19.03.2008 - 26.03.2008 4 °C
Vienna was INCREDIBLY cold, so the things I saw in the week were a little limited. It gets really hard when there are snow storms after all, and the snow on the ground gets thick and icy...sure its a novelty, but it makes it really hard to see stuff. Actually, the snow changes a lot. It can be the shape of tiny peas, or it can be really large flat flakes, the size of my palm. Anyway, Vienna-
Schloss Schonbrunn, a summer palace that belonged to the Habsburgs, a very famous couple of a duke and his extremely pretty wife, Elizabeth. In the palace, there were several room dedicated to Elizabeth for her preparation for the day...to beautify herself...she was a bit of a weirdo, they served the family a 6 course dinner every night, and mostly she didnt eat anything so she could keep her tiny figure!! She was probably a little sick in the head. There was some beautiful halls in the palace, but the gardens were the most breathtaking.. very precise in the layout of the bushes and just nothing like what we see in Australia. In the gardens they also have the oldest zoo in the world. Some of it was awful, the cages that some of the animals were in were terrible...but otherwise it was a great zoo. They had three species of penguine, including the ones with the yellow feathers coming out of their head and a huge brown fluffy one. The penguines were the only animals that seemed comfortable...evey other animal was inside their home, because of the cold. My favourite animal was the anteater (because Id read about these in Roald Dahls book but never knew if they were real or not!)
Stephansdom was a 13th century gothic cathedral. Honestly, after a while, all the cathedrals seem the same. They are all intensly decorated with stained glass windows and statues of saints and paintings of the Madonna and child. The designer of the cathedral made a statue of himself and put it in the centre of the cathedral, in a stand for the priest...so as to watch over the building. From the tower, I could see most of Vienna and the roof of the cathedral, which is decorated with tiles making up two eagles. There are catacombs here as well (actually there are catacombs all over Europe). These ones stored not only the dukes, but also all of the bones from the people who died in the plague. They were in massive rooms...simply filled with bones. Most of them had a light so we could see inside, but there was one that was pitch black. When a photo was taken and the flash went off it lit up the hundreds of human bones and skulls and honestly it was incredibly frightening.
The neo-gothic rathaus ("rat house") or house for parliament looked like another castel with more beautiful gardens to wonder through. And although I went to the Sigmund Freud museum, it was not very interesting...just spoke about his life. On the other hand I loved the Natural history museum (suprise suprise) which was full of crazy rocks (Mum and Dad- Chris and Mio would have had a ball here because there were simply hundreds of geological rocks). And there were dinosaur bones and other remnants of ancient fish and sea critters.
Enough about Vienna, onto Prague...