December 18, 2007 in Travel

Stephansdom & Karlskirche

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Karlskirche Church
Have I mentioned how cold it is here? Seriously, I haven’t been this cold since living in Chicago and as a result I am starting to second guess my decision to take a mini-break to a wintry city. Don’t get me wrong, Vienna is lovely but as someone who likes to spend much of my vacation time outside exploring whatever city I’m visiting — I am finding it quite the challenge even though I’m bundled up.
In any event, on today‚Äôs agenda was a visit to Stephansdom, a gothic Cathedral in the middle of Vienna and only a short walk from my hotel. Once within the magnificent structure I was overwhelmed by its beauty and felt moved to pray. I know! I know! I know! I haven’t really planned to but once I started, it was a bit difficult to stop.
A short while later, I noticed that the guards weren’t letting people in anymore as they were preparing for noon mass. So I decided to stick around and take part in the service. Now, I don’t understand German, but that almost didn’t matter. The music was quite recognizable and so I sang along quietly in English! Same for the prayers. Then there was an opportunity to take holy sacrament. I won’t say whether or not I partook, since I am not Catholic — but the whole experience was just beautiful!
Feeling energized, I then headed to the MuseumQuarter where I immersed myself in the Austrian artwork at the Leopold Museum for most of the afternoon.
Later, I spent time at Karlskirche, which my travel book describes as a baroque masterpiece. That my friends is not an overstatement. Even with the structure currently under renovations, the church is just breathtaking. And thanks to an elevator and some treacherous looking stairs which they installed to allow for panoramic views (for a fee of course!), I got to see the very top close up. Just gorgeous!
More importantly, visiting these two places of worship made me feel a little bit closer to God! So I guess a little bit of discomfort with the weather is a small price to pay.

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