We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
As I always do before trips, I am catching up on history. This trip will be Vienna and the Danube. I view these places historically as the hinterlands, but you cannot fault their production of music in recent centuries. Music, wars, and sort-of hideous baroque architecture.
Vienna had been a Roman frontier outpost, but surely had been a barbarian settlement before that.
I do recall that European History in high school made my head spin from the endless alliances and endless wars and the reconfigurations of empires, kingdoms, duchies, principalities, and nations. With my ADD, it's a wonder I did so well with it. Forgot most of it. The War of the Spanish Succession.
I did not forget some details of the devastating Franco-Prussian War, but I certainly had forgotten that "German Austria" wanted to be part of Germany after WW1, but the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations forbade it. German Austria reached down into the (still) German-speaking areas of northern Italy. The Austria of today is a relatively brand-new nation (1945 or 1955 - pick the date) although it was a Babenburg duchy in 1156 and later was roughly the core of the Hapsburg's power for 640 years.
The Hapsburgs are credited with keeping the Ottomans out of Europe in 1683, but the King of Poland, Jan Sobieski, deserves lots of credit. There were 300 years of resisting the Ottoman Empire's invasions. I have never understood why Middle-Easterners coveted Europe, but they still do.
I find it amusing to think of what was going on in the wilds of the American colonies at the same time. Only Spain really cared, because of the gold. Otherwise insignificant except as pawns in larger European power games.
In the early 1700s, the Hapsburgs counted among their imperial control Belgium, Sardinia, Corsica, the Duchy of Milan, Naples, and Sicily. Two hundred years earlier, HRE "Emperor" Charles V in 1516 also happened to be King of Spain, bringing Spanish America, for a while, into the bounds of the Holy Roman Empire - such as it was: A crown, a flag, a bunch of castles and palaces, a title, and some truly snazzy outfits with fancy medals on them to impress the gals. Being King of Spain, on the other hand, was probably a cool gig with plenty of perks and babes.
The modern European nations are all younger in their configurations and their governmental structures than the US (except for the post-Empire island core of Britain).
One thought this perspective gave me is that the EU may be little more than an expanded reconstitution of the Holy Roman Empire - combined with the old Roman Empire. In time, it will pass too.
Photo below, Palace Schoenbrunn, first constructed as a hunting lodge in the early 1700s. "Hey, honey, have you seen where I put my camo and my ammo?"
That's from a time when royal governments lived off the labor of the people. Not like now, right?
100 days before the election, just as things really start to heat up, and you take off?? "When the going gets tough, the tough... go on vacation"? Is that how it is?
Worse, you're going to leave this zoo in the clutches of that crazy Doc and Bruce duo, and we all remember what happened the last time you tried that. It's a good thing Barrie's a lawyer and could help you reduce those massive FCC fines afterward. And that second mortgage will be paid off before you know it.
Seriously, big guy, I cringe to think of what lurid displays there will be of voluptuous, scantily-clad female bodies running around the place, all in a blatant attempt to drive up ratings and cement Maggie's name with the soft porn industry forever. By the way, did I mention Bruce and I want to be actors? Well, "actors", if you know what I mean.
In the history department, two movies spring to mind if you're looking for some visuals to set the mood. 'Amadeus', of course, and 'The Illusionist' with the irrepressible Edward Norton and the scrumpdillyicious Jessica Biel. Best surprise ending since 'The Usual Suspects'.
Anyways, thanks again for abandoning us to the whims and vagaries of a Californian and a Floridian. Very understanding of you. But please, pay it no mind. Go off and have a fun vacation. Come back when you're ready and well rested.
BD could have put the joint in my hands and it would have been fishing and boats 24/7. Lots of biblical invocations, injunctions and other stuff related to same along with stories of nautical daring do. Maggie's Farm would be underwater. :-)
I became interested in the Esterhazy family last May, upon seeing the Franz Joseph Haydn opera "Philemon and Baucis" in Charleston. The Esterhazys were Haydn's patrons and were, I think, second only to the Hapsburgs in the Holy Roman Empire.
There are two Esterhazy properties I'd really like to see, both near Vienna. Schloss Esterhazy is forty miles south in Eisenstadt, and Esterhaza is about sixty-five miles to the southeast. Like Schonbrunn Palace, Esterhaza is also a former hunting lodge. Haydn spent twenty-four productive years there.
You might keep these great estates in mind, though I doubt you will be wanting for things to do in Vienna. Have a great trip!