Vienna by Fiaker and the Baron

Mr P loves horses.  He is with horses the way I am with cats — luckily, he has enough common sense to know that, at present, owning even one would be untenable.  We had hoped to go to the famous riding school while we were here but knew in advance that they close for six weeks in the summer and the stallions are moved to a summer camp where they rest from their daily rigors and get some “R & R.” They also get to service suitable mares to provide the next generation of stars.

So instead of watching the horses being put through their paces I decided to offer Mr P his horse fix in the form of a horse and carriage ride around Vienna. I have to say that in the balmy sunshine the whole experience was most delightful.

We chose our carriage with care. Most of them are veteran, if not antique, and offer seats of varying comfort. As most of the inner city is cobbled, and we are both prone to the odd back ache now and then, we looked for a carriage that had well padded seats. Mr P was also keen on choosing one that was drawn by healthy looking horses who were well-groomed. we also wanted someone who looked as though they had made an effort — no jeans and T-shirt for us!

There are standard fares/charges in operation — these were 40 euros for 20 minutes, 80 euros for 45 minutes and 120 euros for 90 minutes.  You also have the option to hire for the day or half day.  Note this charge is for the carriage itself — not per person.  Most carriages will sit four people — sometimes a 5th can sit up front with the driver.  Some only sit two.

Let me introduce you to Wolfgang Fasching or Georg Fasching — otherwise known as the “Fiaker Baron” — our driver for the next 45 minutes.

Continue reading → Vienna by Fiaker and the Baron

The Other Mozart Syndrome

There are actually two “Mozart Syndromes.”  This first one is rather precious and new and deals with washing the sounds of Mozart’s melodies over the ears of babies and young children to help them think more clearly.  The second “Mozart Syndrome” is more ancient, more insidious and much more dangerous by many magnitudes.

Continue reading → The Other Mozart Syndrome