# HIV HEROES

VANGARDIST

112

Underneath the imperial city

If there’s anyone Conchita Wurst has

to share her glory with, it’s our beloved

Sissi, as Empress Elisabeth has

been tenderly nicknamed by all those

who are eagerly trying to shove tickets

to one of her numerous palaces or

a cup adorned with her image at you.

Up until Conchita’s big breakthrough,

Sissi was, in effect, Austria’s First Lady,

which might have had more to do with

the way Romy Schneider portrayed her

in her famous Sissi trilogy of films than

with the actual eccentric royal lady,

known for keeping diplomats waiting

and then showing them gymnastic

tricks on the high bar.

If you feel like walking in the eccentric

empress’ footsteps for a day, you

should visit her private quarters at the

Sissi Museum at Hofburg Palace, her

summer residence Schönbrunn, or the

Hermesvilla. There’s a total of 27 palaces

waiting to be explored in Vienna,

so when you’ve finally seen the last

one, you might already feel it’s time to

go back to the first.

Yet instead of leading us to the grandiose

buildings of the old aristocracy,

Conchita takes us to the Imperial Crypt,

where 149 members of the Habsburg

family lie buried under the Kapuzinerkirche.

It’s open to the public and

if you manage to find an unoccupied

spot, you can place all kinds of devotional

objects by the empress’ tomb.

Art for philistines

Next, we follow Conchita into our nation’s

greatest music institution: the

Vienna State Opera. Here, you can

regularly see international stars like

Anna Netrebko perform on the grand

stage. Those of you who prefer your

nights spent in clubs should at least

check in during the day for a guided

tour through the magnificent building.

The auditorium is humongous and the

glimpse that visitors are allowed into

the backstage area is really quite exciting.

Newbies and spontaneous types

can purchase standing- room tickets

for three to five euros on the night of

the show. After all, as a city of culture,

Vienna wants all its citizens to have access

to what it has to offer, and when

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