Wednesday, May 5, 2010
So there was this French guy, Eugene of Savoy, who went to King Louis XIV to get an officer's commission. The king said no, so he tried his luck in Austria. Kaiser Leopold I made Prince Eugene a cavalry officer, and he went on to lead many battles, amassing power and wealth as he went. Prince Eugene built the Upper and Lower Belvedere Palaces for himself in Vienna (nothing to sneeze at), but he still needed a country place. So he built himself the Schloss Hof, not far from the Slovak border.
It may not be bigger than Versailles, but it feels bigger than Versailles. It's a large house, surrounded by immense flower gardens, and it still has the out buildings of a farm (stable, kitchen, woodworking shop, etc.). It also has an eclectic group of animals, some of them rare breeds: goats (we saw some very cute, stumbling kids); horses (some Lipizzaners); sheep; European bison; chickens; white donkeys and long-horn cattle. The flowers gardens were amazing, particularly considering it was late April: beautiful tulips of varying varieties, surrounded by pansies. The painting is by Canaletto.