A Weekend in the Golden Apple

Once the glittering jewel at the center of the Archduchy of Austria, and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Vienna is a city rich in culture and history the world over.  Originally founded in the 12th century, the city eventually grew to be the seat of the Hapsburg dynasty and become one of the most powerful and rich cities in Europe, even rivaling the likes of Paris and London for importance and wealth on the continent.  Even up to this day, it is still seen as one of the most cultured cities in Europe, evoking images of waltzes, coffee houses, and classical musicians.

Over the last weekend, I had the pleasure of being able to visit this magnificent city.  While boasting a world class collection of historical sites and museums, Vienna also has a very important cultural history that has impacted the world stage far more greatly that most people even realize.  One of the most interesting tidbits about the city is the historical figures that have taken up residence within the city. One of the most interesting facts is that for a period of the 1920’s Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky, and Sigmund Freud all lived within a four block radius of each other and would sometimes even go to the same coffee houses as each other.  It is small details like this that make the city so alluring to explore for a history nut as myself. So not wanting to lose any time in the city, I made sure to choose an early flight getting in around 8:30 Friday morning in order to maximize the about of time I had to see everything.

On of the first locations that I went to was the Hofburg Palace complex.  It used to be and still is, one of the most important buildings in Austria.  Historically, the Palace started off as a residence for the Hapsburg royal family, before slowly growing to gain more wings and administrative sections for the government until it turned into one of the primary administrative buildings for the Austrian Empire.  Today, it is still important as it houses the Austian Chancellor as well as still hosting the Austrian Parliament. While the outside of the building is stunning, playing host to many different architectural styles, the interior hosts many spectacular museums such as the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Treasury.  The treasury in particular was an amazing museum as it houses all of the remaining jewels, treasure items, and coronation regalia for the Hapsburgs that were not taken into exile during the exile. It had everything from the crowns used by the various Kingdoms the Hapsburgs ruled over (Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary) to the robes and clothing worn by some of its most famous rulers like Maria Theresa and Fancis II.  Most importantly, it also housed the collection of the items owned by the Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (such as the Imperial Crown, the spear the pierced Christ’s side, and the fragment of the true cross) and is the first time in history all of the treasures of the Holy Roman Emperor are housed in the same building.  

Another place that I was incredibly excited to see was Schönbrunn Palace.  Originally rebuilt after the Second Siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Empire as a hunting palace, it was expanded by Empress Maria Theresa to rival the French palace at Versailles.  At that point it became one of the primary residences of the Hapsburg Dynasty, housing Maria Theresa and all of the rulers that followed her. It is even where Franz Joseph I, one of the longest reigning monarchs in history lived and eventually died in 1916.  Besides the incredible mix of Baroque and Rococo architectural styles, the palace hosts an amazing garden, filled with many hedge and tree rows cut into amazing geometric patterns. It is all capped off by the amazing Gloriette perched on top of the hill overlooking the gardens and palace and offers amazing views of the city.  All in all, I was incredibly happy to be able to spend such a wonderful weekend exploring and experience the wonders that the “Golden Apple” (as it was termed by the Ottoman Armies) had to offer.

My leadership style before my internship could be described as a lead by example style.  While being vocal, I have always tried to be an example for those that I am working with to follow in lue of being overbearing or dictatorial.  This would range from everything to sports in Highschool where I tried to set a work ethic for others to follow or in clubs and activities on campus where I would try my hardest to put forward the best possible work for others to follow.  However, this internship has changed my leadership style. It has forced me to realize that I need to be more vocal and communicative with those that I am working with in order to help create the best possible product. I think this is making me a better leader because it is helping to round out and filling the gaps of my leadership.  While being vocal in the past, it has shown me that I do sometimes need to step up and say more than I originally would have and to not just let my work do the talking.