Vienna, Austria: A Rainy Day in Schönbrunn Palace

I’ll always be here to inspire you to put on your craziest, most outrageous clothes and not pay any attention to those who cannot handle your fabulousness.”

I wrote those words when I first started this blog, back in January. But somewhere along the way, the fashion aspect got obstructed by other things. You see, I was too busy spilling soy sauce all over my summer dresses to actually take photos of them.

Well, that ends today! I intend to inspire and/or entertain you with my eccentric outfits come rain or some shine. Unfortunately for me, when I decided to break the fashion drought, it was raining cats and dogs. But I cared not! I put on my secret-agent-meets-vampire-meets-serial-killer raincoat and headed out.

Oh, and by the way – the place we’re visiting today is Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna’s most popular tourist destination. Sometimes I get so carried away, just talking about myself…

Schönbrunn definitely upstaged me in a few of these photos, but that’s fine – I’m mature enough to share the fame. In fact, seeing as this is a travel blog, I might just give you a little tour of the place if you read on.

The palace grounds are beautiful – some paths are surrounded by wild shrubbery and some have pristine hedges ’round their edges, but everything’s wonderfully lush and green. Besides, it isn’t every day you get to frolic through the same gardens Princess Sisi and Marie Theresa used to grace with their presence.

Princess Sisi (formally Empress Elisabeth of Austria) is a bit of a superstar in the Austrian capital – there is an entire museum dedicated to her turbulent life in the Hofburg Palace. Rumour has it that she used to spend around three hours doing her hair every day! Real Housewives of Schönbrunn much?

Right in front of the main building (which you can see in the first photo) you will find the Great Parterre – a big quad filled with intricate flowerbeds. According to the Baroque garden design guidebook, if such a thing ever existed, gardens were a direct representation of a ruler’s status, so they’re… pretty epic. To their right, you will also find an early 18th century maze, but I skipped that because there are many places I’d rather be in the pouring rain than an intricate open-air labyrinth. Inexplicable, I know.

The Neptune Fountain, located at the end of the Great Parterre, is pretty sweet. In fact, it’s so sweet that I even provided a second photo without yours truly, so you could admire it in all its splendour.

I’m a sucker for all things Ancient Rome, so let me explain to you what’s going on up in this pic. On the top you can see Neptune, ridin’ solo in a shell-shaped chariot and leaning on his trident like the majestic sea-god he is. He’s looking down at a sea nymph called Thetis, a loose little goose who fooled around with a mortal king and subsequently gave birth to Achilles. And by loose little goose I really mean strong independent woman, but I couldn’t resist the rhyme.

But the true cherry on top is the Gloriette, a charming gazebo perched on a hill overlooking the entire palatial complex. It’s totally worth going up to – if not for its stunning architecture (for a better look, go back to the second photo in this post), then at least for a piece of traditional Viennese apple strudel which you can devour in Café Gloriette located inside.

General Info

Entry: free, excluding the palace interiors and maze
Entry (palace): from 11.50 € for adults / 8.50 € for children
Opening hours: 8.30 am – 5 pm (daily, including public holidays)

Tip: Zoo Vienna, also known as Tiergarten Schönbrunn, is located right next door. In 2012 it won the “Best European Zoo” award, it’s open 365 days a year and it’s one of the few zoos in the world I genuinely like.

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