Vienna is a lovely city and the capital of Austria. The city is known for its imperial sites which all evoke wealth, power and royalty. More than the grandeur of its buildings and amazing architecture, I was truly amazed by one of the monarchs the city is centered on – Sisi. She was the longest serving Empress of Austria and is also known with other titles such as Elisabeth of Bavaria and Queen of Hungary.
One good way of getting a glimpse into her life and her story is, of course, through visiting the various museums in the city. I took hold of a Sisi Ticket which gave me access to The Vienna Hofburg, Schönbrunn Palace and the Imperial Furniture Collection for Euro 29.90. All museums have detailed audio guides in various languages. If you have a few days in Vienna, this would be a good option as it takes hours to go around one attraction.
Pretty is an understatement when describing the Empress Sisi. Her portraits were all very inspiring to view and stories about her were as colourful as the portraits that she was presented into. The life of the empress has also been portrayed in many other art forms such as opera, ballet, film and literature.
Empress Elisabeth was married to Emperor Franz Joseph I and as I understand it (please correct me if I am wrong), it was not a marriage of love but rather of practicality. It is said that the Emperor loved her so dearly, but this was not fairly reciprocated by the Empress. To me it seems that her life was of veering away from the norms that being a Hapsburg entails. She was not at ease with the life of a monarch and tried to escape it with travels, literature and obsession on her beauty. Whether it was good or not, I admire her passion and her efforts into sticking with what she aspires to be. In her bedroom at Schönbrunn Palace, there were even equipment for exercise, so she could keep fit and keep her waist as small as it can be.
Her life was also tragic, as most people during those days, I believe. Her experiences in life, especially the deaths of her children, affected her mental and emotional well-being. It is very dreamy to have a glimpse of how the powerful and the rich lived before but more importantly, it is good to know that no matter how much power or wealth one has, they are still affected by the same insecurities as the rest of the common people.
On another note, one of my key takeaways from visiting the museums is the ‘breakfast cabinet’ at the Schönbrunn Palace. When I heard this from the audio guide, I thought it was a cabinet or a cupboard where breakfast food is kept. But much to my amazement and awe, it was a small room, which seems hidden behind a cabinet-looking door, complete with dining table and chair for breakfast. It must have been a delight to have a warm breakfast in this room while watching the snow fall in a cold winter morning. I would so love to have a breakfast cabinet!
For more about Vienna and Europe, stay tuned for my succeeding blog posts and check out my Europe itinerary.
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