So now we come to the third in the trilogy of Vienna: Palaces. Vienna is chock full of them. There are the Imperial Palaces where one can see the jewels and crowns of the Holy Roman Emperors, plus the apartments where the royals lived; and there is Schönbrunn, the ‘country’ palace and grounds which, like so many monuments in Vienna, has morphed from early medieval use to depredation by invaders to lavish restoration by the Hapsburgs.
In truth, Schönbrunn was little more than a hunting lodge and grounds for the earlier Hapsburgs until the time of Emperor Charles VI who gave it to his daughter, Maria Theresia, after which it really took off!
Because of the beautiful gardens, the beautiful day as well as the beautiful rooms, we chose to tour Schönbrunn and were not disappointed! Because photos inside are prohibited you will have to visit HERE if you would like to see what we saw. There are some very good virtual tours at this site.
Schönbrunn Palace, in the high baroque style, is so immense, it is hard to fit it all in the camera’s view!
As you walk out the ‘back door’ so to speak, you are greeted by gardens on either side, an immense statue called Neptune’s statue, and a huge edifice on a hill, the Gloriette, which was used as a sort of secondary dining room for the royals and their guests. Some kind of almost al fresco dining!
Unfortunately, it was just a little too early for the amazing plantings that happen in the gardens at Schönbrunn but we could get a sense of how lovely they might be at the height of summer.
Everyone was very busy preparing for the summer season. Even the statues were getting a cleaning from the winter grime (and moss, no doubt)! This would be a lot of fun on a summer’s day but this day it was really windy, probably not too much ‘fun’ for the hose man!
You can get a sense of the layout of the gardens better from (almost) the top of the hill.
There was a reflecting pool with mergansers landing amid other ducks. Next time we’ll carry our compact binoculars so we can make the definitive identification!
Also a really great view of Vienna!
We were more than fascinated by the Gloriette, with it’s massive columns and faceless statues.
It echoes perfectly the main palace that sits opposite. Not a mistake!
Austrian water is VERY good and safe to drink….something the Austrians are rightly proud of!
We were delighted to discover that the al fresco dining room of the Hapsburgs has been replaced by a working cafe. The prices were a little steep but nice to get in out of the wind and enjoy some schokolade! As with any caffeinated beverage, it is always served with a glass of water and a small spoon for eating up that yummy schlogoobers or whipped cream.
Vienna is famous for the elegance and hospitality of its coffee houses, which I hope to visit more on an upcoming trip. Evidently Starbucks has tried to open a place or two there without much success. The Viennese just don’t get drinking coffee from a paper cup and while on the go. I think the Viennese know a thing or two. 🙂
Behind and beside the Gloriette, there are miles of more gardens and paths, and the Schönbrunn Zoo, one of the first in Europe. We took a wooded path down and soon found ourselves being stalked by a two footed ‘friend’.
The literature mentioned a Roman ruins, and we thought that would be interesting. We could see what looked like a ruins from the top.
Alas, with their fondness for antiquity, the architects of the palace had created a Roman Ruins for the entertainment of the royals and their guests. It did look a bit staged!!!!
Some not so fake beauty lay in the grounds themselves. Spring just arriving and all that!
The squirrels were active, and much different looking than the ones we have in Montana!
We got some great views of a very common bird around Austria. This one is MY photo! (unlike the previous photo which I had to borrow!)
And some interesting flowers which I can’t find the name for in our Blumen book. Oh well. Not everything must be named to be enjoyed!
Until next time, thanks for reading! Auf wiedersehen!