Österreichische Ferien

Some thoughtful and generally valuable reflection on New Year’s would probably be in line here. After all, it is that time of year(s?) That being said, I’m going to use this time (which happens to be spent on hotel-internet in Salzburg) doing nothing of the sort. Instead, a few thoughts on my Austrian vacation…

First things first: Austrians—and I would imagine all German-speaking types—are a cleanly race. It only takes a few weeks in Rome to realize the utter grime with which the city is covered (e.g. graffiti, dirt, dog ‘stuff,’ etc.). Things here are much more, well…organized. All the stereotypes are true: buses run on time, people eat dinner at normal hours, traffic proceeds in predetermined directions, etc. I was floored when we first got to Vienna and I saw a couple people waiting to cross an intersection that had a red light, even though there were no cars, trams, bikes or even potentially harmful pedestrians anywhere in sight! The regard for order and regularity here is absolutely ausgezeichnet!

Second idea: among all the cool things we’ve seen, by far and away the coolest have been the churches. I had no idea that Austria was so Catholic, but apparently it is, and it seems that its history has something to do with the current trend of religion in the country as well. To put it bluntly, the churches here are beautiful; not only because they share in the same organized style I was noting above, but because of the immense care put into their construction. Americans, upon seeing such foreign marvels, are often awestruck. Nevertheless, it seems that we do nothing to instill in our own culture the same beauty that we wonder at elsewhere. The Austrians prove, however, that noble simplicity is very possible. What’s more, they show that such nobility transcends ages and continues to inspire the faith even today. Enough said on that topic.

Thirdly: food. One word. “Wow!” After a steady diet of pasta, bread, breaded pastas, oil, bread dipped in oil (you get the idea), a week of wiener schnitzel has been heaven. And not only schnitzel but potatoes, pickles, apple strudel, bratwurst, goulash and hefe-weize beer! Let me just say, these people know how to eat well and really enjoy healthy portions of meat. (N.B. If anyone has been contemplating sending a care package, take note of this discussion.)

With that, I’ll say Auf Wiedersehen until later… more to come when I get back to Rome. Happy New Year’s!

  1. gravatar

    # by Kyle Gase - January 1, 2008 at 11:53 AM

    Andrew,

    Great blog! I stumbled upon it and found it to be very interesting.

    I'm in the application process right now to become a seminarian for the diocese. It's been quite the experience so far and I've only just begun!

  2. gravatar

    # by Andrew Haines - January 2, 2008 at 5:46 PM

    Kyle,

    Thanks for the note. I'm glad you like the blog (even though I've been doing quite terribly at keeping it up-to-date lately.)

    I'm also glad to hear that you are in the process of application. I've heard your name, but that's about it. Where are you from? How's it goin? Feel free to email me instead of messaging on here: ahaines@pnac.org.

    Later!