Our train from Budapest to Vienna was a quick 2 hour, easy journey for us! We went to check in to our hotel to get rid of our backpacks and then set off for Schonbrunn Palace the home of the Habsburg Dynasty. The biggest thing on my Vienna To Do List was this Palace so I was excited to knock it out right away.
Schonbrunn is too enormous for me to even accurately describe. We took the Grand Tour which means we saw 40 rooms in the Palace with English audio-guides. It was far too short in my opinion. The opulence that the Habsburgs lived in was astounding. Maria Theresa started the great family in Austria in 1740 and they ruled the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and Holy Roman Empire until Charles I died in 1918. That ended their rule over Austria.
The museum actually started in backward order, beginning with Franz Joseph I who was the last Habsburg to live in Schonbrunn and told about his life in Austria with his wife Sisi. Sisi is something of an obsession for Austrian people as she set the styles for the time, but was from Bavaria and didn’t really love her husband. Her bedrooms were shown then we moved into the Maria Theresa Room, for lack of a better name, that housed all the portraits of her children such as Marie Antoinette. I loved seeing the real portraits that I’ve read about and seen in textbooks. My TCU European History elective class has come in very handy this week!
I didn’t take any pictures inside other than of the ballroom above. I wanted to just enjoy what I was looking at…. And pretend that I was in my summer house.
After walking around the inside of the palace, we walked through the garden on the sides of the Palace. They have a zoo on the grounds and a maze! The former we didn’t buy tickets for and the latter was closed for the winter.
Here’s the view of the back of the Palace~
Pretty grand isn’t it?
In the back of the back courtyard is a massive fountain depicting the Roman God Neptune riding his hippocampi into battle. The water was turned off for the winter, but I can only imagine the beauty of the flowing fountain in the summer.
Behind the fountain was a steep hill that we climbed to get a better view of the Palace.
I sat for a long time just looking at this view. Below are random shots from the grounds. The top left picture was at the top of the steep hill behind the fountain. It’s a cafe now. The fountain is a fountain in the Maria Theresa sector of the land. Another Roman battle scene!
After leaving the Palace we still had a little bit of daylight left so we made our way to Mozart’s House in the middle of the city. No pictures were allowed to be taken inside, but I snuck one of the original copy of his opera ‘The Magic Flute.’
I went into this house knowing basically nothing about Mozart and his life. We had heard a little bit about him at Schonbrunn from when he played for the Habsburg court at the ripe old age of 6 years old (haha). He was apparently quite the precocious youngster.
Mozart’s House was 3 floors of artifacts and stories about his life in Vienna. He moved multiple times in Vienna, but the museum we went to is the only apartment that is still standing. By the time we got there it was dark so I didn’t take a picture of the front. I learned that Mozart was a big gambler so even though he made tons of money from his operas and music pieces, he always needed money. He and Joseph Haydn were very close, often dedicating works to each other.
The museum was an overwhelming amount of information that corresponded to the room you were in. When I say a museum threw facts at you, you know they threw facts at you. I was in the first room of the house for 20 minutes listening to the audio before I just started to wander around and look at artifacts. It is not entirely known how Mozart actually set up his apartment because there are no photographs or journal entries about the space. The one thing the museum did have was a list of what the Mozart family owned at the time of his death. They staged a recreation according to that list.
The next morning we had about 4 hours until our bus left for Prague, Czech Republic so we slept in a little then made our way to the Imperial Butterfly House or Schmetterling Haus! The before mentioned Franz Joseph and his wife Sisi loved the Butterfly House, it stands close to the center of Vienna near the Albertina Museum.
After the Butterfly House, we got on the Metro to get to the bus station… Which ended up being more of an adventure than we needed. The previous day we had bought a 24 hour Metro pass, but in getting to the bus the next day, it was the 26th hour of the pass. No one had ever checked tickets before (Europe runs on the honest system basically) so we figured it was only 5 stops, what’s the harm?! At the next stop, I noticed a man got on in plain street clothes with a bag strapped around his waist. He put on reading glasses even though he had nothing to read with him. I thought this was odd, but looked away. I looked back up and realized the man was checking tickets. The 5 of us began muttering to each other about the current situation and formulating a plan. I wanted to just move farther up the train away from him, but we decided that was too obvious. We decided to hop off the train at the next stop and wait for the next Metro, which would follow about 5 minutes later. Lucky for us, the man had caught someone in front of us without a ticket, so we were able to bolt. As Anna said, “But isn’t everyone leaving Austria supposed to be fleeing?!” We eventually got on the next Metro and made our bus with about 5 minutes to spare. To say I was relieved to be sitting comfortably on the bus to Prague is an understatement! Anna says we became the Von Trapp Family Flee-ers.
I totally agree.