We were in Vienna for approximately 2 hours before we ran into the family we'd met on the Germany excursion walking directly in front of us. We met their mom and we all got gelato together and wandered around. The mom bore a striking resemblance to Meryl Streep. Adrienne and I attempted to not stare and look shocked, but she did. They talked and looked shockingly similar!
After chatting with them and walking around with them for a while, they went back to their hotel. Adrienne and I then walked around and looked at the various buildings nearby at night. The Hofburg Palace, the Rathaus, the Burgtheater among others.
This is the Hofburg Palace, with what looks like a werewolf moon coming from behind the clouds.
We grabbed breakfast first, of course.
We walked around the gardens, then took a tour inside the palace.
I was reminded that Marie Antoinette was born there.
The palace was used as a hunting and recreation ground, which is understandable, since it is huge. Maria Theresa, the mother of Marie Antoinette, made it the center of court life during her time there.
It was the residence of the Hapsburg emperors from the 17th to the 20th centuries. and is also the home of the world's first zoo, opened in 1752. (You may read about my terrifying trip to the Schoenbrunn zoo here.)
We walked around the gardens after touring inside. It was the perfect day for it.
But not this pond.
This particular fountain is the Neptune Fountain, commissioned by Maria Theresa.
Neptune is in a shell-shaped chariot holding a trident, with a nymph to his left and Thetis to his right. The Tritons are the half man/half-fish who follow Neptune around. They hold conch trumpets to scare everyone. The sea horses pull Neptune's chariot across the sees. Apparently, Neptune was a common symbol during the 16th-18th centuries, because he represented the monarchs controlling the fate of the people they ruled over.
Here is a sea horse.
He does not look like a seahorse.
It was built in 1775.
It is probably called, "Large obelisk with strange man with water coming out of his mouth."
I have now done research and it actually is called the "Obelisk Fountain." Apparently it is a symbol of permanence and stability.
They are not actually Roman Ruins. They are just art made to look like Roman ruins.
I discovered traveling is much more expensive when you're not a student! The museum was 14 euros, versus free when I was a student. Darn.
They have a huge Egyptian, Greek and Roman section which is really interesting.
They've been studying the lingering paint on the various white statues that were originally painted in bright colors. They have then been recreating the statues in what they believe are the original colors, which you can see throughout the museum, which is really interesting.
I'm pretty sure that they didn't paint the originals, but I'm not sure, because they all looked extremely real. I got my face very close to them, but everything looked authentic. I hope they didn't paint the originals!
The German on the sign for this foot says it's the foot of a colossal statue. I don't know if it's THE colossal statue, though.
They had paintings by Caravaggio, Titian and Raphael, among others. I sprinted my way through the museum, but when the museum announced it was closing, I still hadn't seen the Raphael painting.
I accidentally figured out how to find it when I walked to the wrong exit and they made me turn around. So I meandered my way through the halls and eventually found Raphael's painting, a madonna. It was wonderful. One of my favorite things is looking at paintings closely and seeing the brush strokes of the painter, whether it's Raphael, Michelangelo, Picasso. I love seeing up close how and what they did to make the paintings come to life.
Well, maybe not how since I'd never be able to do that, but definitely that they did it and it's hand made.
I met Adrienne after a brief panic when she didn't come out of the museum with the stream of people exiting when it closed. Apparently she also lingered inside.
We wandered around a bit more that night, got dinner and gelato, then headed back to the hostel. Upon our return from Salzburg, they moved us to a room with wifi, which was a plus, but we were in the apartment with the 2 people who worked at the hostel. And they were weird. He walked around in his underwear a lot and they smoked a lot, even though it was non-smoking. It was like we were living with them and they were judging us. It was very uncomfortable.
We were going to go to a pool but it was crowded. I was glad we ended up at the lake. We used to go there when I was living in Vienna. It was a lovely day and great to see them again! The water was the perfect temperature. Adrienne was alarmed due to occasionally topless women. I failed to prepare her for that situation.
Then, the father swan, who was taller than a lot of the kids, decided to enter the swimming area with his ducklings. They surrounded a little girl swimming who was yelling. Then everyone was yelling and swimming away. They were reacting as though Jaws was coming through the lake! It was quite hilarious.
There's Anna, wandering around.
The crypts were quite interesting. All the emperors and empresses, princes and princesses and their kids seem to be buried here!
Along with a hundred other Maria Theresas, Franzs' and Josephs'. It's really interesting/creepy to be near so many dead bodies.
Franz Joseph and Sisi are to the left.
And NAPOLEON BONAPARTE married Marie Louise here in 1810. NAPOLEON! I walked into the building where Napoleon got married and didn't even know it until about 3 seconds ago. I have stood where Napoleon stood. What the heck!?
Apparently I also missed the chapel where the urns containing all the Emperors' hearts are kept. Whoops.
For a show that was approximately 12 hours after we left Vienna.
It is to weep.
We showered and slept a full 4 hours in the heat box that was our hotel room, before waking up with wet hair and heading to the airport, pouting all the way.
It was a fabulous trip that I didn't want to end!
And now, almost a year later, I have finally finished blogging about it, minus a couple photo bomb blogs that will be posted in the near future!