Vienna (the City, Not the Sausages)

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”

-John Lubbock

This past weekend, we got to have our first overnight excursion, which is only really a big deal because we got to spend more time in the city. We spent the two days in the wonderful city of Vienna. Once again, I went into the trip not knowing what to expect, since I didn’t really know what there was in Vienna. I learned that there truly is a lot of history in Vienna. Whether that be art, religion, or civilization, much has happened in Vienna throughout the centuries. The tour of the city on which we went covered so much that I can barely remember a good bit of it. I remember enough to know that it is definitely a city to appreciate.

We started off our first day by going to Mass at a small little Capuchin church. It was a humble but beautiful church (humble by Europe’s standards). Once again, it was a wonderful way to begin a new excursion: receiving Jesus Christ in the Eucharist in a beautiful church. After Mass, we took a tour of the beautiful city, during which we had the opportunity to see several more beautiful churches. Much of the Viennese (and Austrian in general) culture involves the Catholic Church, because the country is vastly Catholic, and the history of the Catholic Church is greatly intertwined with that of Austria. After the tour, we had lunch at the 12 Apostles Keller (more of the Catholic culture). I had my first wiener schnitzel there. I will say that it was very enjoyable. If you ever get a chance to go to Europe, make your way to Austria for some quality wiener schnitzel. After that, we headed to our hostel to check in for that night.

After being at the hostel for a little bit and settling in, we w100_0628ere given free time for the rest of the day; we could explore Vienna and do what we wanted to do. A group of us decided to return to St. Stephan’s, the Cathedral of Vienna, for a Holy Hour in the adoration chapel. That was a good time to appreciate the church and the presence of Christ in that church. After the Holy Hour, we wandered around a little bit in order to find dinner. We sort of wanted to find a hole-in-the-wall kind of restaurant, because you are more likely to truly know the city in that way.

While we were wandering around in an area, we saw a man standing outside of a restaurant who immediately started to explain the special in order to convince us to come in. It seemed a little suspicious to us, but it sounded like a good deal (€8 for wiener schnitzel and fries, salad, and soup). In our travel brief for the semester, they warned us about scam artists. They told us that there are always people who are trying to get the best of tourists, scamming them for as much money as they can get out of them. Basically, they warn us to be very cautious in our travels. When this man was so hospitable, we were a little worried that he was going to end up scamming us in some way. He continued to be hospitable and helpful to us throughout our meal. When we got the check, we realized that water was very expensive, but, other than that, the bill looked fine. We were sweating about it throughout the whole meal, only to find out that we had nothing about which to worry. We were remaining so cautious throughout the meal that we neglected another possibility: his true desire to be hospitable. While it is important to remain cautious, we cannot just live our lives expecting the worst in everyone. There is good in people. We need to be prepared for the bad, but we just might get that good.

After dinner, we walked around a little bit until we made our way to the Café Griensteidl – the café at which, or so they tell us, “Bambi” was written. Since Austria, and specifically Vienna, is known for coffee, 100_0649we knew that we had to get a cup of coffee whilst there. However, that evening, I was the only one amongst my friends who did so. I enjoyed a Baileys Latte. It was very good! (Baileys + coffee = [insert very enjoyable thing here].) After hanging out there for a little while, we decided that we would spend some time wandering. (As I’ve discussed before, wandering can lead us to places at which we may not arrive otherwise.) We saw much of Vienna. We definitely admired some beautiful sights, including the Rathaus. (I don’t know anything about the building, but it was quite beautiful architecture.) After wandering for a while, we realized we had no idea where we were. Because we had no true reason to worry, we continued to wander until we found our way onto the Metro/Subway/thing and then back to the hostel.

The next day started with breakfast at the hostel followed by Mass at another beautiful church. Unlike many of the other churches that we had visited, this church was gothic in architecture, rather than baroque. After Mass, once again, we were free to do what we wanted within the city of Vienna. We started our free time again with a Holy Hour in the adoration chapel at St. Stephan’s. Once again, a very beautiful time. 100_0675After the Holy Hour, we wandered around to find lunch. We ended up getting a cheese hot dog/sausage thing in a hollowed-out roll, which was very enjoyable. After that, we made our way back to the Café. We spent about two hours there, enjoying coffee, snacks, and fellowship. It was good to be able to just sit there and revel in the moment. I was drinking coffee and reading Tolkien in a café in Vienna. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. If I were to be doing all of this traveling not taking the time to realize where I am, the travel means nothing. We need to be able to take it all in and remain grateful for all that with which the Lord has blessed us. We can travel because the Lord has given us much. By taking the time to just be in the moment, we are showing Him the true thankfulness and gratitude for all that He has given us. After the café, we headed to be picked up by the buses. I was able to take a nap on the way back to Gaming, knowing that I have truly been blessed and that I didn’t waste my time in Vienna.

“Every moment and every event
of every man’s life on earth
plants something in his soul.”

-Thomas Merton

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Duc In Altum

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: What I Learned in Austria Is… | Eärendil Star

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