May 24, 2013, 5:25 PM EDT
Notre Dame Volleyball got off to an early start today to say farewell to Prague. It was an amazing experience spending time in such a beautiful city. Although I was a little sad to leave, I was really excited to travel to Vienna. I had heard wonderful things about Austria and I was looking forward to seeing such a historical place.
The bus ride to Vienna was pretty long. A lot of people slept, but I was engrossed in a book so I managed to stay awake the whole way. In addition, the Czech and Austrian countrysides were so beautiful that I didn’t want to close my eyes in case I missed any of the amazing views. At one point, when we were up in the mountains, I couldn’t get any reading done because I kept looking out the window over the stunning valleys and mountains.
Vienna took my breath away. Once we entered the city the most amazing buildings surrounded us. I am a history buff so I couldn’t wait to get started looking at more buildings and learning about the city. We stopped the bus in front of the Hofburg Palace, the center of the Hapsburg monarchy for over six hundred years. It was huge, but so elegant at the same time. We quickly moved through the courtyard and entered the middle of the city, right in one of the many shopping areas. We went immediately from there to see Saint Stephen’s Cathedral.
Saint Stephen’s Cathedral tower somehow dominated the skyline, even though tall buildings surrounded it. It amazed me that the oldest surviving parts of the Cathedral dated back to the thirteenth century. We went in and were surrounded by every possible color. The windows were covered in colors that illuminated the Cathedral. An organ was being played making the Cathedral feel even more Gothic. It was an incredible sight.
After seeing the Cathedral we had some time on our own. A few others girls and I decided to try the bratwurst, which Austria is known for. It was delicious. Then we broke off further to shop and check out the cafes.
We ended up at Café Leopold Hawelka, and Toni Alugbue, Hilary Eppink and I ordered the Iced Coffee, which was actually coffee with ice cream! It was so good. After that, we navigated our way back through the city to the park by the palace and boarded the bus to go to the “summer home” of the monarchy.
This was actually just another palace. It was incredible. We were lucky enough to go on a tour through the palace, and learned about Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth, the last emperor and empress of Austria. The house was grand and everyone loved the tour. A few of us sprinted out to the gardens and zoo, but unfortunately our time in Vienna was shorter than I myself wanted, and we had to leave to head to Maribor.
The drive from Vienna to Maribor, Slovenia was equally as beautiful as from Prague to Vienna. We arrived at the ski resort in Maribor that we are staying in and were blown away. The mountains were amazing and we were jumping around like little kids in our excitement.
We had an excellent dinner and then headed to bed, looking forward to another day full of adventure, and the chance to play the Slovenian National Team.
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