After the Opera House, we split up again. I forget where Nicole and Sarah wandered off to, but I decided to go visit the Sisi Museum in the Hofburg Palace. The Hofburg Palace used to be winter residence of the royal Habsburg dynasty who ruled the Austro-Hungarian empire. Today, it is now the official residence of the president of Austria. The whole complex houses various museums and institutions.
I’m not sure how many people are familiar with Empress Sisi. The Sisi Museum is devoted to the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, commonly known as “Sisi” by her family–she ruled from 1854 to 1898, her life abruptly cut short when she was assassinated.
Originally from Bavaria in Germany, Sisi was married off her to her cousin Franz Joseph I of Austria (who was originally supposed to marry her older sister but instantly became smitten with Sisi when he saw her) when she was only 16 years old. I think part of the “Sisi myth” has to do with the fact that she was tragically assassinated at the age of 60 by an Italian anarchist. She was considered to be a very beautiful woman in her time, but it seems she wasn’t cut out for the formality and rigidity that dominated court life.
Even though her husband was deeply in love with her, it doesn’t seem Sisi returned the favor. She was very shy and felt out of place living a life in the spotlight. She didn’t get along with her mother-in-law (who was also her aunt) who tried to control every aspect of her life (including raising her children, so Sisi had very little contact with them as they grew up). In order to get away from imperial life, she traveled abroad very often and spent little time at her husband’s side being the dutiful empress wife. She seemed to be a rather complicated woman and today remains an enigmatic historical figure. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the museum but it was incredibly interesting–I walked away feeling like I had learned a lot about Sisi, yet she still remained a mystery. As you can tell by these pictures, Sisi had very long hair and had a very specific beauty routine she followed to take care of it.
After the Sisi Museum and seeing the royal apartments, I wandered around on the outer edge of the city center with no particular destination in mind. It was cold and rainy that afternoon and rather miserable. However I pushed on and was able to enjoy myself somehow. However, I was a little disappointed I never got to see the sun in Austria. But I suppose cold and rainy is typical spring weather? These pictures are random but they were the things I considered most interesting during my rainy afternoon walk.
Some interesting graffiti I came across (including a Space Invader!! Space Invader graffiti can be found all over Europe, but especially in Paris):
I ended up back at the Stephansdom to meet my friends for dinner.
And the next post will be the LAST one: day 2 in Vienna. Wow, 15 posts to get through a 9 day trip! I shudder to think how many posts I will write whenever I decide to eventually road trip across the USA.