Vienna, Our Final Two Days

Yes, Sadly, Goodbye Vienna

 

The two main museums we saw were the Belvedere Palace (Upper) on May 18 and the Kunsthistoriches Museum of Art on May 19. I went to the Belvedere on my own on May 18. Anita had suffered a pretty bad sprain on the 17th that affected her mobility. She had recovered well enough by May 19 for us to visit the Kunsthistoriches Art Museum in Maria-Theresien Platz, the Secession Museum, have lunch in the Haschmarkt, shop and take in the romantic ballet, La Sylphide, at the Staatsoper (the famous Vienna State Opera House). We had a fabulous last day and night in Vienna!

First let me introduce a map I put together showing everywhere we visited or used in Vienna during our 8 days there:  May 3, 4 and 15-20.

Where we went in Vienna in 2015 - Courtesy of Google Maps
Where we went in Vienna in 2015 – Courtesy of Google Maps

May 18 – Belvedere Palace and other Activity

The Belvedere Palace was built by Prince Eugene of Savoy, who got very rich because the Habsburgs appreciated the wonderful job he did in repeatedly successfully fighting the Ottomans, French, Italians, Spanish, Saxons and Russians spanning six different decades. Eugene, unrivaled before or since in Austria, was rejected by the French for not looking like a general (too short and ugly). A genius in both military and diplomatic strategy, Prinz Eugen served three Austrian Emperors, Leopold I, Josef I and Charles VI, between 1683 and the 1730’s. Eugene loved architecture with a passion and was deeply involved in the design of the Schloss Belvedere. He died in 1736, frail, aged 72. Continue reading “Vienna, Our Final Two Days”

Vienna, May 17 – Sisi and So Much More

Sisi:

***

O’er thee, like thine own sea birds

I’ll circle without rest

For me earth holds no corner

To build a lasting nest.

Sisi

***

The Sisi Museum is a decade or so old, but still a huge attraction in Vienna. Publicity and souvenir shops are everywhere. No photos were permitted in the Sisi Museum, so the above two offerings are all I returned home with. But the good news: read further on in this post for beautiful photos the other museums we visited on the 17th let us take : treasures, weapons, art… But Sisi was fascinating, so I start with her…

As royal celebrity goes, long before our modern love affair with Lady Di, there was the very different, complicated Empress Elizabeth of Austria, known affectionately (to some) as Sisi. Sisi was a beautiful, brunette, Bavarian, royal teenager with long, long, long hair. The teenage Elizabeth’s china doll radiance swept  Emperor Franz Josef I off his feet, causing Franz to defy his mother, Sophie, for perhaps the only time. Sophie had selected Elizabeth’s sister. Both were Sophie’s nieces.

Franz stood firm for Sisi. Continue reading “Vienna, May 17 – Sisi and So Much More”