Every now and again, my Viennese born and bred husband asks me if I could ever have imagined that I’d be living in Vienna as a retiree. It’s at that very moment that I instantly recall my roots and unequivocally say, “No!” Notwithstanding the fact that Peter and I met in Vienna while I was on a business trip, we lived most of our 36 years of marriage in the Northeast, specifically New York City and Morristown, NJ, and never in Austria.
My second trip to Austria was to the beautiful ski town of Ischgl in the Paznaun Valley. As our relationship strengthened, it became evident to me that I would never progress to parallel skiing, my only experience flying downhill being on my Schwinn bicycle as a teenager in Newark, NJ. But, I will always remember skiing or better snow plowing from Ischgl into Samnaun, Switzerland (duty free shopping area) and the magnificent view from the top.
My third trip to Austria was on our honeymoon to Lake Wolfgang, the summer home of the family Gatscha and, in the words of my father-in-law, “der schönster Platz der Welt.” This he uttered the first and every time the view of the lake and the village of St. Gilgen came into view. And, even though I’ve seen the Grand Canyon, I did not disagree with him. The pristine, crystal clear lake water is unforgettable.
After years of living and working in Manhattan, the decision to spend our retirement in Austria was not easy. We both looked forward to living in a city again and to enjoying Lake Wolfgang in summertime, but my husband was not convinced that we would be comfortable living in the Vienna he remembered leaving behind in 1979. The multicultural fabric of city life, however, has convinced us otherwise. Whether we are strolling through the Naschmarkt, enjoying a concert or Opera performance, seeing an exhibit at the Albertina, or having dinner at any one of our favorite restaurants (Artner, Entler, Cote Sud), we are acutely aware that our decision to relocate to this beautiful, cosmopolitan city was the right one!
Of course, it almost goes without saying, yet it must be said: joining the AWA has enriched my life immeasurably. The multitude of interesting activities led by capable and friendly leadership has given me the chance to make new friends and participate at a level that is very satisfying. Today, I’m off to join Donna Scharpf and the new AWA choir!