Austria: Hidden Gems

During the month of June, I had the opportunity to travel alongside eight amazing Mount students and three phenomenal Mount faculty members to the incredible city of Salzburg, Austria. While many of you may think of The Sound of Music and Julie Andrews spinning atop a mountain, our experience of Salzburg and the surrounding cities was just as picturesque, but much more enriching.

During our month we explored the city of Salzburg, came to know the sights, the good restaurants, hidden gems and where the best gelato was. We learned about the history, music, architecture and culture of this incredible city through our courses and our own personal experiences. On many occasions we headed outside of Salzburg to anywhere from smaller towns like Bad Ischl, to massive cities like Munich or Vienna and once or twice we even found ourselves on top of some of the most remarkable mountains.

It is hard not to fall in love with everything in a city like Salzburg, it has the terrific sites, the magnificent beauty of a historical empire and honest to goodness the best food I have ever tasted in my entire life. Many days my classmates and I would find ourselves sitting in a café downtown in Mozartplatz, or roaming the streets eating a scoop or two of gelato while gazing up at the oldest military fortress in the world.

Our experience in Salzburg made us confident to navigate and explore the beautiful city of Vienna for a long weekend. In Vienna, we strolled through the city center, discovered the most renowned art museums and wandered through St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which allowed us to grow in our understanding of the universality and history of the Catholic faith. This entire month was filled with moments like this, the chance to fall in love with every little detail of these new cities and towns and leave behind a little part of ourselves in those memories.

It is hard to find a moment during this experience that stands out among the rest, every day offered something new and exciting, but one day in particular will always come to mind when I think about my time in Austria. One of our last days in Salzburg we decided to take a cable car up to the mountain called Untersburg, you can see it from almost anywhere in Salzburg, as it towers over everything surrounding it. As soon as the cable car settled at the summit I fell in love. The view was something you see on the Discovery channel; something that I literally had to ask myself, out loud, if it was real. The heights of the peak made you feel as though your fingertips could graze the clouds, and look down to see all the happenings of the city. The amount of peace that surrounds you while standing at the summit is indescribable, it truly takes you by such surprise when you finally comprehend that it is your reality.

I have always felt at home on mountain tops, and Untersburg, while much more sizable, reminded me of the blessings the Mount has given me, the chance to expand my horizons and explore the world around me in greater depth. Sitting on that mountain top, felt like coming home. I am so grateful for the time and experience Salzburg and my fellow travelers provided me. I fell in love with a mountain 4,000 miles away, but I am very blessed and excited to come home to our mountain.

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