Visiting the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

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.

outfit featuring sheinside and river island
Outfit of the day in summer vienna featuring river island, gap and sheinside
What I wore
Top: River Island
Bag: Gap
Green rose tunnel in Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

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.

Rose garden and Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
2 faced statue in the garden around Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

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!)

ootd in Schoönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
garden and palace exterior - Schoönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
roses and flowers in the Schoönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

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.

View from the gloriette in Schoönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
Panoramic view of the Schoönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

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.

Gloriette Schoönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
Gloriette top view of Schoönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
Panoramic view from the gloriette in Schoönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

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.

Fountain and flowers of the Schoönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

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!

Outfit Diary: Viennese Royalty

13 July 2015 Schönbrunn Palace, Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria

Summer roses and Hofbraug in vienna

After enjoying superb sunny-near-melting-weather in Kraków, I took a long train ride early in the morning to Vienna. 
Sadly, shortly after my arrival and checking into my hostel, the weather in Vienna took a turn.

For the first hour or so, it was a nice cool temperature with the sun dipping in and out of the clouds. I was so pleased with the weather because the forecast didn't seem good when I last checked it.

Streets and architecture near the hofburg in Vienna, Austria
Hoburg in Vienna, Austria Architecture image

Whilst it was still slightly bright and windy, I managed to walk through a random yard sale (it was literally just people sitting around a large green space with wooden crates or stands of clothes a hippie style!), the Opera House and the Burggaten Park

Yard sale in the garden near the Opera House in Vienna, Austria
Garden and train station like architecture in Burggated Vienna, Austria

I loved the look and vibe of Viennese parks, also because they reminded me so much of parisian parks. Huge, green, colourful pretty flowers abundant, and all of these against great architecture. Any sight that is parisian-like always takes me back to my summer internship in Paris, oh good times.

Walking through the Burggaten Park was the first time I've seen people sun tanning IN A PARK. I found that pretty amusing because the sun wasn't out and they were lying under the trees! Gonna get some cool leave tan marks that way?
After about 10 minutes of being in the park, it started to pour. Which made me pity those who were sun-tanning in their bikinis.

Arc in Vienna, Austria and its architecture in the rain
Architecture of the exterior of opera house in Vienna, Austria
Image of the Parliament house in Vienna, Austria Exterior in the rain

I hid at one of the mini shop door openings for a couple of minutes until the rain died down and proceeded to hide in a bus stop when the rain got heavier again.

The annoying thing was it was intermittent heavy showers. I don't mind walking around in a drizzle - most of the pictures taken here were during the drizzly parts of the day - but when the showers get too heavy, I have to protect my dear camera. 

The statues and structures in front of the parliament house in Vienna, Austria in the rain

Town hall in Vienna, Austria
Main fair in the town hall in Vienna, Austria

After an hour of 5-10 min intervals of showers, the rain subsided into a drizzle, allowing me to continue making my way around the city, towards the Town Hall.

There was some sort of a party festival thing going on, but there weren't many people around because of the rain. Such a sad thing for the band that was playing at that time because the crowd was probably about 20 people large, and everyone else were just tourists passing by. 

The town hall, market and the theatre opposite it
The architecture and greenery of the town hall in Vienna, Austria
The town hall from heldenplatz and the fountain in Vienna, Austria

I thought my 2nd day in Vienna would be blessed with great weather, unfortunately, that was not the case.

Still, I manage to spend some time around the main areas of the city, I walked past the Hofburg and into another garden called Heldenplatz.

Architecture near the hofburg and main shopping area of Vienna, Austria
Horburg front facade in Vienna, Austria
The beautiful heldenplatz park in Vienna, Austria and it's flowers, greenery and architecture
Fountain and lush greenery in heldenplatz Vienna, Austria

I missed the time I had in Paris and chilling out in the parks during summer, so when I saw how similar the Viennese parks were, I totally wanted to sit around with a glass of juice and live the chill out life, sadly, I couldn't due to the rain. Instead I opted to, just take my glass of juice in a sheltered area like café nearby or in the park. 

