Sunday, April 07, 2013

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna

The Schonbrunn Palace, or Schloss Schonbrunn, is Vienna's most visited tourist site, with 2.6 million traipsing around its endless golden halls each year.

It was certainly felt very, very busy - too crowded to be enjoyable. The first time we went the queues were like rugger scrums and we'd have had to wait 3 hours for the timed entry, so we left.

The second time we arrived earlier and managed to get in reasonably quickly, but it was still packed. It felt a bit like a conveyor belt in an overly gilded rush hour, hemmed in at all sides, deafened by multi-lingual guides trying to be heard by their group over the hubbub.

Despite the obvious luxury and cost of everything I would not want to live in such an environment, and could see why Franz Joseph's wife, Empress Elisabeth, preferred to travel, escaping its claustrophobic halls.

I'm not really into the rococo style, but the great ball room was rather pretty:

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