Tag Archives: Vienna

Travelling to Vienna for Radio Days 2018

Travel Gracefully at Radio Days 2018 with Steve Ahern from Sydney, Australia reporting for http://www.radioinfo.com.au

Vienna was the host city for this prestigious annual event in 2018 and the turnout was amazing with fabulous, informative presentations over the three days.

Thoughts from my short stay; the city’s stylish and elegant persona is evident and being here again is a treat. Cafes, restaurants and cute boutique shops all within exquisite architectural marvels are filled with the sound of laughter, clinking glasses and the smell of a well-cooked schnitzel with all the sumptuous trimmings.

Read more at: https://radioinfo.com.au/news/travelling-vienna-rde18 © Radioinfo.com.au

And, if you love radio as much as I do, it’s a perfect fit to come along and learn somewhat more about the intricacies of where the face of radio is heading towards in the future. As days have gone by, so have some of the memories of what it used to by like … with lots of fond memories like these beauties!

First day up and #RDE18 unfolded faster than a raging bull struck by a cattle prodder filled with radio waves.

Exhibitors made the most of the three days showcasing the most innovative and the latest technologies on offer. Here the first sessions of Radio Days Europe in Vienna had begun and the world was listening.

One of my favourite presentations was Breakfast at My Place with Claudia Stöckl, who has been broadcasting for more than 20 years and previous to this was a successful model. She presents an in-depth interview style show whereby she really likes to find out about her invited guests before going on air.

Why does it work for her? “If it’s exciting for you, then it’s exciting for the listeners,” she said.

Her advice is that broadcasters should want to know about each guest, to exhibit a curiosity which shows as being genuine.

“A good interview is not having a PR question to allow them to promote their own agenda… I like to surprise them with anything other than, how are you today”.

Niall Power who is the Head of Station Sound at the multi-award winning Irish regional radio station Beat 102-103, showcased his selection from the last 12 months of the most innovative radio promotions across the world.

Of course, our own thought-provoking Australian duo being Jackie O and Kyle from KISS FM, were placed second and they were in their element at the time. With a radio promotion and an abundance of Hyundai i30 vehicles, they were able to give them away to anyone who could make it through the pipeline – a car for each caller on the day. It was a first for the radio industry.

And in a real tease for one unsuspecting caller, Kyle and Jacquie O had him in such a state as they kept asking him – are you there? Pretending they couldn’t hear him, it sent the caller into a spin. Luckily they stopped their barrage and gave him a car much to his relief – and the listeners! This had everyone on the edge of their seats and social media went ballistic for many days thereafter. Over 12 million calls were recorded on the day the cars were given away on KISS FM.

Even if Midge Ure of Ultravox fame in the early 1980s was a little before your time, you’ll certainly know the sound of ‘Vienna’ which was a ground-breaking and edgy arrangement within its era. Anyway, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, classical instruments built into say, even pop-style music is without doubt splendid listening – worthy of inclusion and more often than not, incredibly successful. And yes, that’s the sound of Vienna.

Midge (pictured) finished off the day with a performance of Vienna having been the band’s most commercially successful release and it’s often played live in his solo performances. He wasn’t without fans here at RadioDays 2018 as attendees flocked to hear him once again and the applause was ongoing.

At the Haus of Musik in Vienna, take time out to visit and simply hear a range of hi-tech interactive and multimedia presentations which introduce the world of music; from the earliest human use of instruments to the music of the present day.

Those involved in developing the museum included four Austrian universities, two foreign university institutes, a team of musicians and music theorists. Artists from multimedia, sound technicians and students also contributed to its accomplishments.

The Haus der Musik is located in the Palace of Archduke Charles and very near to Karlsplatz station.

What did you say Sonny boy? Haus der Musik with its interactive sound systems gives this gentleman something to think about.

At the end of the day, a treat with some Austrian hospitality is always welcome, with local cuisine being served to the masses of radio dignitaries, broadcasters and any one who relishes the sound of radio and its makings here at the City Hall.

After parties are always a great networking activity … And the social gatherings are kindred to those who partake in these conferences for years to come.

Some jazz to liven up the atmosphere is always easy on the ear. The mix of the saxophone, trumpet and cello are so aesthetically pleasing together, it makes the style so unique to itself. So many artists came from nothing to jazz and it speaks in volumes to so many people on various levels.

On the travelling side of attending Radio Day’s big event, don’t forget connections to the airport are made easy with a dedicated rail service from the main station to the airport (and vice verse). Less than 13 Euro each way and less than 30 minutes travelling time on the fast City Express Train or better known as CAT.

Travelling by train? Don’t forget the main rail services can divide at a given city and make sure you’re waiting at the correct sector on the platform to ensure you’re alighting the carriage going in the right direction.

