If you thinking about visiting Vienna, the Schonbrunn Palace is an absolute must, at least if you want to get a good sense for how Marie Antoinette lived before she ruled from Versailles in France.
On my last day in Vienna it was a glorious 50* F outside and I hopped on the green line at the Kettenbruckengrasse station and rode five stops south to Schonbrunn. By this time I was a pro riding the Vienna metro so I was quite proud of myself for finding my way to the Palace when it was nowhere near where I was staying (or really where anyone was staying, and this was on purpose since it was the Habsburg’s summer home after all).
Anyways, I got off the train and mostly I just followed the crowds while occasionally glancing at the GPS on my iPhone and soon enough, I found myself in front of the gates to a palace even more royal than the Hofburg.
My lens was a little dirty by this time. Apologies for any of the debris you might see!
Since I’d purchased the “Sisi Ticket” ahead of time online, I was able to tour her apartments in the Hofburg, as well as the Schonbrunn. I picked up the free audio guide and began my self-guided tour of 22 rooms that Empress Elizabeth (aka Sisi) lived in at Schonbrunn, but also 18 rooms that have been frozen in time to capture the detail of when Maria Theresa (Maria Antoinette’s mother) was the lady of the house – and state.
It was she who altered Schonbrunn Palace to look more like Versailles. The detailing inside as you move from room to room, listening to the history and what went down there, is exquisite. Photographs were frowned upon but there were a few rooms that I just couldn’t resist snapping a memory of and you’ll be able to tell exactly why when you see them.
The grand room on the far right? What?! Crazy, right?
The gold and detailing every where inside the Schonbrunn was jaw-dropping. I saw conservationists working on rooms as I passed through, which was so cool. (How did they get that job?!) But the outside of the palace and the gardens behind were just as equally impressive. Could you imagine having all of that to yourself in the summer? (Save for a hundred or so servants, of course.)
I strolled through the leave-less trees (it was March, of course), looking behind me at a palace where a singular family who once ruled a vast part of Europe once spent their summers and was just awe-struck I was ready, though, to head into one of the oldest zoos in the world, Schonbrunn Zoo. Stay tuned!