As we made our way out of Karlsplatz station I was greeted by blinding sunshine, it seemed to bounce off of every surface. Taking in the amazing architecture, I reached into the bag for my camera to discover that it had somehow managed to switch itself on and the battery was therefore completely dead. After a medium sized breakdown at the thought of being camera-less I realised I had a pretty good camera on my Nexus 5 phone… especially with the HD on, thankfully that had a full battery.
So I took a few deep calming breaths and started snapping away. Hofburg Palace was our focus, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to get through everything in a day, so thought it best to focus on one area and then do more during our next visit.
I knew the palace was going to be big and grand and beautiful, but when I actually saw it in the flesh, I was still overwhelmed by it.
We had a good mooch around then bought tickets to see the Silver Collection, Sisi Exhibition and the Imperial apartments. While fascinating, I thought the Silver (and there was a fair amount of gold in there as well) Collection was grand, imposing and completely over the top. Room after room after room, of table decorations, crockery and cutlery… I mean seriously how many plates does one family need – but I guess that is why I’ll never be royalty!
We made our way upstairs to the Sisi Exhibition; which was a fascinating look into the life of Empress Elizabeth. A really rather tragic tale… Elizabeth met Emperor Franz Joseph I when she was 15, she loved him, but had no desire to be Empress. She tried to fit in, but became increasingly withdrawn and spent less and less time in the Palace. If you don’t know how the story ends, you should really go and check it out… she was a fascinating woman. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures… and they meant it!
After several hours of exploring, we made our way downstairs to the cafe for tea and cake. Then more walking, this time to a lovely bar for some drinks, soon it was time for dinner.
Vienna is renowned for its cafes, and for good reason. Many of the finest minds of the 20th century met and talked over coffee in one of these houses, so we thought we’d do the same and hope some intelligence would rub off! On one of the side streets leading back to the U-bahn was the Museum Cafe, a Vienna institution restored to former glory. It was a little touristy, but the meal we had while sat on velvet chairs was great.
Starting with a selection of Viennese sausages, we moved on to a local ham and pasta dish so good that I found a recipe book with it in so we can try it back home. I wish we could have seen more of Vienna… but we will definitely be back.