Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

She was swinging from her handbag on the King’s Road. Fresh from boarding school and double barreled shame. Now there are worms in her skin….

Firstly a word of advice.  The Vienna card costs about 18 Euros and gives you 72 hours of unlimited public transport use and discounts at various sights and shops.  The discounts are okay BUT something I have discovered is that the Student prices are always cheaper if not the same price and you can get a 72 hour public transport card for 5 euros less.  In short, if a student you dont need the Vienna Card.  If not a student…get it!

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So today it was time for my second palace in Vienna and probably the most visited and well known – The Hofburg Palace.  The palace complex now includes a variety of museums and exhibits while still being used by the President and civil service of the now republic of Austria. For me the things I wanted to see were the Imperial Treasurer (They have ads in the subways that say We may not have emperors but we still have their Jewels which is funny enough for me to go plus there was bound to be an abundance of shiny things) as well as the Sissi Museum, the Imperial Apartments and the Silver Collection.  The Hofburg is right in the centre of town but as a result it is quite a maze (a non-fun maze unlike yesterday) so finding the entrance was a little difficult. Although maybe this was just me.

Eventually I found my way to the entrance to the Silver Collection, Imperial Apartments and Sissi Museum which are one complex accesssed with a singular ticket.  The Silver Collection includes only as mall percentage of all the utensils, crockery, cooking implements and table decorations that the Hapsburgs used and collected during their reign.  It does leave you amazed at the extent of the original catalogue before items were sold after the end of the monarchy because the displays are extensive and probably in the end just a Little too large and repetitive.  It also isn’t something that you should see on an empty or half empty stomach. All the talk of banquets and meals with up to 30 courses starts the stomach craving for some food of its own (or at least mine did).  Particularly as the court confectionery kitchen is discussed in detail. The most interesting point of this section to me was that there is a special imperial way of folding napkins that that has been used for hundreds of years and is still used for state banquets. However, it is so special that it is only passed by word of mouth and currently only two people know the technique.  It is a little like the Colonels 7 secret herbs and spices and part of me wonders if the two people who know the secret are not allowed to travel in the same car, plane or vehicle for fear that one accident could wipe them both out.

The Imperial Apartments are quite similar to the ones seen yesterday in the Schonbrunn Palace.  The layout is similar even if the decoration is a little more modern as they were completely redesigned by Emperor Franz Joseph and Empresses Elisabeth (Sissi) in the mid to late 19th Century.  Red was a dominant theme of the design. Maybe it was because it was a little repetitive from yesterday but I didn’t find this seciton of the tour as enjoyable as yesterday. I think it also was because that without the amazing and beautiful grounds surrounding the rooms and with extra large crowds of people the experience was always going to be slightly less enjoyable.  If I become King of Austria I think Schonbrunn would be enough and the Hofburg can be left as a museum hehe

The Sissi museum was really interesting though. Although the audio guide was hard to use as all the numbers were hidden so you would accidentally skip points and have to backtrack, you were given an insight in to an interesting figure of the Austrian Monarchy.  Basically it seems that Sissi was loved by the Emperor beyond words (as they were monarchs they were cousins so…yeah…a little awkward IMO haha) but is someone who despite strength and beauty struggled with the position of living in the public view and the pressures associated with it. She was totally overwhelmed by the position of Empresses it seems and has become the subject of much mythology after her death.  Part of me wonders about the similarities and differences between her story and that of the most famous Princess of the last 40 years – Princess Di.

Anyway, after stopping to rest my legs in the Heroes Square where Hitler announced the annexation of Austria, I worked my way through the maze that is the Hofburg until I found the Treasury.  You have to pay extra for the audio guide but it is well worth it as non of the descriptions are in English and the amount of detail given to a raft of different objects is impressive.  Overall, this place is ace!  There are shiny amazing objects and stories to be told around every corner (and there are a lot of corners in this vast exhibition).  You see a lot crowns and royal objects from throughout time as well as important objects for the Holy Roman Empire that has dominated my history lessons of the last 2 weeks.  Also there are a lot of relics on show.  Although if you believe that every part of the true cross is from Christs cross or every thorn is from the crown of thorns as is claimed…it appears Jesus Christ was about 1000000000 kilos, 900 metres tall and was crucified on a cross resembling Rockerfella Centre set across the empire state building.  Regardless though the work of the metal smiths and jewellers is exquisite. Christ…COME HERE FOR SHINY HEAVEN LOL

So that was my day.  It was a full on day, much more full on than usual but before I go I have a request.  I keep getting the feeling of a sharp sudden pain on the top of my torso between my neck and the top of my shoulder.  Like I’m being karate chopped.  It first happened when I went for a sip of my cocktail while watching the comedy show in NYC and I looked around for who/what hit me. It happened once more in Prague while leaning over to pick up a book and today while I lent over to pay for my lunch.  I think this is pain associated to my dodgy back and the even dodgier beds I am sleeping on at the moment.  However, if this is a common symptom of a Stroke, Heart Attack or Swine Flu could someone please inform me ASAP. Thanks😛

June 29, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

3 Comments »

  1. Back pain is the first sign of a heart attack! Does this mean i may finally get to defib someone? Hold on until you get back to Aus!

    Comment by Christ | June 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. don’t you watch house: FAST is the anagram for a stroke. Facial paralysis, Arm (or leg) paralysis, Speech difficulties, Time to act fast….. hahahahahah

    Comment by bethy | July 1, 2009 | Reply

  3. and i haven’t read any reports about ‘Karate Chop’ being a swine flu symptom. although i have heard ‘breathing difficulties, muscle weakness or soreness, headache….’ yeah it’s not like most people haven’t experienced one of those!

    Comment by bethy | July 1, 2009 | Reply


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