Many of you will know that I am originally from Austria, but that I have been living in Toronto for more than 20 years. I left Austria early on, by myself, at the young age of 20 and found a permanent home in Canada’s largest, most multicultural city. I always realized that I originally came from a beautiful country, but somehow the big wide world was calling me and settling in Canada’s most cosmopolitan urban centre has been a great decision.
In the early years I used to go back home every year when my father and grandmother were still alive. My mother had already passed away more than 20 years ago. But from 1995 onwards, after the death of my father and grandmother, I paid very few visits to Austria and thinking of my home country often brought back sad memories of people that had passed away. So for almost 9 years I did not travel back home at all until in 2004 I decided to go back for my 20th high school reunion which in itself was an interesting experience.
Now, almost three years later, there was a big reason to go back to my home town: my brother Ewald’s 50th birthday. This big round birthday of my only sibling was an event I simply couldn’t miss. And in addition, I made the decision to discover my part of Austria through the eyes of a travel writer and really take advantage of the sights and activities that my home town and its surrounding regions have to offer.
So this Thursday I boarded an Air Transat plane to fly from Toronto to Vienna and one hour into it I realized that we also were making a stop in Montreal which added about two hours on to the trip. As an astute traveller, I always try to save money on travel, and Air Transat was about $500 less expensive than going with Air Canada or Austrian Airlines. But I also realized that Air Transat planes are packed in very tightly and there is very little space between seat rows. As a matter of act, when the lady in front of me tilted back her seat rest I almost thought she was going to knock my teeth out.