A Travellerspoint blog

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn

Vienna, Vienna Airport & London Stansted Airport

View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Although I woke up feeling exhausted - as drained as I was in Basel and the first couple of days in Bratislava - and under the influence of a cough/ cold which had returned with a vengeance, I felt better after noting the sunshine outside and having a big, leisurely breakfast. I packed and left my big case and laptop in the luggage room and set off on a final excursion - to the gardens of Schloss Schönbrunn, former seat of the Habsburgs.


I only had a couple of hours free so decided not to go into the palace itself, interesting as I knew it would be. This time the gardens were enough, though if I get the opportunity to go again at some point then I'll definitely go inside the building and explore fully.

Although February is clearly not the best time of year to go, I still very much enjoyed my visit. The maze and labyrinth section was closed for the winter, the Orangery was empty, the rose bushes in the rose garden were covered in sacks (to protect against frost, I assume), a lot of the other bushes and trees were bare, and flowerbeds were dug up, awaiting replanting. However, despite this the place was still magnificent! Stunning architecture, spherical topiary, the Neptune Fountain, other statues set within ponds, the historic green metal Palm House building, arched walkways draped in wisteria, the swirls of flowerbeds... they all worked together in a way which was very pleasing to the eye.


At one point I walked along one side of the zoo, and spotted some European bison and some deer. I also popped in to the small free part of the Desert House, where I saw an Oman Spiny-tailed Lizard. I thought about paying to get into the Palm House (basically a huge tropical greenhouse), but decided not to as time was starting to get on and I knew it would be so interesting to look round, I'd want to stay for ages and would regret having to rush. Another reason to come back!


The last thing I looked at before heading for the exit was the Columbary, or giant dovecote. It dates from 1750 - 55 and still contains three species of pigeon; the 'Altösterreichischer Tummler Kiebitz', thought to have originated in India and arrived in Vienna during the Ottoman siege of the city (they didn't say which one, 1529 or 1683), and the 'Wiener Fluggansel' and 'Österreichischer Ganselkröpfer', other historic varieties.


On my way out I passed lots of greenhouses, but they were all closed off to visitors.

On arrival back at the hotel I had half an hour or so to re-arrange my case, have lunch from a supermarket, check out the Storm Dennis and flight status situation online and update people about it. (Storm Dennis was/is a massive storm predicted to move over many parts of the UK over today and tomorrow.) Then I set off for the airport via metro and S-bahn.

The flight left on time. I had a window seat and by the time we took off it was dark, so since the sky was clear, I got a magnificent view of Vienna lit up before me. The sky remained cloudless for quite a long time, because every time I looked out of the window I got more wonderful views of towns and cities lit up far below us.

Even as we approached the given landing time it was still calm, with no turbulence, and I was starting to wonder all the fuss was about re. storm predictions... then we passed through a bit of turbulence, but no worse than any I've experienced before... then another period of calmness which seemed to last a lot longer than the 15-20 minutes we'd heard we had left before landing. Then the captain came onto the intercom and said that we'd be late landing because the storm was causing landings to back up, and that when we did approach, 'It will get a bit bumpy, just to warn you'. Understatement of the year... we were thrown about more than I've ever experienced before - at one point I wondered if it was possible for a plane to get flipped right over by wind! I didn't see anyone throw up, luckily, though a couple of people were leaning forward or holding their hands up by the sides of their faces. Looking out of the window, I could see the thick mist passing by - no sight of anything else almost until the very moment of landing. A very otherworldly experience, for sure.

The pilot deserved a standing ovation when we landed, though she didn't get one.

Update from May 2023: Little did I know then that due to the pandemic, it would be just over two years before I could go abroad again...

Posted by 3Traveller 11:38 Archived in Austria Tagged buildings planes vienna palace austria explorations unesco_world_heritage_site extreme_weather

Table of contents


Interesting narrative and great photographs!

by TravelLover3

Comment with:

Comments left using a name and email address are moderated by the blog owner before showing.

Not published. Required
Leave this field empty

Characters remaining: