King for a day, princess by dawn! King for a day in a leather thong! King for a day, princess by dawn! Just wait til all the guys get a load of me…
I think Mel Brooks said it best. It is good to be King!
Today I went to the Schonbrunn Palace (or Summer Palace) in Vienna which was exquisite. (By the way Christ, I will use everyone of those suggested words in this one post 😛 Although the Palace was so amazing that trust me…they are all deserved). I decided to go with the Classic Ticket which includes the grand tour of the palace (40 rooms of the royal living quarters) with audio guide, Strudel cooking demonstration and taste testing, entrance to the Maze and Games area (yes, A MAZE!!!), The Panorama Terrace and the Privy Gardens. Pretty much a full days worth of stuff all for just 16 euros. Pretty good if you ask me.
The rooms of the apartment were lovely. Some were as originally designed while others had been updated by later monarchs but every one of them was not over the top in its decoration while still being luxurious. There was even plenty of shiny gild work to amaze the eye. By far these ravishing rooms are what Donald Trumps apartment tries to replicate but goes too far. I would LOVE to live in this kind of place although I think they are a little too formal and lacking a degree of comfort. Add a spa bath, central heating/aircon, some plasmas and a couple of Laz-E-boys and I am moving in 😛
Throughout the tour the audio guide gives you an interesting sneak peak in to the lives of the royals that graced those halls. Particular Franz Joseph and Maria Theresa were mentioned in a lot of detail. You got an insight not in to the people and their daily routines but also the politics of the time. Marriage was an interesting aspect of their lives as generally it was something utilised for political means by the Hapsburg’s. Especially today when a lot of crazy conservatives spout a lot about the sanctity of marriage it is an interesting phenomenon that it was rarely used as an expression of love. Only one of Maria Theresa’s daughters married for love for instance. Sissi (One of the most famous Hapsburg Empresses) went as far as to describe it as an absurd institution. Just another example of where the term and use of marriage has been refined over time and anyone supporting the idea that marriage today is reflecting an historical standard lasting thousands of years is uninformed.
From the palace I moved on to start exploring the gardens. I initially went in to the Privy Gardens which despite being pretty were somewhat unusually separated from the rest of the gardens which were free to enter and explore and were much more beautiful in my opinion. After taking a few more photos of all angles of the imposing structure that is the palace I made my way to the Strudel demonstration. For starters, this is worth it for the free piece of strudel that was divine. It was also very well presented in both German and English by the young chef and the skills of tossing and rolling the dough are definitely an art form. It doesn’t last long but it is well worth seeing.
I continued my strolling through the picturesque and relaxing gardens of the palace. You pass many different corners and areas of the gardens as well as many fountains and statues. Eventually I found myself taking time to just sit on the chairs and enjoy the surroundings. By the end of the day I would’ve probably sat on every chair in the expansive palace gardens – it was just too peaceful to leave. I then walked up the slope to the Panorama Terrace and from the top you get the best scenic views of the palace and surrounding areas. It is interesting that after yesterday describing Vienna as almost ugly from the rooftop view from the Cathedral that this was close to the best view I have seen first hand. It was just so beautiful and jaw dropping. I just lent against the railing and spent a fair while looking at the view provided for me. I could REALLY live here 😛
It was then time to go get lost in the maze and get increasingly angry as I saw little kids (who I should be smarter than) run past me and up on to the viewing platform at the end while I was confronted not only with dead end after dead end but also the SAME dead end after dead end!!! Eventually I was successful and did my little victory dance. Although hungry for some sandwiches I could make when I get back to the Hostel and stop in at the supermarket I just couldn’t leave the palace grounds. I sat on a chair and listened to my ipod as I was bathed in sun and amazing views of the well maintained gardens. I would then get up to leave, walk past another beautiful landscape and then sit and read my book (Michael J Fox’s memoirs today which after finishing Tucker Maxs I hope they serve beer in hell now means I have read 4.5 books in the last month :O). This process eventually repeated enough times until I found myself out of the palace grounds and on the train heading back. All I could do is wish my strongest wish that I was a prince!!
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