Belvedere Palace, Vienna

The the building of the upper Belvedere Palace began in 1717.  Years ago, I had read that the White House was intentionally designed to be a modest structure.  During visits to DC, it had always seemed pretty grand to me. Given the opulence of truly grand palaces built around the 17th century, the White House is actually quite modest. The ceilings on each floor are at least 40 ft high.  Walking up the steps, it became obvious how high the ceilings were.  There were four flights of stairs between each floor. DSCN2621

This is a ceiling fresco in the Marble Hall.  Standing below it you see it 40 ft off the floor. It is credited to Carlo Carlone.
The Kiss by Gustav Klimt was what called Marcia to the Belvedere Palace.  The painting incorporated the application of gold leaf.   It was against the rules to take pictures in rooms with paintings, in a side room next to the room with the actual painting was a reproduction of The Kiss that was designated for selfies.  Apparently “selfie” needs no translation to other languages.  There was a short queue, so we waited to get the above picture.
A view of the gardens from the window of the Upper Belvedere.  The smaller Lower Belvedere can be seen with the red roof at the end of the gardens at the left.


Sarah and Rachel would be upset with me posting this picture without their permission.  Since they are not reading the blog and did not know the picture was taken, the tree that fell in the woods made no sound.


It would be great if they would agree to have their picture taken.

When we came upon the above monument we were surprised to see the Cyrillic lettering. Looking closer we saw the gold shield at the top with the hammer and sickle of the former Soviet Union.  Wikipedia shed light on the monument, “The Soviet War Memorial in Vienna, more formally known as the Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee (English: Heroes’ Monument of the Red Army) is is located at Vienna’s Schwarzenbergplatz”  It is a tribute to the 17,000 Red Army soldiers who during WWII lost their lives in the Battle of Vienna. It seemed strange to have a monument dedicated to the Army that conquered the city. The Viennese view the monument as a painful reminder of Soviet occupation during the weeks following the war. Putin visited the monument in 2007 to lay flowers on it and thank the citizens of Vienna for not demolishing it.  Despite protests, the city paid to refurbish it.  When we visited the monument was in excellent condition.

A pine tree surviving against the odds in a doorway seen during our walk
On the sidewalk near the above door.
An unusual paint job on a Triumph (model unknown).  Seeing all the motorcycles and fast scooters darting around cities across Europe has piqued my desire for a motorcycle.  Unlikely to happen, but the thought has crossed my mind.


Vienna, Austria

Alex and Sarah took the train to Vienna, while Marcia, Ella, Rachel and I drove.  We meet at the Park Hyatt in Vienna.  Thanks again to Hyatt Chase Visa points.

This wasn’t the car car we arrived in, but we could not avoid the opportunity to take a picture with a brand new flat black Lamborghini. Only a portion of the seat was white.  The picture doesn’t do justice to car.
A night view of the Imperial Palace in the heart of Vienna.  Ella is in the foreground, to her right are Alex, Rachel and Sarah. This was the seat of power for seven centuries of the Habsburg’s empire.
Daytime photo of the Imperial Palace.
The next day, we all took the train out to the Schonbrunn Palace. 

Ella and Sarah were reluctant to make the trek through 3% of the 1441 rooms of the Palace. Sarah, Ella and I stayed back and waited at a restaurant, got bored and took a walk, and came back to a different restaurant and ate.  The Schönbrunn Palace was built between 1696 and 1730, and eventually converted into a residence for Maria Theresa, the only woman to serve as a Habsburg ruler. Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary, Maria Theresa had 16 children, 5 boys and 11 girls. One of her daughters, Marie Antoinette became Queen of France.

Here you get a sense how the Palace has 1441 rooms.
Near the entry of the Palace, a bridal party enters the grounds.

One of the highlights of the visit to Vienna was seeing the performance of the Lipizzaner horses at the the Imperial Palace.  450 years of tradition in a portion of the Palace that the Habsburgs watched comparable performances. No pictures were allowed.  I failed to check the battery in the camera.  It was completely dead, so it did not matter that taking photos were prohibited.