Continuing on the Danube Cruise begun last month, delightful villages and verdant countryside line the banks of the Danube. Going through the many locks along the journey, especially at night, adds a spooky ambiance to the trip.
Vienna emerges as a lovely city of contrasts. Seeing a horse drawn carriage in front of the Hofburg, the Imperial Palace, the winter home of the Hapsburg emperors, conjures up images of what it might have been like in the 17th till the early 20th century. Then, you might round a corner and face the Haas Haus, a brilliantly creative example of contemporary architecture, with its mirrored windows reflecting old world buildings so that old and new blend together.
One of the most famous and certainly the oldest, riding school in the world is the Spanish Riding School, housed on the Hofburg grounds. This is where the famed Lipizzaner horses are trained to perform their ballet-like movements. On the outskirts of Vienna is Schonbrunn Palace, the summer home of the Hapsburgs, another stunningly beautiful edifice that houses much original furniture and art installed by the emperors.