I visited the Sisi Museum and the Royal Apartments today, all part of the Hofburg Palace which is the former imperial residence in the heart of Vienna. It is also adjacent to the Spanische Hofreitschule (the Spanish Court Riding School) which is where the Lipizzaner horses are stabled, trained and perform.
The tour starts through several rooms of service settings and centerpieces and silver wear, etc., that is just obscene! To be fair, most of the gold things are just gold-plated, but wow! It is when you see some of these things and think of the issues occurring in the world, then and now, and you really start to wonder!
The Sisi Museum part of the tour was interesting in that it depicted her as being very troubled, unhappy, and restless. Despite the fact that the Emperor Franz Josef apparently loved her very much it is questionable as to whether she ever reciprocated this love. Of course, when he selected her as his bride she had no choice in the matter, so perhaps she never did love him, who knows, but the older she grew the more estranged they became and she traveled a lot and they ended up in separate “apartments” in their houses although they still had breakfast together (when she was in town).
They reemphasized her obsession over maintaining her looks and figure and said she tried all sorts of crazy things like wearing raw veal on her face under a leather mask! We also saw some of the equipment she used to exercise, although she was also a very avid hiker and horsewoman.
She stood 5’8″, had a 20″ waist, and weighed herself every day.
It is interesting to see a life like that where many would think she had everything she could possibly have wanted yet she was still somehow dissatisfied, unfulfilled.
My take-away from the whole tour was that the apartments / palace was really quite nice. Bright, nicely arranged, in a good part of town 🙂 near the horses, and that somehow Sisi reminds me too much of Scarlet O’Hara for there not to be some connection.
FYI, Sisi died in 1898, Gone With The Wind was published in 1936, just saying…