You’ll probably give me an eye-roll for this but having realized how Schloss Schönbrunn, is like a mini Versailles of Paris, I decided to skip doing a tour of this Habsburg’s 1441-room summer residence. As you may have read already from a previous post here, I went to the Palace of Versailles and suddenly got very sick which tainted the whole experience. I don’t know but I strongly felt it was wrong checking this out without immersing fully in the opulence of Versailles. So instead, on my second day in Vienna, I decided to just roam the massive park coz it in itself has already a lot of objects of interest.
But seriously though, it was a good decision coz exploring the fabulous garden in itself will already take half of your day especially as I intend to visit another place in the afternoon on my last full day in Vienna. Did you know that the park has a zoo in it, a maze, different fountains and a gloriette which will take atleast about 15-30min hike? But wow, the baroque garden’s beauty and the city view is spectacular from here. They say the gardens are always an extension of a palace’s interiors and I can only imagine how magnificent they are.
So I may not have gone through Schönbrunn’s chandelier-lit state apartments, but the presence of one particular woman everywhere in the palace had a profound impact on me. I’m talking about Empress Sissi – wife of Emperor Franz Joseph who frequented this summer residence during their reign. It was so profound that I immediately did a quick research about her when I got back from the trip. Last week, I also watched part 1 of the Sissi trilogy starring Romy Schneider and I just realized that Meghan Markle wasn’t the first duchess I got obsessed with. Hehe.
After getting lost in the tram, on my way back to the hostel lol, I met a friend there and together we visited another palace – Schloss Belvedere. Another summer residence, this time built for Prince Eugene of Savoy (I need to brush up on the Hapsburgs monarchy though), this UNESCO world heritage site is popular for housing the greatest collection of Austrian art. Again, another eyeroll for not checking out the museum but no regrets as I thoroughly enjoyed strolling along the well-manicured garden. It also lives up to its literal Italian translation bel (beautiful) vedere (view).
It was a pleasant amble and we stopped for a few moments in the Lower Belvedere to enjoy coffee and Viennese apfelstrudel (finally!) while some Viennese folk music were playing in the background. A place as pretty as Paris with opulent palaces and tales of princess and kings but less crowded. That was the real Vienna for me that day and not my illusion of Before Sunrise as blogged here. Lol.