rosenbergers (Todd’s best suggestion yet-it was super delicious) and then finished some shopping on the fancy streets of Vienna and of course bought myself some stamps, a magnet and a Swarovski crystal necklace as I was in it’s birthplace so why not! Then of course on my way back to the bus I knew that if I didn’t do one last thing my sister would yell at me as it would be the first question she would have knowing I was in Vienna or anywhere that the Von Trapp family might have been…so yes, you guessed it…I went over to the grassiest area I could find on the palace grounds in the garden and threw my arms out to the sides and spun around in each direction singing “the hills are alive with the sound of music”! I know, it might be a bit crazy as no, we weren’t in the alps or anything…but this is the closest I’ve ever been and it just seemed right at the time…crazy, but right! I met the hubs and we hopped back on the bus and headed on a 3+ hour drive out to Budapest, Hungary. We arrived and came straight to the hotel to check in, shower and jump back on the coach within 1 and ½ hours of our first stop at the hotel. We headed out with a local guide for a very informative comprehensive city tour where we could jump off the coach and take pictures of the palaces, castles, bridges and altogether picturesque cityscape in front of us of the hilly and flat landscapes of buda and pest. The tour ended at the Danube River where we boarded a boat for our dinner cruise on the river with a fully equipped buffet spread Hungarian style (yup, you guess it…it included the goulash). Dinner, drinks and some outdoor air and smiles ear to ear as we went up and down the Danube with the lights and the fantastic views of what could only be described as a medieval city come to life with its beauty and charm in every spec of the city and two hours later the boat was back at the dock. We said a sad goodbye to our local guide and got back on the coach. Mathew and a bunch of people went with Todd to an outdoor bar/club and I headed back to the hotel with a bunch of others and Yan. Tomorrow is a coach free day as it’s European law that every 7-10 days the driver has a full 24 hour period without the coach so we’ll be taking public transport into the city if we choose to go and it’s a fully free day to explore. Todd’s going walkabout so we think we’ll tag along with him and maybe end our day with a spa treatment at a Hungarian hot springs…oh the decisions to make!

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