Friday, March 6, 2009

Back to Innsbruck, Austria

The trip to Innsbruck via Frankfurt was terrific. Lufthansa left Boston Logan airport on time and except for the fact that I was in the middle seat and we had some minor turbulence, the flight was great. Luckily, I had wonderful traveling companions in the neighboring seats, a female who works in Executive Education in design at Harvard and a supply chain/quality expert from Analog Devices. The conversation that I had with them left me up-to-date as to some of the goings-on at Harvard and on supply chain challenges in the semiconductor industry. The Lufthansa flight landed early in Frankfurt and after a 2 and a half hour layover we proceeded via Tyrolean Air through the Alps (what a view) to Innsbruck. A lawyer couple from Brookline that we had met in Logan that was going skiing in Innsbruck was on the same flight.

The hotel that we are staying at in Innsbruck has been a guest house since the late 1500s. Having spent over 4 months on a Fulbright here in 2002 one would think that few would remember us. That was not the case -- even in our favorite Greek restaurant they remembered that we like ambrosia (yogurt, honey, and walnuts) as an appetizer! We visited our daughter's former school Volksschule Hottinge that now has a big gym built for the children, from grades 1 through 4. Now there is an afterschool program. In 2002, children needed to be picked up around noon which would play havoc with dual career families who did not have an opa and oma (grandpa and grandma) to help out.

We visited our neighbors on 96 Schneeburgasse and were greeted with hugs by the daughter and two children. Flowers (this is March 6, mind you, and we are surrounded by the Alps) were blooming in the garden. The Weiermair villa, which we had rented on 94 Schneeburgasse, is now replaced by a large condo complex.

Of course, we also stopped by the SOWI Business School and got to see my former secretary who was there with her 150 pound plus Newfoundlander dog and tiny dachsund. We even got to see Professor Richard Hule, who had been one of my hosts while I was on the Fulbright at the University of Innsbruck. Would you believe, he was wearing a UMass t-shirt that I had given him years ago! Life is filled with serendipitous moments such as those.

Tonight we hope to visit one of our favorite restaurants in Innsbruck which is on top of a mountain and is a farm restaurant.

Innsbruck is thriving with lovely small shops busy with customers, and children and pedestrians filling the streets. When I asked how the economy is doing, I was told several times, that people here do not ask for / need as much as in the US, and they appreciate what they have. I think there is some special wisdom here.