TRAVEL THERE: MORE GOLD THAN YOU CAN COMPREHEND
Let me make one thing very clear, if you are in Vienna, don’t miss the Hofburg. If I had gone there on my very first visit to the city I don’t know if I would have ever gotten to anyplace else in Vienna, ever. Chances are, if I ever do get back to Vienna, I’ll be making a beeline the Hofburg and the first thing I will do is go visit the Imperial Apartments – again and again and again.
The Stephanplatz is a good starting point for all things Vienna. When you land there you are moments away from the Hofburg. Enjoy those moments. Gawk at the goods in the designer stores, people-watch and stop in Dremel for some chocolate. Spend some time at Michaelplatz, the grand entrance of the Hofburg. As if to prove this has been always been the center of activity in Vienna, you’ll find an archaeological dig with Roman ruins right outside the entrance to the palace.
Don’t hurry through the Michaelplatz. Along with the Roman ruins you’ll see spectacular sculptures. If architecture is your thing, turn around and gaze at the very plain bank building across from the palace. A persnickety architect, built the building as his home to act as affront to what he considered the very gaudy palace. Poor Bill! I was desperate to capture all of this in photographs and he obliged me, but it wasn’t exactly the right day for great pictures.
Entering The Imperial Apartments
After enjoying Michealplatz, enter the palace and turn right. You’ll be in the vestibule of the Imperial Apartments where you get your ticket to enter. We had the misfortune of being there when their credit card machine wasn’t working. Instead of being in a tizzy, trying to find out what was wrong and how to fix it like American cashiers would be, the attendant informed us we’d have to use cash in a very blase manner suggesting she really didn’t care whether we saw the museum or not. I felt very American at that point. I wanted her to sympathize with the fact that she’d be depleting almost the entire cache of our euros. Euros Bill had been loathe to buy and besides that her city was raining on us. This was all very distressing. You’ll be glad to know I managed to restrain myself and cough up the necessary euros, but that didn’t mean I was happy about it.
Decorative Arts Heaven
My dismay was short-lived, because I was soon standing in Decorative Arts heaven. I cannot begin to tell you how amazing and wonderful the Imperial Apartments are. As I lay dying, with my life passing before me, a good portion of the pictures I’ll see will be from the Imperial Apartments’ Silver Collection. Hyperbole? Don’t judge me until you see this!
Calling this orgy of beauty the Imperial Apartments is a bit of a misnomer. The Silver Collection is actually the first part of three very different attractions which have been rolled into one. The actual Imperial Apartments are at the end of the line and while quite nice, they are nothing compared to the Silver Collection.
To help you better understand why I am so blown away with the “Silver Collection” you first have to understand silver is just the tip of the iceberg. There is silver and gold and porcelain and linens and even the boxes they transported all these wonders in. We’re talking flatware, dishes, epergnes, vases, platters, bowls, tureens, napkins, tablecloths – all in multiples like you would not believe.
I’m someone who will dutifully spend hours stomping through the rest of a huge museum for the privilege of spending time in the one small room most institutions devote to the Decorative Arts. There are museums which have more Decorative Arts than others, for which I am grateful, but I’ve never been anywhere like this.
I think I’ll just shut up and show you the pictures Bill took for me. Then maybe next week I’ll tell you about the rest of the Imperial Apartments.