Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The hills are alive with dysfunctional families

While in Vienna, we had the pleasure of visiting the Habsburgs winter and summer (Schonbrunn palace) residences. The Habsburg family really takes the cake when it comes to weird families. They decided that instead of fighting other countries, they would simply marry into them. Maria Theresa, the Empress of Austria, had 16 children and managed to marry most of them into important families, earning herself the name of mother-in-law of Europe. One of her children was Marie Antoinette who married the King of France and ended up getting her head cut off.

Looking at the back of Schonbrunn Palace

Gardens at the back of Schonbrunn Palace

 Ironically Schonbrunn palace was also the location of young Mozart’s first royal concert. It was said that during the concert he tripped over and was helped up by one of Marie Theresa’s children, the young Marie Antoinette. 

In Salzburg we visited the home of Mozart. It is said that he didn’t particularly like Salzburg, however they have made a fortune off him. His family is also one of rather interesting dynamics. Childhood illnesses claimed the lives of several of his siblings and all but two of his own children. He himself died in his mid-30’s of still unknown causes. As the son of a court musician one wonders if his father might have pushed him into music along with his older sister. The original helicopter parents.

Salzburg is also home to another famous family, the Von Traps. If one wants dysfunction you need not look further than a bunch of singing, curtain wearing, Austrians with a runaway nun as their leader. Austria is as beautiful as it is portrayed in the movie. It’s no wonder everyone is a bit nutty, the fresh air and greenery must go to their head. 

The Von Trapp house

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