Today marked the end of the second leg of our trip. It is pretty sad, because this city had so much to offer and so many beautiful sights to see that I really am going to miss it. Yesterday was a super exciting day filled with lots of walking. We all visited the Sconbrunn Palace (the Habsburg summer palace) which was absolutely amazing. The entire palace showed so much detail and luxury for something that was built in the between the 1600s and 1700s. After visiting the palace most of went on to the zoo which was located in the palace's gardens. This zoo is the world's oldest and had all of the usual zoo animals including Panda and Polar Bears which are not at every zoo. Yesterday consisted of a lot of walking and my feet are definitely feeling it today.
Today we visited the BAWAG PSK Bank. The current bank is the result of the merger between PSK which was started by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1883 and BAWAG which was founded in 1922. In 2000 BAWAG bought PSK, but the two did not officially become one bank until 2005. Here at the bank, which was a beautiful building consisting of over 17,000 nails, we listened to two presentations by two of the banks top officials. The first talked about the bank itself and the history and all the services it provides to its customers, and the second talked about the economic climate in Austria and Europe. They both gave some pretty interesting facts. One of the more interesting facts I heard was how some people are able to retire way earlier than the normal retirement age-- sometimes in their early 50s. They say this has caused a problem such as the United States social security problem. After the presentations, we were given a tour of the bank. It showed some amazing architectural work, and it is amazing how modern it is for how old it is. After the tour we were provided lunch by the bank in their cafeteria for all their workers. We had the choice between chicken or fish (you know, kind of like a wedding). I chose the fish-- which was very delicious, and then we were on our way.
After the bank visit, we were given free time to do whatever we wanted to do. I wanted to visit St. Stephen's Cathedral, shop and get souvenirs, and check out the Danube River, and I accomplished all three of those things! I'm glad I saved St. Stephen's Cathedral for the last day because it was very beautiful inside and out. Brandon and I went together and went inside the church and also climbed all 343 stairs to get to the top of it where we got an amazing view of the city of Vienna.
I will make sure to add pictures tomorrow once I get them off my camera!
See you in Prague,