Friday, July 6, 2012

VIENNA: Part 1: A Palace, Some Sculptures, and the Artful Dodger

The second major stop on the Jones-Cannon tour of Central Europe was Vienna, variously known as "City of Music," "City of Art," and "City of Dreams" (the latter referring to native-son Freud). Vienna was the capital of the Austrian Empire after 1804, and then of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I, and then of the First Austrian Republic.  In other words, it hasn't really been a "second class" city for a long, long time.

We were fortunate enough to have a hotel just about one block from the famous Schonbrunn Palace (meaning "beautiful spring"), a cozy 1,441 room cottage on the outskirts of the city built and inhabited by a series of Habsburgs.  Luxurious doesn't even begin to describe it:

View from the front.  It is a little hard to capture its size without a panoramic shot.
Yet again, no photography of any kind was allowed inside, so I had to resort to internet pilfering.    I think you can get an idea of the over-the-top gorgeousness from these pictures.  Mozart gave his first concert in this palace at the ripe old age of six,

 JFK and Nikita Khrushchev met in this Grand Ballroom in 1961 to chat about whether or not to blow each other's countries up:

Even the Ladies' Room was not your average white-on-white tiled affair. Rather, the doors and walls were painted to resemble the beautiful gardens surrounding the palace.
 But wait.  It was in this very bathroom that an International Incident occurred on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

One Christine Kenison Jones participated in a surveillance activity whilst waiting in line "to use the facilities."  Aha! A blue umbrella was lying casually on the counter next to a sink!  As the line was long, Ms. Jones had ample opportunity to watch that umbrella.  It did not move/was not moved during her time in line, nor during her occupation of one of the stalls.  It was, in fact, still there during her handwashing exercise and upon her departure from the room.

When she exited the building, a rainstorm was brewing, for which she was "woefully unprepared."  For several minutes she disappeared and her companions (yes, that was us) did not know of her whereabouts. Suddenly, she reappeared with a blue umbrella. She had returned to the Ladies' Room, "retrieved" (such a euphemism) the "abandoned" umbrella, and  claimed it as her own.
 The rest of the day was rather nerve-wracking as we were on constant alert for an angry, machine gun-bearing, umbrella-less, female militant.

Somehow, we were able to avoid her.  Let's just say I now have a different view of Chris.

Well. Time to move on.

Here we are dreaming of what it would be like to live here: 
 Watch out for this woman.  She has a way of getting what she wants:

 A view of the back of the palace:
Stan, where is YOUR umbrella? Did your reconnaissance mission to the Men's Room fail?

The extensive gardens were meticulously and luciously landscaped, and would be a wonderful place for meditation:

So peaceful . . .

A decapitation and a snake crawling up your walking stick?  Well, maybe not so peaceful after all:
There was some nice wildlife on the grounds, including this tufted-ear squirrel:

. . . and a nice family of mallards that included both papa and mama vigilantly watching over at least nine babies:

Behind the castle was this stunning fountain:
. . . topped by Neptune, who is being implored by the sea goddess Thetis to allow her son Achilles a safe voyage to Troy.

Two Greek gods to balance out the Roman ones:

Schonbrunn Palace was a beautiful place.  But then, somehow everything seemed a bit haute couture  all over Vienna.
A vinegar shop

An unusual drinking fountain, English on one side, German on the other.

Austrian Marcus Siegfried, the first man to power a vehicle with a gasoline engine. Because of his Jewish background, the Nazis pretty much erased his name from history and replaced it with Daimler and Benz, but the real credit for inventing the automobile belongs to him.  Too bad about his new green embellishments.

The parking lot in front of St. Stephen's.

Those two Greek gods again.

Equestrian statue in front of the Kunsthistoriches Museum

I loved this statue honoring Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who spent the last ten years of his life in Vienna.  Note the treble clef cut into the grass in front of the statue:

Close-up shot of the base of the statue:

And I also liked this statue honoring Johann Wolfgang (yep, like Mozart) Goethe, German poet, author, and politician.  I can't figure out what his connection to Vienna was.  Maybe they just like to claim him because he spoke German?

"Wither thou goethe, I will go . . . "

Classy Italian gelato stop near the art museum. (Yes, we went there.)
My sister made some wisecracks about this sign, but I would  never make fun of  what Mark Twain called "The Awful German Language."
Next up: Vienna Part 2: From Gothic to Baroque


  1. Since going vegan I've had a lot of gute fahrt and some badde fahrt. The Zanoni and Zanoni sorbet I had in Vienna was the best I had on the entire trip, although unlike most of the rest of the group I got burned out on sorbet by the middle of the trip.

  2. I prefer to think of myself as a borrower, not a pilferer. And I maintain that umbrella was left by palace elves and had my name on it (assuming my name is Eddie Bauer).

  3. Now who's the evil one?

    Fun to see your trip evolving into the Land of My Honeymoon, but honestly, I don't remember much of that trip. We did see the beautiful library, and St. Stephen's. Seeing your pictures makes me want to return. After Vienna, we hit Schoenbrun (sp?) on the way out of town to the rest of Austria--the Sound of Music Austria.