|Emperor Franz Josef as Zeus|
I visited Vienna many years ago and remember it as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It did not disappoint on this visit. Although it drizzled rain, the beautiful boulevards and monumental architecture shone through. You might say it is a testament to the power of monarchy since Vienna has benefited from being the home of the Hapsburg dynasty and capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.The last Emperor, Franz Joseph, is responsible for much of the monumental 19th century architecture, much of which seeks to give him divine status. It is now one of the most prosperous cities in the world and is a popular venue for political parlays.
According to our Cruise Director Eric, Avalon once had a history-themed cruise on this itinerary which included a couple of Hapsburg heirs. I'm sorry I missed that one. I've just read through a history of the Hapsburgs on line. Wow! It makes you thankful that the U.S. never had an aristocracy or monarchy! What a bunch of egotistical maniacs. I'll take our capitalist barons any day -- at least their incompetent sons don't inherit political power. It also makes you root for the European Union. Seventy years of peace and prosperity sure beats centuries of wars for dynastic control.
Since it was drizzling when we arrived in Vienna, we ducked into the Sacher Hotel to sample the original Sacher torte and then crossed the street to seek refuge among the modernist paintings in the Albertine Museum. Between the two is a Monument against War anf Facism.