Vienna: Schonbrunn Gardens

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One of the perks of being an emperor is that you get to change houses when the seasons change. Schonbrunn was the summer palace of the Habsburgs. Today it is a museum. The admission price kept me away (and the tour groups and the general imperial excess) but the gardens are free. And the gardens are beautiful.
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As I was wandering around, admiring the flowers and landscaping, I found myself underwhelmed by the fountains. After Peterhof and Rome, these guys were letting me down. And just as I was fine tuning my jokes (“Step up your game”, “Holy Roman Schmoly Roman”, etc.), I came upon the Neptune Fountain. And Franz Joseph laughed from the grave.
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The grounds are extensive and full of things to explore. The Gloriette was used as a breakfast room for Franz Joseph and Sisi. Perched on a hill overlooking the palace and city, the view is awesome.
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Closer to the palace there are a collection of mazes and labyrinths. I’ve never been in a proper hedge maze. I do love me a good corn maze but those typically have directions. Once you were in you were on your own with the elevated deck at the center as your goal. Between Harry Potter and the billion and one British period movies I’ve seen I figured I had it in the bag. Despite its small appearance it took me more than 20 minutes to find the right path. Awesome brain teaser!20130628-190753.jpg
The park is clearly used by ordinary Austrians. I saw many people jogging alone or in pairs as well as families picnicking on the grounds. Heck yes, utilized spaces!

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