This blog is about my travels. At home in New Zealand, in other parts of Oceania, North, Central and South America and in Europe.
From Casablanca I traveled up to Vienna. It was like stepping into another world again. Instead of the heat of Marrakesh, the air was crisp and autumnal. Instead of the delicious smells of spices in the markets in Casablanca, was the sweet smell of cinnamon and apple tea for the guests of the hostel. I must say, I do also like apple tea!
My first visit was to the Summer palace of the Habsburg dynasty, which was a short walk from my hostel. This giant place is also known as Schönbrunn palace and has 1,441 rooms! Like many other European palaces, it is completely over the top. Unfortunately taking photographs of the interior was verboten but I can tell you that one of the rooms was where Mozart gave his first performance. The palace was also the birthplace of Marie Antoinette. Everything is covered in gold and just seems so excessive. Meanwhile, most of the population lived in poverty!!!
Next I went to the beautiful St Stephens Cathedral. This amazing Catholic Cathedral was completed in 1160. It really is beautiful, and being inside this building is like stepping into the heart of medieval Vienna.
By the time I popped out of the Cathedral it was dark. The days sure are short in Europe in Autumn! I went for a wander around the city before heading back to my hostel.
The next day I headed off for the winter palace. This has a whopping 2,600 rooms! Now, aside from the museum it is mostly used for government buildings and other assorted purposes.
The tour of the winter palace was interesting, sadly, this is another place that photography was not permitted. So I was only allowed to take photographs of the seemingly endless gilded cutlery and porcelain crockery. One of the most interesting features of the tour was an exhibition on the story of the life of 'Sisi' the Empress Elizabeth of Austria. Engaged at only 15 years old, she quickly became unhappy in her arranged marriage, disliked her formal duties and wandered listlessly around her vast palaces, usually at the opposite end to her husband. I felt sad for her husband too, as he seemed to have been besotted with her. She was an interesting character, very athletic and intelligent, and I wondered what her life would have been like if she hadn't of been royal. If she had of been able to marry for love, to be able to make full use all her drive and energy and her many talents, I am sure she would have been a much happier person. Her father is known to have said that she and he would have been in the circus if they hadn't been born 'into nobility'. Looking at the vast array of gold soup tureens, porcelain dinnerware and fancy furniture of the palace, it seems such a sad spectacle, a life in an unhappy marriage filled with material possessions instead of personal fulfillment and happiness. Another reminder that material things can't buy happiness, if, however, some of this wealth had been used to help the less fortunate it could have done a lot of good. She suffered from eating disorders and other mysterious mental health conditions throughout her life, and died in 1898 when she was assassinated by an anarchist.
Next I headed off to the Art History museum, the Kunsthistorichesmuseum. It really was the perfect day for visiting an art gallery, grey and drizzly! The building itself was really something. There are some fantastic works of art on display. My personal favourite was Hans Holbein's portrait of Jane Seymour. I had recently read 'Bring up the Bodies', Hillary Mantel's sequel to 'Wolf Hall' and she actually mentions Hans Holbein in the book, he painted several members of the Tudor court, and they really are terrific portraits, full of incredible detail with little symbolic touches.
I am a traveller from New Zealand. My blog is to inform friends and family about my adventures. I hope you enjoy it!