Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Touring the Viennese "Ring Street"

Gertrude is our guide today as we tour "Ring Street" which is full of museums and public monuments. It was made inside the old city walls. The government sold plots to the rich to finance the construction of the new public buildings.

All the buildings are newer, but models in the old style.

In the end of the 19th century, Vienna created an artificial bed for the Danube. Before, the river was one mile wide and created much damage when it would flood.

There were four Von Strauss musicians. Johan did not want his sons to be musicians and insisted they pursue real careers. The sons became musicians because of their mother's actions.

The baroque St. Charles Church was erected to pay homage for plague survival.

Austria was annexed in the 1930s by the Nazis and then annexed by the four allied powers. The allies did not trust each other and patrolled with one soldier from each country in one jeep.

Touring the Schönbrunn (beautiful fountain) palace is nothing short of inspiring. Empress Maria Theresa saved the palace, her father hated it and never finished remodeling, and emerged as the first great Austrian leader. None of the other politicos of the surrounding countries respected her, despite accepting bribes to, and the fray seven years of her reign were spent defending the countries borders. After securing the borders, having lost very little territory, she set her country in order and created many of the social systems in place today.

Empress Maria Theresia was given a country and was thrust into the ruling role when her husband showed no interest in politics. In addition to being one of Austria's great rulers, she had 16 surviving children. The Hofburg princesses were known to be fertile and were often married off to produce heirs. Marie Antoinette proved to be the exception and lost her head.

Elizabeth, Sisi, was forced to marry the Emporer of Austria, Franz, after he met her at a party while being introduced to his arranged fiancé, Sisi's older sister. She became sick and was sent to Madeira. After 2 years in Madeira, she came back with a stronger personality. She was very eccentric; always on crazy diets, traveled and preferred modern transport, worked out, had weird beauty regimens, was an accomplished equestrian (beating male jockeys), stopped any train she was on to run up surrounding hills she also suffered bouts of depression and insomnia. She was stabbed at the age of 61 in Geneva by an anarchist. She hated her public life and after Madeira, she lived life her own way.

After touring Shönbrunn, we head to our hotel, the Hotel Ananas (Pineapple)!

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