Leaving Italy we headed north to Vienna. During our stay Austria was experiencing a heat wave, not a good time to stay somewhere without air-conditioning. Trying to sleep was terrible and we stirred all night, hopping in and out of the shower to cool down and sleeping on the balcony trying to escape the hot air surrounding us. I’ve never been so uncomfortable in my life.
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna was one of my favourite palaces. We visited the gardens first before the heat of the day, getting lost in the garden maze and walking to the top of the hill to enjoy the view back down to the palace. Then we spent the hottest part of the day inside the cool walls of the palace. Also in Vienna is the Spanish Riding school. A huge highlight for me and a place I’ve always wanted to see since I was a little girl playing with my ponies. Unfortunately we were not there on a performance day so we could only go and watch the morning practice. I sat there for the whole three hours and so did Russ, I’m so proud of him. In the afternoon we had a tour of the stables, that was a wonderful experience as we got to see behind the scenes and visit the horses.
Schönbrunn Palace Vienna
Horse and carriage, the best way to see a city, and I couldn’t resist a photo after our ride.
Spanish Riding School Vienna
Each horse has their own custom made saddle and bridle
It takes ten years of hard work and dedication to become a rider of the school. Fours years working on your own riding and then six years training a young horse up to top level.
A quick stop by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s house/museum in his home town of Thal
Vienna was lovely but Salzburg was better. If I could move to Europe I would live in the outskirts of Salzburg. It has some of the most beautiful countryside I’ve ever seen. Who needs the beach when you can swim in the crystal clear alpine lakes and be spoilt for choice during winter for ski resorts. The heat wave was still hanging around so twice we drove to the lake to go swimming.
Mondsee Lake in the outskirts of Salzburg, a perfect spot for swimming
Salzburg one of my favourite places
Does this look familiar? It’s the fountain from Sound of Music
The famous hills from Sound of Music
Yes, I did twirl.
Hallstatt is a must see and only a short drive from Salzburg. For ten euros you can hire a little electric boat to get one of the most beautiful views of Austria’s most scenic town.
Innsbruck is my dad’s home town. It’s always been a place that I’ve wanted to visit and I always wanted to visit with him but I never got the chance. I have a whole family base here that I’ve never met before.
After spending the week with them it was so hard to say goodbye, especially not knowing when I’ll see them all again.
View from the top of the Bergisel Ski Jump
Obergurgl a gorgeous ski resort town a short drive from Innsbruck
This is the home that my Oma was born in. I never met her or my Opa so going back to see all this history was amazing.
The view back up the Osterick Valley
Alpbach, just another gorgeous little ski town
They have the most beautiful churches and cemeteries in Europe. Oh how I would love to shoot Church weddings over here.
One great thing from our trip is that I got to see so many photos that I’ve never seen before. This is one of my favourites. Dad is in front with both his brothers and Mum Veronika.
Mayrhofen another stunning ski resort town.
Swarovski Museum just outside Innsbruck
Hiking in the hills looking for Dad’s tree
Fifty years ago Dad carved his name in this tree. Just a short walk through the forest on the edge of town. You can just make out the O near the top. I can’t even describe in words how wonderful this experience was for me.
My Austrian family, so many wonderful people.
On our travels through Austria we realised that we should have purchased a Vignette before driving the Austrian freeway. It’s a sticker you put on your windscreen that can range from one week to one year. It covers all your freeway tolls across Austria. If you get caught without one it’s an on the spot fine of $130 euros. So if you plan to drive in Austria don’t forget to purchase your Vignette. Available from the Asfinag or petrol stations. The bottom Vignette is for Switzerland also a must if you don’t want to be fined.