I’ve been keeping my journal up-to-date, but unfortunately my blog has taken a hit and is several days (okay, almost a week) behind. But I’m back on track and ready to share beautiful photos of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria.
As I’m traveling Europe, I’m realizing more and more how important history is to each city and country, this is evident in the people and culture of each place I have visited (an old man stopped me and gave me an Austrian history lecture… more about that later). Learning about European history is so much more interesting than Canadian or American history (it really, really is) and when I get to be a part of where history was made, it’s even more exciting.
My first stop in Vienna was to Schönbrunn Palace. Vienna, being a larger city, has it’s main “must-sees” a little bit scattered throughout the city (like Paris). It was a 20 minute metro ride from the city center to Schönbrunn station.
Schönbrunn Palace is the former summer residence of the imperial family in possession of the Hasburgs since 1569. The well-known face of the Palace is Maria Theresia who was responsible for redesigning her summer home in 1743.
As you enter through the front gate you are welcomed to a beautiful view of the palace, but the better view comes as you continue through the palace and towards the gardens. I was going to start my day with inside the Palace and see the rooms then continue to the gardens, but once I got a glimpse of the outside I couldn’t help myself but to explore around the Palace first. Just crossing the gardens is a workout, as it’s a long walk, but the real workout comes after you pass the halfway mark at the Neptune Fountain. Climbing the hill to the Gloriette which shines at the top of the hill is a little bit of a challenge but you are rewarded with the most incredible view of the Palace and the city of Vienna behind it. That view alone makes it more spectacular than Versailles.
Inside the Palace I chose to do an audio tour, it was my first time using the headset and I really enjoyed it as I learned a lot. The headset played music that was appropriate in each room you entered too which was a nice touch. When I entered the Hall of Mirrors, one of Mozart’s songs played on the headset as it was in that room that young Mozart, age 6, played for Maria Theresa. Of the 1441 rooms, 40 are available for view (but no pictures allowed).
One of the pastry chefs creates an Apple Strudel from scatch. He explains helpful tips. The kitchen has a 24-hour Apple Strudel hotline incase you ever need help creating the pastry!
In the bottom left photo below, you can see that he’s holding a sign under the pastry dough – that’s because the pastry should be “so thin you can read the paper through it”. The pastry is such an important component of the apple strudel so he spent a lot of time working with the dough. The filling was prepared ahead of time, so he just explain how he cut the apples and what other spices he put in the filling. A key ingredient that he didn’t use to keep the Apple Strudel alcohol-free were rum raisins (raisins soaked in rum). He says it gives the pastry an extra layer of flavour and were used in the traditional recipe.
At the end he gives you a sample of the pastry and IT WAS DELICIOUS. I would travel back to Vienna for the warm, buttery, apple-goodness… after all it was a royal Viennese delicacy and a favourite among the palace residents so I’m not crazy for saying that, right? Just several more photos of the beautiful summer palace…