Although my final destination is St Anton, I need to be heading for Innsbruck to change, however half the train will actually separate after arrival at Salzburg.

For me it’s via Innsbruck to Lech am Arlberg in Austria. Have you been to a place which bears your surname? Toot toot, next destination Lech!

Spanish Riding School – Vienna, Austria

P1220933You know when you’re asked the question ‘are you a dog or a cat person?’ you wonder if there’s some kind of psychological insight being extracted for further analysis … My answer is always the same – I love horses firstly without doubt. And, any horse enthusiast would have earmarked The Spanish Riding School on their to-do list long ago – just like me.

I’m here for the 11:00 am performance and it seems these fellows are having a day off. The others are readying themselves behind the scenes – the stallions being groomed methodically with every hair in place, then saddled, warmed up and given a little pep talk by their adoring masterful riders.

The school is quite central and only a short walk from the Albertina and located at the Hofburg.

Beforehand you might think a cuppa be appropriate, however a glass of sparkling with a salmon starter is the order for this special occasion. Only five euros at the Lipizzaner Café which is open to all throughout the day and it’s adjacent to the entrance and ticket counter.

You can sit outside the venue and view the covered facilities as the horses are walked each day.

The 120 resident stallions are taken to their summer stables at Heldenberg-Wetzdorf-Lower Austria in July and August for seven weeks where they’re kept in stalls with paddocks. The horses are not schooled during this period, but instead, are simply taken out and ridden in the nearby forest to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.

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At various times during the day, you can also join a tour of the horse’s stables, tack rooms and general amenities. Pre-booking is advisable during peak times. Visit the official site for more information.  http://www.srs.at/en_US/vorfuehrungen-en/

Address: Spanish Riding School, Michaelerplatz 1, 1010 Vienna

The rank of a Rider can be recognized by the number of golden lines sewn into the border of his saddle pad – two for the Rider and three for the Chief Rider. The black saddles are used for the training with the red-covered ones for performances and each saddle is fitted to suit the individual stallion – as are the bridles.

Lipizzaner stallions are born black, brown or grey and turn white with age but there are always a few bay ones between the greys that keep their dark coat colour. There is an old saying that says “as long as there is a bay stallion in the stable, the Spanish Riding School will last.”

Photo courtesy of Katja Stuppia

Entering the arena we already know this more than 450-year-old tradition has become an institution and about to be witnessed by many for the first time and hopefully not the last by me …

The grand ball-room-like hall is a beautiful baroque design; constructed by Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach from 1729 to 1735, it’s been used as an indoor or winter arena and known as the Winter Riding School.


I was really pleased to sit at the lower level, for me as a past dressage rider it was preferable to view the educated movements from the ground.

The walls act as a buffer to ensure the horse’s balance is kept and helps align its body and weight to carry out given tasks communicated by the rider through the legs and reins.

With its proportions of 56 metres in length and 18 metres in width, it’s used for daily training and performances.

Lights out and classical music begins … anticipation is now at its most elevated!

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Photo courtesy of Vienna Tourist Board. Photography is not permitted during the performances.

It was funny to see the younger horses who were on show in the early part still giving a quick little pig root and swishing their tails to indicate their intention to be a bit naughty. However, once the more mature stallions entered and presented their levels of precision to the classical music in a perfect cadence, it was truly one of the most euphoric experiences you could ever wish to witness. Their combined attention along with pricked ears and shiny big brown eyes melted everyone’s hearts.

At the age of 4 years, the horses are brought from their home at Federal Stud Piber to the Training Centre Heldenberg and then to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. During a 3-year training program, the more simple riding techniques are taught to the “Haute École” or High School executed movements. The first two years the horse is first ridden in a natural posture of all gaits, then afterwards turns and circles,  tracking in complete balance and alignment with its rider.

In the third year the stallions are evaluated on an individual basis and begin learning the dressage movements such as piaffe, the passage, pirouettes, how to complete flying changes of the legs at the canter. Attaining these skills takes in total five to six years of training. Only a very few of the stallions ever master the most spectacular moves such as the levade, courbette, capriole because of the difficulty and these are also known as “Airs above the Ground“. The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution in the world where classical horsemanship (according to the Renaissance tradition of the Haute Ecole) has been practised and cultivated for more than 450 years.
Source: http://www.srs.at

Kapriole - (C) Spanische Hofreitschule - Rene van Bakel
Photo courtesy of Vienna Tourist Board.

