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Vienna Trip 2017

Posted on: 13th December 2017 | Category: Boarding life, Trips and excursions

Leaving Surval in light snowfall really set the scene for our visit to Vienna’s famous Christmas Markets. When we landed in Vienna, I was glad to still have an arm after having Tavie gripped onto it so tightly during the turbulence! As we drove through the night-time streets of Vienna, we were welcomed to Austria’s beautiful capital by the wild blinking of Christmas lights. Once we had reached the comforts of our hotel, none of us wanted to leave, so we all ordered dinner in and had a good early night, getting ready for the very busy time that awaited us the next day.

The next morning it took an insane amount of effort to leave the warm comforts of my bed, but I am extremely glad I did, as we had such a culturally enlightening day. First thing, we piled out onto the streets wrapped up in every piece of clothing we could, in an attempt to keep warm in the freezing morning air. We walked through the narrow streets to nearby St Stephen's Cathedral. A beautiful building towering over us, it has to be one of the most stunning cathedrals I have seen.

After that we went on a tour of Vienna by horse and carriage. It was magical hearing the clattering of the horses’ hooves as we journeyed through the city, and imagining how it would have been to have lived here a hundred years ago.

Sadly, the horse and carriage ride had to come to an end; we drew up beside the majestic Baroque Hofburg Winter Palace, and immediately popped to nearby Starbucks for some warming caramel macchiatos - with extra caramel! After the much-needed hot drink, we were ready to jump back on our coach and begin the next part of our Viennese adventure – discovering the art of Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

The KunstHausWien is a uniquely stunning museum in the heart of Vienna, designed by Hundertwasser, an Austrian-born New Zealand artist, who also worked in the field of environmental protection. We wandered round the museum, gazing at the colourful paintings, before trooping outside to take photos of the vibrant patchwork building itself.

After that very interesting visit, the teachers realised that they had a bunch of ravenous teenagers on the bus, so it was time for some Christmas Market action! Luckily, one of Vienna’s many Christmas Markets was located in the gardens of our next tour location, Schönbrunn Palace, so we were able to wander around the stalls whilst eating crepes and gaufres with Nutella, and humming the tune of our favourite Christmas songs.

The tour of the palace was incredibly interesting for me as I have always been a fan of royalty and love learning about how the Monarchy lived back in the old days. The palace itself was truly exquisite, especially the gold and white ballroom, in which, our guide told us, Maria Theresa, who became the only female ruler of the Habsburg dynasty, used to dance until dawn...I found myself wishing I could travel back in time to do the same!

After a power nap back at the hotel, we spent an unforgettable evening at a traditional Viennese Winery on the outskirts of town. Two gentlemen violinists played lively Austrian music, and even came around our tables for some personal serenading! The evening was so exciting and full of life - it was one of the best dinners I have ever had in my life, purely because of the vibe and energy of the evening. (The food was good too, of course!)

We had a free morning the next morning so some of us enjoyed a Saturday lie in, whilst others set their alarms and treated themselves to a couple of extra hours exploring Vienna. We all had lunch at a lovely restaurant, and then it was time for an afternoon exploring the Christmas Markets and shops. It was perfect weather to do so - cold and clear with a pale wintry sun shining down on us. Wrapped up tightly in scarves, hats, jackets and gloves, we meandered around the wooden stalls. Each hut was charmingly decorated, and the sweet scent of cinnamon wafting around the frozen air made it feel cosy despite the cold! The best part was being there to experience it all with my friends and it will definitely be a memory that I will treasure forever.

It was then time to sprint back to our meeting place in order to get ready for our trip to Vienna’s legendary pastry shop and chocolaterie, Cafe Demel. We were escorted up carpeted stairs to a high-ceilinged room with great windows overlooking one of Vienna’s busy shopping streets. Each of us was given our own chocolate torte to decorate and, somehow, we managed to restrain ourselves from sailing in with a spoon, and instead got busy decorating them with all the different coloured icings. This was such a memorable experience as, not only was it fun making our own tortes pretty, but getting to see the artist emerge in many students and see people's creative juices flowing.

Our final day dawned bitterly cold, and we were glad to get inside the spectacular Baroque building of the famous Spanish Riding School. Crystal chandeliers glittered above the ménage, and classical music played as the hair-raisingly graceful Lipizzaners performed their beautiful equestrian ballet.

Then it was back on the coach and a smooth return journey back to Switzerland, watching the flat snow-covered fields of the Austrian plains turning into majestic Alpine mountains, their white peaks glowing pink in the setting sun.

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