The National Trust

Along with our amazement of and appreciation for the public footpaths in Britain, we’ve gotten to experience a few parts of the National Trust — a program that preserves all sorts of historic, scenic or natural places all across the England, Wales and Ireland(Scotland has a separate National Trust, which we also visited and enjoyed), and opens them to the public.  It’s fascinating and wonderful, and we’ve included several parts of the National Trust as pieces of our adventures in the UK.


I first learned about the National Trust through my mom, but experiencing parts of it firsthand makes me appreciate its importance even more.  What’s interesting and different about the National Trust as opposed to regular National Parks (which also exist) is that a wide variety of kinds of places can be placed into the National Trust, not just the stunningly beautiful natural places you might expect (like the Giant’s Causeway), but even small places (gardens), functioning places (farms and pubs), things (such as historical artifacts) and whole villages (we’ve visited at least two of these — Buttermere, and tiny Watendlath which is FAR off the beaten path).  It felt like every time we went to explore somewhere new, we’d end up crossing paths with the National Trust.


Although I’m not 100% clear on how it all works, I do understand that it’s a pretty profound way to preserve and share so much of Britain’s essence.  The places that belong to the National Trust can’t be sold or developed, and they’re preserved, maintained and opened for everyone to share.  We’ve gotten to explore a tiny piece of these national treasures, and I think it’s so wonderful that they’re looked after in this way — we’ve certainly enjoyed them.

My favorite places

018I discovered a new favorite place in Vienna today:  the Volksgarten at the Hofburg.  I’ve actually been there before, but it has changed since I was there last, so I rediscovered it today.  When I was there before, I took note of the huge rose bushes, but I had no idea of what I was in for when they really blossomed.  They’re in full bloom now.  I didn’t realize, when I was there before, that ALL of the bushes I was seeing were rose bushes.  (The only thing I can kind of compare it to is the azalea gardens near where I grew up, but with roses.)  The whole place is basically just a huge rose garden.  It’s literally breathtaking.

There are lots of different varieites, some which I’ve never seen before . . . all different sizes, colors, shapes.  I was overwhelmed with all of them.  And the fragrance . . . the whole garden SMELLS like roses.  When the breeze would pick up, the scent of roses would just waft over the entire park.  How wonderful!


What’s really interesting to me, though, is that I feel like I discover a new “favorite place” at least once a week here.  I’ve found Schwedenplatz (great gelato and people watching), St. Stephen’s, the Graben, the Hofburg, Schonbrunn, parts of the Ringstrasse, and now the Volksgarten — all of which, depending on my mood, I would probably call my favorite place.  These are places I keep going back to, the places I take the boys for a stroll in the afternoon, the places I fantasize about showing to my family when they come to visit.  Vienna is truly a beautiful city.  I have so much left to explore, and probably, even more favorites to find.


Today, when we were at the Volksgarten, Benjamin got very excited and wanted to be sure that we showed the garden to Dan when he got home from work.  So, we did — we all went back this evening before dinner for another look.  And then, when it was time to leave, Benjamin cried and asked if we could come back soon . . . and we can.  In fact, we can go back tomorrow.  That’s how fortunate we are — not only do we have the freedom to discover all of these favorite places, but we can go back, whenever we like.  Maybe that’s my favorite thing.