EXPLORING CLASSIC VIENNA

As I recall the moment I stepped into the Schönbrunn Palace in the Imperial City of Vienna, I remember the feeling of grandeur that swept over me. Although I had seen the Palace a few times, I had never actually got the opportunity to enter the rooms and see for myself how the Habsburg Royals lived until about 200 years ago. Majestic rooms, exquisite chandeliers, valuable art - all as breathtaking as expected and more. But what intrigued me the most and has kept me engrossed in thoughts all these days are the stories. Stories behind the fancy rooms and furniture, the books and the jewels, the people who lived and worked there, the people who are remembered and not so well remembered. I wanted to see the traditional as well as modern Vienna, the classic side of it as well as the quirky face of the city, the grand architecture of the Museum Quartier as well as the street art and unusual buildings. But what I didn't know was how a single character from history would leave such a strong impact on my mind. A woman who had everything except peace of mind and freedom in the true sense, a woman who felt helpless and trapped despite living in a palace and having several helpers around, a woman who got the courage to speak up against old traditions and patriarchy, who got empowered and decided to live life on her own terms eventually, leaving her kingdom behind as she travelled the world alone and in disguise. She, who today, is known as an icon of beauty from Austria.She who has had exhibitions and fashion events themed after her. She who is present on multiple brochures, posters and paintings all across Vienna and Austria - Empress Elisabeth, or Sisi from the Habsburg dynasty. History can be very intriguing but as Jezebel put it, it can do strange things to dead people. Here's a journey into the classic Vienna as well as Vienna off the beaten path. Hope this gives you an idea of things to see and do in Vienna and help you plan your own trip to the historical city.Vienna is a good choice for a getaway because it caters to many different tastes and to many different styles of travel that one might prefer. I would suggest having sufficient time in hand to enjoy the city and not rush through it. Check the museum timings in advance, as they often close a bit earlier during winter. And since Vienna is a big city, you would be requiring a public transport pass for sure.Vienna is quite a backdrop for a fairy tale and I don’t know why it took me so long to see the charm of the city in the true sense. Undoubtedly, it is a great choice for culture buffs, with all the history, museums, architecture, music and more. I somehow used to think of Vienna to be a bit overrated with all the posh stores, fancy cafes and hotels, majestic cathedrals and horse-drawn carriages in Stephensplatz and Karlplatz, the heart of the city. But, beyond those posh buildings and museums lie intriguing stories and beyond the famous coffee and cake culture lies a completely different side of Vienna.For me, taking the hour long Grand Tour of the Schönbrunn Palace was a great way to get introduced to classical Vienna. As I started going through the rooms, I got to know of Sisi as a 15-year-old Duchess from Bavaria who was made to marry her cousin, Prince Franz Joseph 1 of Austria just because he fell for her despite the fact that he was supposed to get married to her older sister.