It was cold here today — not cool, cold. Our high was 14 Celcius, it varied between rainy and drizzly all day, and the wind went from a strong breeze to “Oh dear, what was that?!?” If you had been plopped down in Vienna today, you would absolutely have believed it was April if that’s what you’d been told. (I was thrilled, actually — I think it’s beautiful weather, and a real treat to have in July, especially after the heat we’ve had lately . . . but I think it may have been a bit too much for our fair-weather-dwelling houseguests.)
Today was, however, our first planned day of sightseeing with our visitors. They arrived Friday, we did our “chores” yesterday, and today our plan was to see two of the most essential sights of Vienna: St. Stephen’s and the Hofburg. Well, it rained and it was cold. We went anyway.
We went to St. Stephen’s. We had planned to perhaps do a tour or climb one of the towers, but Dan’s parents weren’t really interesed in the tour and the weather didn’t make the climb in the tower sound too inviting, so we were just going to explore the cathedral on our own. Of course, when we got there, the cathedreal wasn’t available to visit, but we still were able to wander around in the entry area and get to experience the beautiful church a bit.
It is amazing inside. It’s huge, and beautiful, full of statues and stained glass. It smells like incense and it’s just the right amount of dark and mysterious. There are basins of holy water in the entrance and there are prayer candles in the nooks and alcoves — Benjamin was fascinated (as he was the first time we went, on Easter). He really wanted to see the candles, so I took him to look. He asked about them and I did my best to explain. He asked if a prayer was like making a wish, and I told him that it was — that it was making a wish for good things to happen for people that you love, and that you tell it to God so that he can help you make it happen. He wanted to make a wish, so we purchased a candle and lit it. He wished for, “All the people that I love to be happy”. (I am amazed by him — by his kindness and his understanding.)
And then he asked me if he could blow the candle out, and I had to explain the difference between a prayer candle and a birthday candle. He seemed ok with it.
On the way home we walked past the Hofburg, through the Volksgarten, past the Parliament and the Rathaus and back to home, where we stayed for the rest of our rainy and cold afternoon. To me, it was a lovely Sunday, but I’m not sure we did a very good job as hosts and tour guides. That’s ok — we have 7 more days.