A Day at Belvedere Palace
Both of us VERY tired today from the events of yesterday and the general pace of the trip so far. We got up at about 8:00AM, had breakfast, then planned our day. We decided to have an easy day today as we were both quite beat.
We went down to the Appartement Ferhchergasse office, talked to the Owner/Manager Christian and paid our outstanding hotel bill (€1,209.60). Also got him to book us a cab for Saturday’s trip back to the Vienna airport (€32.00).
We were getting a little low on food supplies so we went around the corner to the Hofer grocery store and picked up a few things. We returned to the apartment, put away groceries and collected our gear for the day.
Setting out on the good old #43 tram, we got off at Shottentor station. From there we took the U2 U-Bahn line down to Karlsplatz and changed on to the U1 line, getting off at Sudtirolerplatz. From there, we walked to Belvedere Palace. The Belvedere is a historic building complex consisting of two Baroque palaces (Upper Belvedere, Lower Belvedere), the Orangery, and the Palace Stables. The buildings are set in a Baroque park landscape in the third district of the city, on the south-eastern edge of its centre. The Upper Belvedere houses the Belvedere Museum.
We spent several hours at the Palace, taking pictures in the gardens and just generally wandering the grounds. Beautiful weather today, which really showed the Palace at its best.
The Upper Belvedere was finished in 1723 and used for the purpose of prestige and display before the eventful history started. It was one of the first public museums in Vienna. Today the Upper Belvedere is the most visited art museum in Austria – with highlights by Klimt, Schiele, Funke, Monet, and van Gogh.
Here’s a short video panorama of some of the Palace Gardens:
The Lower Belvedere was completed in 1716 and marked the boundary between the Baroque building complex and the imperial city of Vienna. Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt planned the Lower Belvedere for Prince Eugene as a residential building, with staterooms that illustrate the Baroque lifestyle and craftsmanship. Today, the rooms of the Lower Belvedere and the Orangery are used for exhibitions and events.
The Soviet War Memorial
After checking out the Lower Belvedere we opted to find a lunch spot, so we temporarily left the Palace grounds in search of sustenance. On our way we came upon the Soviet War Memorial. This Monument of the Red Army in Vienna was built to commemorate the 17,000 Soviet soldiers who were killed in action during the Vienna offensive in World War II:
We continued looking for a suitable cafe. We settled on a place called Hubers Essen & Trinken (in English, eating & drinking) on Rennweg 11, across from the Belvedere Palace. Lunch was utterly delicious. We each had the Weiner Schnitzel and our usual water: sparkling for Vince and still for me.
If you'd like to read my TripAdvisor review of Hubers Essen & Trinken, click here.
Back To The Belvedere
Returning to Belvedere Palace after lunch, we paid our admission to view the indoor galleries in the Upper Belvedere. We were mostly interested in the original Klimt exhibit – The Klimt-Collection of the Belvedere – which proved stunning. I have a whole new appreciation for Gustav Klimt after going through this exhibit; of his work, I would have to say The Kiss and Judith are my favourites:
There was no photography permitted in the exhibits, but after touring the galleries we took a few interior shots of the Upper Belvedere:
We left the Klimt exhibit and went outside. We rested in the shade for a bit, then wandered through the gardens to the Palace exit, taking a last look at the splendour of the Belvedere:
Desperately needing to refuel, we headed in the direction of the Opera Ring in search of a coffee house. Although not great, at about 4:15PM we found the Rosenberger café just off Karntnerstrasse, near the Albertina. Vince had a cappuccino and I had Sacher Torte with a black tea. We both agreed that this particular culinary stop was the low point in our Austrian food experiences so far. Very pedestrian. Leaving the Rosenberger, we walked back to Schottentor and caught the #43 tram back to the apartment.
We’re both really beat tonight so we rested for a while, then cooked frozen pizzas and had our dinner at about 7:00PM. Later we backed up and reviewed our daily pictures. I caught up on my journal and we both just generally took it easy. Off to bed early tonight (10:00PM) as we have another big day tomorrow with our planned day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia!