The next morning I woke up at 7 am, excited to go explore on my own. And after breakfast with my host family and asking for a city map in the hotel reception I headed off. The previous night, after dinner, I wrote down on a piece of paper everything I wanted to do that day. More than 15 ambitious items were on my list, so I had a lot of things to do and not much time.
My first stop was the Hofburg and the Sisi Museum, which I got there after getting a little lost while trying to figure out the tram system in German. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Sisi or the Habsburgs (even though one was Emperor of Mexico for some years) but here in Merano she’s a big thing, and my host mom loves her so I decided to overcome my ignorance by seeing the exhibition at her former residence.
The museum has 3 exhibitions, the Silver Room with all the dishes and cutlery from the royal family, the Sisi Museum which tells the story about her life as Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary and the Royal Apartments. Unfortunately pictures were not allowed on the last two, and quite honestly I did not find plates and cups that interesting. But it’s definitely worth a visit, after finishing I went and bought a book about Sisi’s life because I wanted to know more about her life (The Reluctant Empress by Brigitte Hamann, if you’re curious like me).
When I exited the museum I realized it was not the same place where I entered, so I started walking around until I found the next things on my list. The Hofburg gardens do not disappoint and I’m sure that in summer they must be extra beautiful.
What was next on my list was the Rathaus (English-speaking-German-learners do not translate this literally, it used to be an auction house but now it’s the City Hall), St. Peter’s Cathedral and the House of Parliament. Mainly because they were closer to where I was there.
The Rathaus is just impressive as a structure and in size, you could spend hours gazing at it. St. Peter’s is not as crowded as St. Stephen’s but not less beautiful and peaceful, it has amazing stained glasses and even a shrine for Mexico’s Virgin Mary. Finally the House of Parliament is filled with classical sculptures on the front, the main one being Athenea (my all time favorite greek goddess) watching over Vienna.
After that I went to the Belvedere to purchase tickets for the exhibition and then hurried back to the Albertina Museum where I was supposed to meet my family for lunch, but more of that on my next post.