Switzerland did not disappoint. The rugged stunning beauty of the Alps, dramatic raging rivers and waterfalls, gentle verdant valleys, charming towns and cities, quintessential Tyrollean architecture festooned with flowers, and spotless cleanliness make Switzerland a European gem worthy of a visit on its own. Vienna, the city of classical music and Hapsburg's glamour, is nothing short of glorious and can easily hold her own amongst the great cities of the world such as London and Rome. This tantalizing taste of Austria is now beckoning Jim and I to return. Ideas for a return trip are already churning away.
4:00 am this morning and our wake up call rang. Why does a wakeup call so jangle one's nerves? Thus began our journey home from Vienna. Fog had socked in Zurich Airport. Flights were being spaced out and so our Air Austria flight understandably but frustratingly sat on the tarmac in Vienna awaiting clearance from Zurich and Vienna to take off. "Let's just get this show in the air", I impatiently thought. Once over Zurich, we then circled for over a half an hour awaiting clearance to land. It was amusing and dizzying to watch the tight red circles form on the little GPS display above our seat and to enjoy the sun rise five times in one morning. Not a big deal, except Jim and I originally had 75 minutes between flights and a terminal change. How nerve wracking it was to watch that time frame rapidly diminish. Once disembarked, we ran, catching the train from Terminal A to Terminal E, and arriving at our gate just as Air Canada was boarding. Phew!
Both Matt and Michelle discouraged us from coming home. In fact, we were ordered to stay put! Michelle wrote, "My Dad would never have wanted you to cut your trip short". I believe that. If there was anyone who understood the full meaning of "carpe diem", that would be Tony. What he might have underestimated, though, is how much Jim and I loved him. How important it would be to honour his life.
Once our return travel arrangements were finalized, Michelle wrote, "I have to be honest in saying that I am glad you both will be here for Mom and Matt, and especially the kids. I think that they need to see you and know that you are both still okay". Copious tears flowed upon reading that note.
In my final Italian blog, I wrote, "That glorious red maple leaf on the tail wing of our Air Canada flight. No matter where we travel when I see that symbol, my heart sings. For me, that symbols says, 'Home has come to get you' and I love it". Walking down the Zurich Airport passenger tube to the plane, I glanced up and there was my maple leaf. Now it seemed to be saying, "You are needed at home and home has come to get you". My heart felt great relief.
We had discouraged all offers to pick us up at the airport. Jet lagged and exhausted, it would simply be easier to grab a limo for the final drive to Uxbridge. Upon exiting the customs/ baggage area into the main concourse, we heard music to our ears. "Grammie! Grampa!" yelled our little blonde bombshell, Morgan, as she threw herself into Jim's arms. Then came Matt's beaming smile and warm welcoming embraces. I would cancel a hundred trips for that moment in time.
Really, in the final analysis, that's what is most important in life - family and home!