24.05.2012 25 °C
When my ride arrived this morning, I was delighted to find my driver was another of those nice, handsome Czech men. Since I was the only one on the trip, he said I could choose whichever seat I liked so I chose the front seat to get a better view.
We chatted all the way to Vienna, other than when I got a bit quiet and sleepy due to having to close my eyes in the bright, warm sunlight since I'd lost my sunglasses in yesterday's incident.
We only stopped once so I could get a coffee, and within 3 hours he'd delivered me to the door of my new hostel in Vienna. I checked in, threw my bag in the luggage room, and headed straight for Schonbrunn Palace.
What a visual feast, that place is. It's not cheap hanging out there, but I don't suppose it ever was. Even the entrance to the palace is breathtaking. Once inside, it's almost too much to take in. I chose the classic pass option which included a tour of 40 rooms (there are 1400). The queues were longer than Disneyland, but they moved quickly, and before long I was inside, audio guide to one ear, jaw dragging on the ground.
I made my way through Maria Antionette's room, Napoleon's room, the room where Mozart played his first tune as a small boy, and saw more art and opulence than I could ever imagine. The audiguide was good, and told the story of each room and the palace very well. After being completely bedazzled by the interior, I headed out to the summer palace gardens. The views are amazing and you could spend days just wondering around the paths, each one with it's own lovely outlook.
Despite the blazing sun, I made the long walk past Neptune's statue and up the hill to the Gloriette. What does one do with a gloriette? Other than turn it into an expensive cafe a few hundred years later? Other treasures I discovered were the replica roman ruins and a fountain so elaborate that I had to sit down for a while.
There was so much to see, around every corner a new statue or a pretty fountain. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the place. And then I saw a SQUIRREL! It was so cute, eating it's little nut.
Since it was such a hot day, I decided not to enter the maze, and as it was getting late in the afternoon it wasn't worth paying the extra 15 euro to visit the zoo in the palace grounds for only a short time. Still, in the 4 hours I was there, I think I saw more grandeur and beauty than I've ever seen in one place. It was definitely worth stopping in Vienna just to see Schonbrunn Palace alone. I might even say it was worth the 14.5 hour flight just to see it. And I really liked the squirrel.