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Published: September 6th 2019
Just to say we did have one eye on the goings on in Westminster - each time we checked it seemed something momentous had happened. Maybe we should go away more often !
We made a plan for the day, before going out - and broadly stuck to it ! First stop was back to St. Peter’s church - a website had suggested they had a organ/soprano concert later - they did, so back there for 7-30! Next we walked to the Hofburg Palace. We didn’t know much (anything) about the Austrian / Central European empire / Hapsburg family. So it was a real education - my goodness they were wealthy ! The Hofburg was their main palace and now it’s the place where they display a lot of their stuff - they ruled for 650 years and in that time they accumulated a LOT of stuff, especially dinner services - and of course they only used silver dinner ware until the latter years. Goodness, I have never seen so many silver plates/ candelabra/ cut glass/ silver cutlery! In the latter years of their dynasty they went over to porcelain - and I was pleased to see some representation from
Stoke - Minton seemed to be a favourite - and without any bias, there was one crockery set that was the best (photo below) it was a Minton ware that was designed for their hunting lodge 😳. There is also a very special method of folding a napkin for the Emperor - so his bread rolls can poke out (!) it’s now used on State occasions, and supposedly only a very few people know how to do it - oh but of course it’s now on YouTube!
A major bit of the exhibition was about the last Emperor ( Franz Josef) and his wife Elisabeth (Sissi). She was 15 when married to him - plucked out of being a lesser Princess in Bavaria to be Empress of Austria and loads of other places. Two children by 18 ( one died) and then two more - totally overwhelmed by the Royal court ( and his mother), bouts of depression, eating disorder ( remind you of anyone?) and so decided to go on travels around Europe ( including a stop in Cheshire) returning occasionally to Vienna. She was murdered in Geneva in 1898 aged 61 - some guy has planned to
kill a French Prince visiting Geneva, but he‘d cancelled his visit, so he killed Sissi instead !😱
The Palace was quite exhausting and a bit of a sensory overload ! So lunch followed by a look-see of the opera house and then ‘the best Apple Strudel’ in Vienna ( Lonely Planet) Cafe Diglas - don't think I’d give it that high accolade but it definitely had the best toilets (or toilet doors) I have ever seen. Imagine going into the ladies (or gents) and the doors to the cubicles are glass and see-through😱😱😱😱. I picked one cubicle that wasn’t directly facing the entrance (needs must) and on locking it, the glass door changed to opaque with butterflies flying around - amazing 😂😂😂 - gents we’re the same - no butterflies - but a No Entry sign instead - crazy!
Back to the flat for a rest and then to St. Peter’s for a lovely hour of an organ recital and soprano singer - stunning acoustics and surroundings.
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