For my family, it wouldn’t be a trip without lots of local beer and a few museum visits. Obviously, when your destinations include Germany and Austria, the odds are pretty good about hitting those goals. Here are some highlights from the museums:
The Bavarian Museum in Regensburg, Germany
I ended up having a private tour of Regensburg, which focused on the Jewish stories. My guide had mentioned this museum, opened in 2019, and on my way back to the boat, I glanced at my watch and thought “I have some time.” Readers, I didn’t have enough time. I was going to skip the temporary exhibit, but then I learned it was about the last monarchs in Europe before WWI, and, well, I had no choice. There were so many good things about this museum! Labels in three languages (German, English, Braille). A casual tone in the labels. Labels that weren’t too long and you actually wanted to read. And some amazing artifacts. I could have spent a lot more time here and felt a little guilty that I was there without the rest of my traveling companions. They probably wouldn’t have been as excited as I was about the Braille labels, but I still think they would have enjoyed it.
The Imperial Museum and the Sissi Museum in Vienna, Austria
We went because we wanted to see crown jewels. After all, how often do you get a chance to see crown jewels? And they were fabulous! But what we couldn’t stop talking about were all the royal robes. The stitching! The impeccable condition of things that were 800 years old! The artistry and wealth on display in this museum was jaw dropping. Nothing innovative here as far as exhibit design, but it was just all so pretty. Alas, no pictures allowed, though they wouldn’t have done it justice. Just across the plaza is the Sissi Museum, where the royal apartments were for Empress Sissi. In addition to all the fancy (all of her tableware was on display. And when I say all I mean hundreds of place settings of multiple things. It was A LOT.), there was some great exhibit design in the royal apartments. My favorite was a room about the period in her life just after he son died. It was a small room with a mourning dress in the center. You were surrounded by jagged shards of mirror forming a dome over the dress. It was very stunning. No pictures here, but I did take a picture of this fun display just outside the main exhibit area.
The Illusion Museum in Prague, Czech Republic
This museum was on mom’s “must see” list. And it was so much fun! It’s located right on the main square, and you can get an excellent (and less crowded) view of the famous clock. We had a lot of fun playing, but the museum did a lot more than just provide excellent social media opportunities. It talked about the science in how these illusions were created. (But I still don’t really understand.) There was political history as the artists shared why they chose certain subjects. And they also did some local history at the windows–so you could see what they were talking about. We knew we would have fun here, but it was all just so well done.
These weren’t all the museums we visited, but they were the stand-outs. It was really lovely to be in museums regularly again–and with people! Wearing masks! Though the Sissi Musuem was a little too crowded for my taste. I also appreciated the number of places where photos weren’t allowed–they gave visitors a chance to really focus on the space, as well as prevented what could have been some significant log-jams.
As for the beer highlight, it was pretty fun to visit a monastery where beer has been brewed since 1083. . . .
I think I’m about ready to go back!
Bonus: this delightful statue at the art museum in Vienna–it’s one of the first things you see when you walk in to this grand space.