recently i spent almost six weeks in austria: with family, friends and a bit of work. it was a good trip but a little bitter-sweet, too.
the worst part is commercial air travel, every time: i'm by no means rich enough to afford business class tickets and at 186cm tall travelling in cattle class between australia and austria is fairly painful at best.
even a nice view like this cannot make up for the cramped surrounds.
the sweet parts were certainly seeing family and friends again and spending time with all of them. but even six weeks do evaporate very quickly, and i didn't have a lot of slack time.
my nephews and niece particularly enjoyed my presence and availability - and so did conny's cat and dog!
this time i also managed to spend a little time outside of vienna; a few days of camping at the river kamp and one day trip to the waldviertel region.
the bitter-sweet aspect is that it feels somewhat odd to revisit austria; almost everything is very familiar, you certainly do know your way around and it's interesting to see some things change (and others not at all) - but i'm not quite feeling at home there anymore.
my family did everything to make me feel welcome and they certainly succeeded; but even the very nice places of my two sisters and my daughter weren't my place...i'm not sure that i can describe this kind of odd feeling properly.
somehow my visits to austria also tend to be very busy, no matter how long or short, and not especially relaxing for me: i feel quite restless there and 'doing nothing' isn't easy for me but i do try!
consequentially i spent a fair amount of time doing a variety of stuff for my family, along the lines of "while you're here, could you maybe help me with whatever?".
i don't mind because visiting austria doesn't quite feel like taking a vacation to me anyway (maybe because it's all so familiar?), and being restless means Doing Stuff gives me the satisfaction of improving things. my family also rewarded me with a cool t-shirt :-)