This december I finally managed to fulfill one of my childhood dreams, actually a dream shared by many girls (at least those of my generation, not sure about what little girls want nowadays.. maybe their model is Barbie or Peppa Pig…), that of becoming a princess.
Actually, to be precise, as a child, I wanted to be like Sailor Moon, have superpowers and an awesome talking cat (not Doraemon but Luna). But being a princess came second in my wish list. I spent several years wishing that Santa Claus would bring me Sailor Moon’s magical sceptre, and the old man really took his time since my sceptre, equipped with three lunar rings, was delivered to me only last year, for my 24th birthday… mostly as a joke. Anyway, the fact that my sceptre finally arrived has revived my hopes about getting a talking cat in the near future…
Back to the topic, this Christmas holiday I was finally able to cross out from my wish list N.2, “being a princess.” Having decided to stop in Vienna for a couple of days, a visit to the Schönbrunn castle was a must-do. The castle lies in the west outskirt of Vienna, in an area that is now called Hietzing, that you can comfortably reach by metro (Line U4).
Needless to say, as one of the royal palaces, Schönbrunn and its gardens are HUGE. Although everything is built and decorated in a very elaborated rococò style, I have to admit that it’s beautiful. There are many wonderful palaces and castles in the world, and you might have had the chance to visit many of them, e.g. during school trips, so why Schönbrunn should be any different?
Of course it’s because of Sissi! Who cares about the rest of the Austrian nobility, I want Sissi! Everybody wants Sissi! Indeed, the castle is advertised with big posters, leaflets, etc., and every one of them has paintings of the princess printed all over. They sell special “Sissi tickets” and for those who are lucky to be still young, you can dress up as Sissi and walk around the castle, playing prince and princess. The new generations should be grateful to the ingenious minds of the Schönbrunn marketing team, or whatever it is that manage the palace’s publicity (wicked!). Actually, I couldn’t get to trick the lady at the counter (at least not with my ID) to sell me a ticket to play Sissi with the rest of the kids, but visiting the castle was good enough (though I still believe that I would have enjoyed my visit a lot more looking fabulous in an princess’s dress!).
As I wrote in my previous post for Budapest, the weather was the main problem. Winter makes everything annoyingly grey! Schönbrunn has fantastic gardens, full of flowers, big trees, bushes, fountains, squirrells and ducks, etc. so taking a stroll there in winter might not be that breathtaking… No doubts, spring and summer are the best season to visit. There was definitely a reason if Schönbrunn was the SUMMER residence of Sissi! Anyway, we were in Vienna, and I was in Sissi’s palace, so complaining was out of question! Being there was a privilege and the spirit was “be positive and let’s make the best out of this trip!”
The main entrance looks imperial, with golden eagles staring down at you from high pillars. Once through the gate, a wide, white gravel road leads you to the royal residence, which tricks you because from the outside it looks rather plain, but you just need to peep through the windows and you realise how Baroque’s exaggerations are profusely lavished. As for the gardens, it was winter (as I cannot get tired of saying), so all the trees in the garden were completely naked. However, it was very cool to notice the royal gardeners’ technique in pruning the vegetation. Everything was awfully geometric, as if the boughs had been cut with the help of a ruler.
An additional, positive side of having leaf-less trees was that squirrels had no place to hide! Mwhahahahah! On the contrary, ducks had a smorgasbord (I really wanted to use this word! By the way, it means “plenty” in English, but in Sweden it is a table full of slices of bread and butter…) of dead leaves to camouflage with. So we spent the afternoon playing “Lure the Squirrel” and “Spot the Duck.” Better than “Where’s Wally?” 😛
As you can see, with a little imagination everything can look lovely, you just need to change the lenses through which you’re seeing the world. A bit like a mental and spiritual Photoshop. And…talking about Photoshop, here’s the pictures that I, Queen and Master of CS6 and Paint (more Paint that Photoshop actually), have created for my readers. I’ve decided that, instead of describing, I would show you my own, personal Schönbrunn. You’ll definitely love it! (if you don’t, than you don’t understand art :P)
How it was… …and how I “felt” it!
So, the point of this post is, go to Schönbrunn, they have Sissi! (even in winter)