Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Schornbrunn Palace and Prater Amusement Park

It's been a wonderful day around Vienna! Our two main stops have been the Naschmarkt outdoor market & the Schloss Schornbrunn. The market was typical, but fun. It was the first time in Vienna that we've seen more than a handful of non-westerners. Most of the vendors seemed Lebanese.

Best part of the market: eating fresh falafel sandwiches from Dr. Falafel. He also sold a delicious pomegranate wine that we sampled.

The rest of the day centered around the Palace Schornbrunn. First, it was HUGE! The inside rooms were ornately decorated, & we heard more details than anticipated. Here's some that I recall...
  • Franz Josef - symbol of supreme awesomeness. He woke at 4am & worked until he literally had no more energy. He welcomed all sorts of visitors to hear their opinions, complaints, praises, etc. & supposedly NEVER forgot a face. He was utterly devoted to his wife. Lived "modestly" despite the richly decorated palace, well-tended gardens (labyrinth included), serving staff, & 6-course meals each dinner
  • "Sisi" - Wife of Franz Josef. Apparently not as devoted to him as he was to her. I quote, "I do not believe in the antiquated institution of marriage, & I have come to look upon my past 30 years of marriage with regret." OUCH! Sucks for Franz.
  • Sisi also... traveled extensively, hated her mother-in-law, was anorexic, and spent most days working on her beauty
  • Maria Teresse - Revered as a strong, wise, and diplomatic queen. She decorated much of the palace and kept much of the Austrian landholdings in tact when other royal families tried to steal them during a time of political turmoil.
  • Difficult things for a queen... could not marry for love, but for political reasons, married at 15 or 16, was essentially a baby-making machine - producing as many heirs to the throne as possible (one queen had 16 kids! - maybe Maria Teresse)
Still, I concluded that "Sisi" was essentially a stuck-up brat that didn't appreciate most of the benefits that came with royalty.

On to the Prater! It's an amusement park that's open every day & night within the city. We checked out a few rides, but kept it to a minimum b/c of the high cost. There wasn't an entrance fee, but rather a pay-per-ride policy.

Prater highlights:
  1. Kristin and Lily experienced a quasi-slingshot/bungee jump
  2. Glorious view from the "swings" ride... perhaps the tallest structure in Vienna
  3. Trampolines = Kristin & I are pro
  4. Extasy ride. Spins, sideways, upside down, & changes direction. Strobes, fog, & extremely loud music contributed to Lily puking later that evening. However, it was probably exacerbated by mild food poisoning
Other fun memories:
  • Frisbee toss in the park
  • "bubble tea"
  • Learning to make apple strudel
  • Playing in the various labyrinths - the Frankes climbed better than the Cater-Huangs!
Dr. Falafel's pomegranate wine
making apple strudel
in the labyrinth
more labyrinth
the swing ride with a view
ninja jump
backflip pro

No comments: