Episode 306 – The Park Called “Beautiful Spring”

We had some light rain yesterday which really cut through the heat here, bringing today’s high down to a comfortable 26°C/78°F after several days of 35°C/95°F. The prediction for the rest of our week here is sunny and 29°C/84°F, which is at the upper end of pretty perfect.

After leaving the Naschmarkt last evening, we passed by this pickle sculpture.
I couldn’t resist. I DO love pickles!

After a couple of days of doing not much at all except reading, going to the farmers’ market that sets up right under our windows on Saturdays, and having Brazilian beef burgers in the Naschmarkt (why not?), we headed back outside today to wander around another of the parks opened up to the public by the Hapsburgs, this one in 1779.

We have previously toured the palace itself (Episode 87 – Postcards from Vienna ) and the Schönbrunn Zoo, so today enjoyed the “free” option of simply strolling around the glorious gardens. The park is only about 4km from our apartment, which translates into a 40 minute journey involving 2 Undergrounds and a 15 minute walk. Google Maps indicates we could walk the entire distance in only 20 additional minutes, but it’s not a scenic enough route to make the extra time and exertion worthwhile.

We took a quick detour from the Underground station to tour the train station designed by architect Otto Wagner specifically for Emperor Franz Josef to use when coming to Schönbrunn via the brand new Austrian metro train system. It really is a stunning art deco building; too bad the Emperor used it exactly twice. It’s also too bad it couldn’t have been incorporated into the modern station.

Note how the pattern on the carpet echoes the art deco windows and the copper pattern on the mirror above the fireplace in the “waiting room”, which would originally have had upholstered chairs and a tea table. The walls are neither paint nor wood – they are woven SILK, as are the cords from which the chandelier bulbs hang.

On our way to the Schönbrunn Park entrance, we noticed this lovely hotel, with a really interesting entrance, and the sign indicating that Thomas Alva Edison lived there in 1911. I wonder if he met the Emperor and Empress.

“Schön” in German means pretty or beautiful, and “Brunnen” is a spring or fountain, so it’s only fitting that this park was named after the artesian well on the property that supplied water to the court, and then filled with gorgeous fountains.

Even the statues in the fountains can’t help but stare.

Ted took wonderful pictures on both our other visits, and more great shots today. It’s just such a picturesque and awe-inspiring place.

We only visited the “back yard” today, and even so it’s really hard to decide on a favourite picture, and one that effectively shows how huge this “summer palace” is (but I think the bottom photo gives a pretty good idea),
The magnificent iron and glass “palm house”.
Nature must obey the Emperor and Empress. Top: trees cut away to form an arch big enough to accommodate the royal coaches. Bottom left: trees with their greenery trimmed to be perfectly perpendicular to the ground to showcase the view straight through to the Schloss. Bottom right: freshly trimmed alleés (you can see the piles of trimmed branches ready to be taken away)
The closer you get to the Gloriette (Empress Elizabeth’s combination folly/tea house) the more you notice the intricate details in the architecture.

One of our favourite features on the grounds is the Neptune Fountain at the base of the baroque garden and the bottom of the Gloriette hill. The water got turned off while we were there, but fortunately not before Ted captured some wonderful images.

Top & second: water on. Third: water off, allowing sculptural detail to be seen. That’s the tail end of a hippocampus (a half horse, half fish creature that Poseidon rides) Bottom: normally this view through the centre of the fountain from behind it is like looking through a waterfall.

Just rambling around allowed us to discover areas we hadn’t ventured into before, and really get to appreciate how vast the park is. It even has a modern fitness club with pool and spa hidden away near the east side of the property, which local residents can enjoy for a daily entry fee or join with an annual membership.

This Obelisk Fountain was something we hadn’t seen before. It was weird enough that it reminded me of parts of the exterior of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.
Yes, those are 4 bronze turtles supporting the obelisk on their shells, and when the fountain is turned on the water spurts out of the mouth of the mask above the grilled arch.

13,000 steps. Many interesting places. One fresh strawberry ice. As I finish writing this, a live band is playing really good Spanish salsa-tempo music in the public square outside our window, to the delight of those outside in the cafés and in the park, and I am dancing in my seat.

Another happy day.

One comment

  1. Oh, Rose!

    I’m awed by the space you cover on a HAPPY DAY ! You make it sound relaxing! Again, I’m overwhelmed by the beauty, the artistry, the workmanship that surrounds you! What a legacy! What will be the legacy of our time?

    Thank you! Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx My day is richer, travelling with Rose and Ted Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    Liked by 1 person

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