02 October 2007

Wien (Vienna)

To celebrate the Feast Day (on the New Calendar) of St. Therese of Lisieux, Patroness of the ITI, the school sponsored a trip to Vienna to hear Mass offered by Cardinal Schönborn in the Stephansdom.

We arrived at Stephansplatz around 11:00 AM. The Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral) dates back to the 12th century (Wikipedia link). The dominant feature of the Stephansdom, the 445 foot south tower, was unfortunately under construction and covered with scaffolding.

After looking inside the Tolkienesque Cathedral we headed for the Hofburg Imperial Palace (Wikipedia link), seat of various governments since 1279. Below is a a shot of the so-called New Palace with the balcony from which both Adolf Hitler and Pope John Paul II have addressed Austria.

After walking through the Hofburg we headed for the Vienna State Opera House (Wikipedia link). It's an impressive sight even from the outside.

Just behind the opera house, and across the street, stand the five-star Hotel Sacher and the Cafe Sacher, home of the world famous Sachertorte - a chocolate lover's dream (Wikipedia link). We sat and enjoyed drinking espresso with cream and eating our Sachertorte in a delightful Viennese cafe. Maria especially enjoyed the whipped cream.

After hearing Mass at 6:00 we were received personally by the Cardinal, who gave Maria a special blessing. Then we headed for dinner - it defies description. The food was unmemorable, but the experience was unforgettable. There must have been about 100 of us packed around long wooden tables being entertained by local musicians (one with an accordian!), eating ham and chicken and saurkraut, drinking beer and wine and toasting everything under the sun in fine Ukrainian fashion, BUDMO, HEY! It was fun, and very, very loud. Undergraduates and grad students, professors and priests, parents and kids all raised their glasses, and quite a ruckus. When all was said and done we didn't arrive home until about 12:30 tired, but happy.

To see more of our pictures of the day visit our Vienna album.


big daddy said...

Which Stephen is Stephansplatz and Stephansdom? Stephen the protomartyr or Stephen of Hungary? Or another one?

John said...

The protomartyr.

big daddy said...

Great, thanks.

Nana said...

Beautiful photos of Vienna. It sounds like a wonderful day! At Mass on Monday, Father Mike read from the Story of a Soul as his homily...her writings say all...what could he have possibly added? She is a beautiful gift to the Church!