Performing the capriole, an upward leap made without going forward and a backward kick of the hind legs at the height of the leap. The objective of classical horsemanship is to study the natural steps and movements of the horse bringing it to the highest level of Haute Ecole by systematic training. This results in an unparalleled harmony between rider and horse, as only Vienna’s Spanish Riding School is presenting it nowadays.
Source: http://www.srs.at

At the end of the magnificent performance, it’s time to head off and visit some more places, this time I won’t hail a taxi, it’ll be a carriage ride for old time’s sake and reminisce what it was like to own a horse.

Doesn’t matter how many times you may have visited Vienna it never disappoints. With some days of free time to look around, it reaffirms the city is a leader of classical music, art collections and traditions drawn on centuries of history.

Within Vienna’s most important landmark, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the heart and soul of Stephansplatz, an important square which marks the city’s geographical centre. Noted for its interesting mix of new and old architectural styles, it’s a wonderful place to simply hang out and watch the world pass by from the comfort of a café patio, or perhaps do some shopping.

The only way to look is ‘up’ when inside St Stephen’s Cathedral with its magnificent imposing gothic style – enticing an uncontrolled ooh, ah and wowser factor whereby the attention to detail is flawless to the eye.

And, sometimes you can benefit from an afternoon visit and maybe find a Russian choir practising for the main evening’s performance. Tickets are on sale at the door generally – but be early for any concert  …

Bitzinger Wurstelstand near the Albertina is a must for some quick local goodies as you’re very much on the run to see so many sights.

Yum, on a fresh crusty roll … Choose between a delicious Bosna, hot dog or Käsekrainer and a range of traditional side orders. Draft beer, bottled wine or champagne are also on the list.

And of course the Albertina which hosts a plethora of artistic works is easy access from the train station. It houses one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world with approximately 65,000 drawings and approximately 1 million old master prints, as well as more modern graphics, photographs and architectural drawings.

A Pinocchio shop – better believe it. A myriad of wooden products for sale.

I’ve been asked this before and the spelling is just a little too much alike I’m afraid. Hence the reason I’ve had mail returned via Austria!

However,  there’s an Aussie pub  close to the Tourist Information office which is great to know; just so one can reconnect with some Foster’s and have a chat.

Might have to return to my abode on one of these though after a couple of bevvies!

But, it’s always a treat to head to the Sacher Hotel – go early generally there’s a line up. Created in 1832 by 16 year old apprentice chef Franz Sacher at the court of Prince Metternich, considered to be the most famous chocolate cake in the world today. The recipe for the Original Sacher-Torte is a well-kept secret, known only to confectioners at Hotel Sacher in Vienna.

Ten euro will buy you a slice with a coffee from the menu.

The area of the city where I stayed is a short train ride and quite bohemian with fantastic market stalls and pretty buildings abound.

Grab a bargain alright! Can’t take anything with me this time around …P1220270
Just around the corner there’s green grocers and the displays are enchanting.

Even at the end of the day, there’s still a lovely twilight which hangs around till later in the evening. Have to rest up – being a horse lover, and on the agenda is the Spanish Riding School for my next day’s outing in Vienna.

Vienna, Austria – Tauck River Cruise

Last day on MS Treasures and finishing up our training for the day. We’ll celebrate in the evening at a Gala dinner once we arrive into Vienna.

Meanwhile, we’ll just float along and keep our eye out for more swans, birds,  fish and all the things which keep one busy when relaxing and having a wonderful time – basically not doing much right now …

You can even keep connected while you’re busy wondering when’s the next delectable dish is going to be placed before you.

I will never say ‘no’ to anything which is accompanied by ice cream.

Gym is starting to look very much like a place I need to go to whilst onboard. However, we’ll be walking around Vienna soon enough, so that’s a start.

If there was one past time in my life I enjoyed the most, it was definitely horse riding and one of the best forms of exercise you could dream of. We’ve been transferred into Vienna by coach and a quick walk around reveals how close the Spanish Riding School is within the city itself. Here’s one of the stallions and he’s obviously used to all of the attention. More of that later …

The elegant Palais Pallavicini sets the scene for our graduation ceremony during the evening.

Stunningly beautiful décor and delightful staff greet us, and upon arrival a glass of bubbly is welcomed by all.

A private performance is given to our group and feeling quite thrilled about the display of superb singing, dancing and musician’s arrangement.

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With Deb and Lyn to celebrate – very happy to be part of the Tauck Academy for Travel Agents.

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A well-deserved reward with new insights about Tauck and its products. Contact me for any further information about their destinations of which they travel to – any tours, small ship cruising and family adventures.

Tauck is well renown in the industry and take great pride in their ninety-year history, especially in view it’s a family-owned and run business who enlist the best guides and services they can possibly source worldwide.

And, just like any blue movie, the fun continues onboard with our colleagues and a lot of laughs when the staff join in too. Miss the boat and the gang … Until next cruise!