Exiting from the Hofburg’s Imperial Apartments in Vienna, we discovered it was still raining on our parade. A little morning precipitation had been disheartening. To discover drizzle still dominating the day was downright frustrating.
Mourning the Loss of Plan A
I know my husband. It’s all well and good to spend a few hours in a museum and the Imperial Apartments were extraordinarily fine museums, but I’d better have something else besides museums on the agenda.
Plan A was designed with just that in mind. Next door to the palace is the Volksgarten. We’re talking European next door, not American. That means right across a small street from the exit of the Imperial Apartments is this popular garden. We were supposed to catch our breath from all that royal grandeur in a lovely garden which just happened to have a coffee kisok right there. It was perfect or at least it should have been.
Instead, the main thing we wanted to do was get out of the rain. I half-heartedly offered up chocolate at Dremel or a visit to the Dortheum, an auction house he’s shown an interest in. I know either one would have been a good choice, but right then all he wanted to do was get out of the rain. Well, he’d probably have been perfectly happy to take a taxi back to the boat and see what kind of pastries were available at the free coffee bar.
Because he loves me, he wanted me to see the most important things on my very long list of must-see attractions, but he wasn’t thrilled about it. A part of me whispered that I should get this man back to the boat and let him browse the coffee bar, but I was afraid that if I did, I’d miss everything else on my list. He doesn’t approve of me wandering around strange cities without an escort of some kind and once he was back on the boat, I’m betting dynamite would not have gotten him off it for yet another subway ride and more stomping around in the rain.
As I stood there with all of this floating around in my mind I mourned the possibilities I’d wished for. I’d imagined Bill in the Volksgarten, with his cup of coffee in hand, oooohing and aaaahing over all the wonderful options we had to choose from. Instead the chill of the mist was invading our crevices and Bill became impatient with my list of attractions. “What are we closest to that’s inside?” he wanted to know. “The Treasury,” I replied,”but it’s a museum.” He said, “lead the way.”
Back into the Hofburg
Thanks to my friend, Rick Steves’ Eastern Europe guide book and DK Eyewitness Travel’s Top 10 Vienna, I knew my way around the palace. I led Bill through a tunnel to the In der Burg courtyard, through the Swiss Gate to the Schweizerhof which held the Treasury. Part of me whispered I was making a big mistake, but this was number two on my list of must-see’s and it was out of the rain, so I didn’t know what else to do. I think this was one of those lose-lose situations and there had not been a correct answer to the drizzle dilemma.
We were wowed by the Treasury. Bill’s fatigue was dispelled as he began photographing everything in sight. I kept trying to put it all together. This was the fourth day of the cruise and all four days had been dominated by the Hapsburg Dynasty. We’d already seen so many remarkable sites associated with their wealth, grandeur and power. I couldn’t get over the fact that the Hapsburgs toted all this stuff around with them wherever they went. I’d assumed that each of their many castles had it’s own set of china and flatware, but instead the emperors and their entourage packed it all up in velvet and silk lined leather boxes to carry it with them. After all, an empress never knows when she might need several hundred silver charging plates.
As if the Silver Collection of the Imperial Apartments had not held enough treasures for any dynasty, we were now in a treasury which was chockablock with more golden, silver and jeweled wonders. At some point my disbelief checked itself out and I just wandered around awestruck.
I’ll share some of the pictures Bill took. Then you come back next week and hear how my dream day in Vienna continued to disintegrate.