"" Writer's Wanderings: Cruising The Danube - Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Cruising The Danube - Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace

Somewhere during my history studies I remember hearing about the Habsburgs. Unfortunately I had very little interest in history during high school and not much more during my college history requirements. In our visit to Schonbrunn Palace I was to learn a little more--at least about their summer home.

Schonbrunn began as a hunting lodge called Katterburg when the Habsburgs purchased it, it began a transition from a mansion to a palace. During the mid 1700s the palace was built and refurbished during the reign of Maria Theresa who received the estate as a wedding gift. Franz Joseph, Austria's longest reigning monarch was born there and lived there most of his life, dying in the palace at the age of 86 in 1916.

While the palace is a beautiful place inside and out, the gardens are quite spectacular as well extending almost a mile in one direction and over a half mile in the other. As we were visiting in the winter, there was nothing blooming but the gardens were still amazing to see.

We purchased a Grand Tour ticket that gave us an extended look into 40 rooms rather than the 22 offered in the Imperial Tour. The first part of the tour takes you through the state rooms and private apartments of Franz Joseph and his wife, Empress Elizabeth or Sisi as she is affectionately called. Sisi was quite beautiful and had extremely long hair. She was also a health nut and it was said that was why the gardens were so large because she walked them each day for her exercise.

No pictures were allowed inside the palace so you will have to take my word that it was quite nice and obviously made a lovely summer home. Meanwhile, as we waited for our turn to tour the palace, we walked around the courtyard where the Christmas Market was set up. This market was a lot bigger than the one in Stephensplatz but still had much the same type of merchandise and of course lots of sausage and Christmas punch and soup in a bowl which looked very tempting.

The sun was shining and we took some time later to sit at the outdoor cafe and have a coffee. Being warmed by the sun for a little while made the chill of the previous day wear off for a bit.

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