What pops into your mind when you visit a castle, a palace, anything grand, or even just seeing expensive/valuable artefacts from the past?
Whenever I visit any attraction related to kings, queens, or anyone else in a royal family, I never fail to imagine what life was like for them. I imagine princesses playing on the grounds of the royal castle, kings and knights fighting battles, etc.
I've always wondered what it was like to be THAT rich in those times, especially when most people are just middle-class farmers or worst, living below the poverty line.
What I wore
Top: River Island
I was always able to conjure up a grand story in my head, and have images of how people were dressed like, or how they rode in carriages and horses from one part of the palace to another. This could be attributed to the fact that I grew up watching TV shows revolving around Royal Families.
I remember being 5 or 6 and watching some chinese dramas in the afternoon of princesses and princes who could sword fight, jump/fly around doing tricks, and they would go on battles and have loads of family drama. Either that, or it could be my loyal following of Once Upon a Time.
Anyway, I always wanted to be part of that time. The time in the past where being a Princess was a thing, where people wanted to marry into the Royal family, or just have of some relation to the family in power. I know many young girls wanted to be princesses, (some teenagers or even adults today wish to be Disney princesses) but I don't think I was ever one of them. Ok, I could have been when I was really young, but as I grew up and understood what being a princess meant, the appeal wore off.
I still wish I could live in a palace, but for quite some time, I've wanted to live in a palace as a palace maid (no, don't you laugh at me!)
Princesses have no power over their own lives. Every story is the same. They just seem so... meek and sad.
Visiting the Schonbrünn Palace in Vienna, I heard about how the princesses lived their lives back in the day, how they weren't allowed to love, or rather, they had no choice in who they got married to. They were married off so as to build connections between royal families. Only ONE of the daughters of the Viennese Royal family was allowed to marry the man she loved.
It's just depressing to hear. I'm pretty sure a lot of rich families in today's day and age still subscribe to this high level of control. Sad, isn't it?
This is why i'd rather be a palace maid (and why I'm content in my own level of average-at-best-mediocre-family-wealth). Palace maids, though poor, seem like they have sufficient to eat and sleep, yet have the chance to see into the lives of the rich and famous, and the ability to accompany princess on their palace garden walks.
Visiting the Schönbrunn Palace is something most tourists do when they visit Vienna. To be honest, the cost of the tour in the castle (21 Euros) was a little too expensive for what I got to see. The palace is nice, and it helps that there is an audio guide included in the entrance price, but visitors aren't allowed to take pictures inside. The other sad thing for me was that it was raining heavily when I was there. This meant that the view from the Gloriette was less than great due to the haze. Also, I couldn't spend as much time in the different royal gardens as I would have loved to.
It would have been a lot more enjoyable, and the views would be stunning if not for the rain.
Although I enjoyed walking around, looking at the gorgeous flowers, and listening to the history of the viennese royal family as I explored the palace, I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed.
Comparing the Schönbrunn Palace to the Château de Versailles in Paris, the palace of versailles was larger, grander, and just... overall more impressive.
It could be because I've already visited many other castles (including Neuschwanstein in germany) in Europe, that the one in Vienna didn't impress me as much.
It is a lovely castle, and I'm pretty sure many people would enjoy the visit. But it just wasn't the BEST in my opinion.
Even though the weather was rather unpleasant, I honestly loved walking (occasionally running for shelter!) around the gardens surrounding the castle ground.
If you've been to palaces around Europe (especially château de versailles!), and you're not a massive fan of paying for attractions, I'd suggest giving the castle a skip and just exploring the nearby gardens or walking up to the gloriette for a great view.
Also, don't forget to give the parks in the main city centre a visit. They, too, have such lovely cultivated and arranged flowers, to the point they rival the one right outside the Schönbrunn Palace!