On Saturday we were not in the mood for a long day trip; no, we were not feverish, we just have a summer holiday approaching that entails a fair amount of driving. Thankfully, there is always a castle or palace or stately villa nearby that is worthy of exploring, and in this case, it was the Jagdschloss Mayerling, the former hunting lodge of Crown Prince Rudolf, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Except for that murder-suicide matter with his teenage mistress. And WWI, of course.
The Vienna Woods are gorgeous this time of year.
In less than an hour we arrived at the lodge, just ahead of four tour buses! Sometime after the Crown Prince’s death, a chapel was added to the lodge, encompassing the bedroom where the incident occurred.
The Crown Prince led a troubled life. His parents were not particularly affectionate; and as a most eligible bachelor found himself caught up with ladies of ill repute, let’s just say. He even brought along one of his mistresses en route to Belgium to marry his wife, Duchess Sofie of Belgium, and convinced a different mistress to end her life with his. His story is rather tragic.
In the former bedroom now resides a statue of the Virgin Mary, with a “dagger of anguish” piercing her heart, along with a pictorial of the Emperor upon learning of the death of his son.
In the tea pavilion there is on exhibit several of the Crown Prince’s sketches, most of them ornithological in nature, as he was big into birds. To think that if only the incident had not occurred, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand may have never found himself in Sarajevo on that fateful day in 1914…
Near to Mayerling is Heiligenkreuz, a small village home to the oldest continuously occupied monastery in the world. Beautiful grounds to walk about for a little bit before lunch.
During lunch this delightful insect (?) amused us; and then, an easy drive home before the late afternoon rain showers arrived.