By Jon|August 30, 2008|Austria|

The city I traveled to was Vienna. We came after a tour of the Cathedral of St. Polten and arrived for the day at Josefsplatz where we began the tour. We stopped by the Minoritenkirche and had Mass, then we went through the St. Michaelplatz and the Hofburg. We passed the palace and learned that it is the third largest building in the world, from whose balcony Hitler announced his rule in 194-something, Pope John Paul spoke from it about Human Rights in the 80’s and in 2005 Franciscan University Students spoke from it as well. We went into the chapel, the place where many Hapsburgs were married and it looked beautiful except for a modern Spack looking altar. There was a pyramid-like tomb which was made by Maria Theresa for her favorite daughter, but her daughter was never buried there anyways. Then we ate lunch in the cellar at the Zwolf Apostelkeller. Now a restaraunt, it has had many uses in times of war and peace since it was built in 1100. it was both a style of German, my favorite. I sat at a table with all girls none of whom I knew. It was good to meet people I didn’t know it yet, but of course they were more interested in talking then eating.I think their names were Jillian LaRose, Emma Smits Charlie Adams and two others. After we were finished we went up the laws stairway which led to the ground-level and gathered outside we were about to be set free to explore Vienna on our own. Then we did and I started out walking/leading with Jen Heaps but ended up going to with many different people. We went back to the Cathedral once more wandering through the streets and observing the people.

The outside of the Cathedral looked like it had been charred from something, I was guessing the bombs from World War II. We went straight inside for another look around and I tried to get some videos and pictures of the inside but this is when I first realized the importance of having a sufficient flash for the camera. Most of the pictures I got were blurred as you can see. It was some of the most beaufiful baroque that I would see in all of Europe was in these Churches and especially in St. Stephen’s Cathedral… even though it was Gothic. The roof was destroyed in WWII, but rebuilt in ten years to match exactly the way it was before. The belltower was being repaired so it wasn’t as spectacular as it could’ve been but its a worthy cause because of all the black on the outside. Thankfully the inside of this church was not really that modernized which was suprising for a place like Vienna. I went to the back of the Cathedral and found that everyone was praying at the little side chapel, which was relatively open, so I prayed there too until we left. After going outside, we sort of just formed our own groups, though it was kind of random how people bunched up because most people were still just getting to know each other. I ended up with John Paul Ali and Brendan and so we walked around a bit down the main Strasse. Then we found a random glass building that was relatively high and had an elevator, looked like it had a place on top to eat. We got in the building off the busy street and went in the glass elevator like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. After getting to the top, we walked out into a very fine restaurant that looked way above our price range, but we went out onto the deck. I ordered some kind of strange soda (I think it was alcoholic) while the other two got some capucinno. It was a completely sunny day so it was a beautiful view and there was a space needle visible from my side of the table off in the distance. I forget what we talked about really–probably about what our plans were for the rest of the day and the semester (always exciting, until the end). Then after a while we headed downstairs again because soon we would have to meet the busses back at the Franciskirche. We watched a few street performers and saw a few other people who were heading back so we went with them (its blurry who they were and what exactly we did, ill add it in here later if i remember) and soon we ended up back infront of a really neat staircased building on a main road. Me ROb and Paul were throwing little cherries off the top of it at the girls and somehow thought it was hilarious, I guess it was to see their reaction as if it rains in a differnt way in Austria. Then we found some strange window sill in which we fit about 6 guys on the side of the building, it was impressive and theres a picture. At this time the buses were here and we loaded up. I sat in the back and Rob and I were surrounded by very hyper talkative girls, I forget their names though. The bus took off for Gaming and it seemed like a very long bus ride, but really it was one of the shortest trips we would take from Gaming all semester. The Sister explained everything we needed to know about getting back to Gaming in case we miss the last train etc, but basically it comes down to if you have money you can do anything.

About Jon

Jon connects leaders and organizations to Catholic philosophical resources to battle for the soul of the western world.