I’m ready to tell you everything about our past two days in Vienna. Well, almost everything.
Vienna 2016 (2/2)
Wednesday 8 June
We got up at the crack of dawn as we wanted to be at the Schönbrunn Palace as early as possible. And we succeeded in it!
As Bénédicte and Ann had never been there before, they visited the palace interior and were very impressed by all they had seen when they had finished.
This year marks the centenary of Emperor Franz Joseph’s death and there are loads of special exhibitions. One of them “Franz Joseph” takes place at four venues, the Schönbrunn Palace being one of them. In a part of the main building that is not normally open to the public, the “Bergl-Zimmer”, the “Weißgoldzimmer” and the “Kronprinzenappartment”, which are stunning to see in their own right, there was the exhibition part “Mensch & Herrscher” (Man & Monarch) Which focuses on Franz Joseph’s personality, his ancestors and descendants, his childhood and education and important events in his life (his ascent to the throne in 1848, his marriage to Princess Elisabeth in Bavaria (Sisi) and the Compromise with Hungary being a few of them. It was forbidden to take pictures, but I bought the catalogue and took some pictures from it for you to have a look at. It’s a pity the Emperor’s cute ice skates aren’t included in it.
For the second part of the exhibition,” Repräsentation & Bescheidenheit” (Majesty & Modesty), Bénédicte and I moved to the “Wagenburg” (Imperial Carriage Museum) on the premises. The remainder of the Imperial carriages is on display here.
Some extra exhibits were added for the centenary exhibition with focus on how the image of the emperor was carefully staged in all its aspects, ranging from opulent pomp to an almost un-imperial modesty. We could see original state coaches, magnificent trappings, exquisite gala dress and court liveries. And there were things to see that aren’t normally on display regarding the Emperor’s wedding to Elisabeth, his coronation in Hungary and his funeral.
The last thing we did on the Schönbrunn estate was going for a ride in a small train, just to give Ann and Bénédicte an idea of the vastness of the place.
After that, we went home to get ready for our dinner date with my Viennese friend Michaela. And we had… YES! Wiener Schnitzel. Finally!
On our way home, we had an ice cream at one of my favourite places in Vienna.
Here are some of the views we encountered on our way to the “U-Bahn”. Aren’t those duckies cute?
Thursday 9 June
To conclude the “imperial” part of our visit, we went to the “Hofmobiliendepot” (Imperial Furniture Collection), which houses one of the largest collections of furniture in the world. Here are some pictures to give you an idea.
In the 1950s a series of romanticized films were made about the life of Empress Elisabeth (Sisi). Some of the furniture used in these films is on display at the museum. It’s always a treat to see them. No matter how many times. Just like the films.
There was the third part of the “Franz Joseph” exhibition: “Fest & Altag” (Festivities & Everyday Life). Displaying exhibits that put the Emperor’s frugal personal requirements and his bureaucratic duties in contrast with the pomp and protocol of state visits and festivities at the Viennese court. There were also things to see about his silver wedding anniversary, jubilee celebrations of his long reign and lots of portraits. Franz Joseph was the first Emperor to be immortalized in moving images and voice recordings, which we could see and hear. Amongst my favourite pieces in this part of the exhibition were the knife used at the unsuccessful attempt on the Emperor’s life in 1853, an umbrella used made for the World’s Fair of 1873, the Emperor’s underpants from 1897, his certificate of baptism, his “weigh”moments and the paper with his entry for the 1850/51 census.
Have a look at this website if you are interested in reading more about the “Franz Joseph” exhibition.