From Palace to Peephole

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October 1st 2007
Published: April 7th 2008
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Day 11 Monday October 1

From Palace to peephole.

Wake up: 6:15am
Breaky 7am
Leave for tour 7:40am

Breakfast was ordinary and cold. We left for Schonbrunn Palace with our local guide Ilse and arrived at 8:30am.
The Palace was spectacular. Every room was unique. The Hapsburgs used this Palace as their summer residence. Walking the floors of the ballroom was incredible, imagining all the people that graced the floors over the centuries. One painting in particular took my fancy.
It was of Maria Theresa on the throne surrounded by people. There were 3 frescos on the ceiling. 1 of peace, 1 of Maria with her people and one of war.
Amazingly, a missile landed right in the middle of the war fresco during the war and was stuck there. The painting needed restoring as did the floors. That was the only damage.

We saw her sitting room lined with an American rosewood (cost a million back then) we also saw a lock of Napoleon’s sons hair. His mother brought him back to Vienna and left to go to Italy. She didn’t care for the son and noon knew what to do with him.
He stayed in his “golden cage” and died of TB at 21 after a sad life.
There were so many stories we were told. I must buy a book!
Afterwards, we went on our excursion to see the Imperial crypts. Many family members were entombed there in extremely ornate tombs. Some had a skeleton wearing a crown, meaning that the one ruler or master is death. Maria’s crypt was magnificent. Joseph had died 15 years before Maria and she wore black and grieved. She had made plans to be entombed with him. The statues on top were lovely. Her and her husband looking at each other, as in resurrection. She was surrounded by her children. Especially sad was the tomb of the small stillborn infant.
Hitler had demanded that Napoleon’s son’s remains be returned to France to be with his father. BUT - his heart lies in Vienna. All their hearts were removed and kept in St Stephens and their brain’s elsewhere.

When we finished with the Crypts we made our way to the carriage rides around the city. It was very elegant indeed! The sounds of the carriages were lovely. The city was bustling and we got a great perspective on what is where.

We finished at about 1pm and had free time all afternoon. We had a hotdog that I didn’t like. I bit into the sausage and boiling hot cheese burst onto my face, burning the insides of my nostrils. I had cheese all over my sunnies and in my hair. Hurt (and smelt) like heck!

We went with Stephen and Verna to a lovely little café. I had a delicious hot chocolate and truffle cake. The rest had yum curd strudels with a bowl of custard.
We went over to St Stephens and paid € 3 each to climb the 343 steps to the top of the tower. It nearly killed me! The steps were steep, winding and narrow. I thought Stephen was joking to spur us on when he yelled out to hurry because there was a shop at the top. There was! The view from here was wonderful. Vienna is such a pretty city!
When we got down I was trembling for ages. Jelly legs. Hopefully I worked off that truffle cake! Rob went back to go in the sauna and spa and I shopped on!
I only got a couple of little souvenirs, and then walked back to the hotel by 3:30pm, for a bath and a rest.
I woke up with a start and had a few minutes to get ready for dinner!
We left to go to the country at 5:45pm. When we arrived at the restaurant, the staff were waiting outside with a big banner saying “Welcome Friends!”
They sang and ran a red carpet across the road. Someone came out and held up a stop sign for the traffic. Dana was given the honour of cutting the ribbon with the big scissors. The restaurant was astounding and unusual. There were objects and items everywhere. Totally amazing. The damens room was totally full of clutter and items. There was even a peephole and framed naked men everywhere!
The atmosphere was fun and one big party. Our welcome drink was served in test tubes.
They brought a weird salad out. It had potato crisps sprinkled on to.
I had a HUGE schnitzel and Rob had a pork knuckle. The servings were massive.
It was a lovely evening out with lots of wine and singing. We talked the keyboard player into playing some Abba for us.
Once again… we had a nightcap before bed with our new bar group.


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