Lavanders in the heldenplatz park in Vienna, Austria

I must say though, Vienna in the rain has its own special charm. A romantic vibe, you know the kind where you see people dressed in beautiful dresses walking through puddles down a dimly lit alley? Is it just me? It really reminds me of a scene or a set/backdrop in the musical Nine - the part where Nicole Kidman sang her solo.
Ok, I think its just me, anyway, I wished I experienced better weather conditions in Vienna so I could hang out more in the parks, but Vienna was still beautiful in the rain.

Summer Rain in Vienna, Austria

9 July 2015 Vienna, Austria

Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever 
It is so hard to choose my favourite song from the Sound of Music Musical. I remember the first time watching it at twelve (or thirteen), and was obsessed with all the songs on it. Not to mention, Do-re-mi was sung to me multiple times when I was a baby. Also, Favourite Things is such an addictive song, (Told you I couldn't choose!) Naturally, I would put Salzburg on my list of cities in Europe to visit. Going to Salzburg in the winter means dealing with constant snow, and freezing temperatures. Regardless, it was a memorable 1.5 days spent in that lovely city.

On our first day in Salzburg, after settling in to our hostel, Jerald and I went to a few of the places that were recommended to us by the people in the hostel (apparently there was a route we could walk which had a few of the attractions related to the musical).
We hit up Mirabelplatz, headed past the famous bridge and towards the old town. The river was gorgeous especially with the fog above it. The snow meant that it was hard to take pictures, and everything was slightly foggy, but it made the river and the landscape appear so mystical!
That night, we went to the common room in the hostel and watched the sound of music musical. I was so happy they were playing it (they screening it every night!) I almost forgot how much I loved Julie Andrews before this trip!

On the second day, we decided to take the Sound of Music bus tour. It was actually just a usual hop on hop off tour, but we had the choice of tuning into a Sound of Music Channel.
The great thing about the hop-on-hop-off tour was that we could go to places further, that would have probably taken us forever to walk there in the snow.
We got to visit the compound where they filmed at for the garden of the VonTrapp Family house and the pond they fell in and all got drench.

As it was snowing pretty heavily, there weren't many people that got off the bus at each stop, that mean that we had the area to ourselves to explore.

Of all the places we visited my favourite was Petersfriedhof, the cemetery that inspired the cemetery scene in the Sound of Music. In my opinion, the cemetery looked a lot better in the snow that in would in the summer (base on pictures i've seen). Not to mention, there was a bakery nearby that had the most amazing home made bread for just 1 euro! It was such a treat.

I don't want to sound like a whiner, but my least favourite attraction was the Pavilion. It looked exactly like that in the film, but a MINI version. As I was walking and searching for the pavilion, I had this theory that i'd be able to dance in it like what they did in the musical when they sang "16 going on 17" - and that was my instagram photo idea - but alas, it was a small pavilion that was closed. You can imagine my disappointment after singing the song multiple times as I was walking there.
Jerald and I came to the conclusion that they couldn't have filmed it in this Pavilion, and it was a set.

If I were to be incredibly honest, at times, I did get annoyed by the weather. The snow was so heavy I felt a little under the weather (literally!) and my fingers and toes were freezing from the cold despite my boots and gloves. Especeially when we had to wait for the bus because they weren't always on time (sometimes early other times late). It was so unlike the musical! That is not to say I didnt enjoy myself, because I did! I loved seeing how the places is like covered in snow. I was imagining what it would be like if they filmed the musical in the snow. It would have been so enchanting.

The Hills~ Are Aliveeee, with the Sound of Musicccc~

Even though Salzburg was popularised by the Sound of Music Musical, I must say the city itself is incredibly beautiful in the winter. White horses trotting by (and we all know how much i LOVE that),  beautiful landscapes with the mountains, warm lights along the narrow streets of the old town, and mouth-watering food markets in the morning.
I would love to visit a city like Salzburg in the summer - it would be exactly like the musical. Still, an experience in the snow like this is not one that I would have ever experienced if I did not go on this trip, for that I have absolutely no regrets :)
Plus, since there weren't many people at the various points of attractions, I could belt out the sound of music songs and imagine I was in the winter version of the musical!

Have you watched The Sound of Music? Which winter-version-scene did you manage to recognise?

Experiencing Sound of Music in the Snow - Salzburg, Austria

27 February 2015 Salzburg, Austria

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