Leaving Austria – not easy

The last report left the Red Rockette and this old duffer busy getting ready to leave the lovely, historic soaring site of Spitzerberg just east of Vienna, Austria.  Just a couple of days prior to leaving, a crew from Austrian National TV showed up. A hasty formation flight briefing was completed with the director of the local Aero Club and a local flight over the magnificent grounds of a local schloss (palace) was flown with the crew.One of the joys of watching young people grow up is seeing them when they now have married and have their own children.

Such was the case by reconnecting with the nephew of my old friend Josef, of Reno’s “Josef’s Vienna Patisserie”. Sadly, Josef, originally from Vienna, has passed away but Stefan, his nephew, has taken up the family trade and built it up from one bakery to numerous outlets around Vienna.  He now has a beautiful family and is an outstanding baker.  He works hard but finds time to enjoy life with his family.  I met him many years ago when he was visiting his uncle in Reno and trying to decide what to do with his life.  A ride in a Grumman Albatross was my gift to Josef and Stefan.  He still has fond memories of that ride to Lake Tahoe.  Hopefully it had a small part in his maturing process.

Ready to leave Spitzerberg, I noticed that their windsock was somewhat tattered from a recent windstorm.  At that moment the “Windsock Federation” (of the world?) was created.  The new Federation contributed the cost of a new windsock to the club. More on that another time.  Leaving Spitzerberg was not easy. I had spent several weeks there, made new friends, enjoyed some air touring in Slovakia with old friends, listened to some good music at a local concert, and learned some of the history of the local area.  All good stuff.

Flying to another nice little airport at Gmunden, Austria, I was the guest of another Austrian friend.  He and family took me to the lovely village of Bad (Bath) Ischl, took coffee in a historic cafe on the river, then climbed a well known mountain and toured a famous salt mine.  Then cable cars to the top of the mountain for some of the worlds most wonderful views.  A local Staggerwing ride the next day confirmed that this has to be one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

A couple of days back at nearby St. Georgen airfield where my Austrian adventure all began was most enjoyable.  This was sort of a “goodby” visit with many new friends there.  Noticing that the earlier mentioned windstorm had done a number on this aero clubs windsock as well, the new “Windsock Federation” contributed funds for a replacement.  These folks had been very good to me and some sort of gift was in order.

Then it was time to wander away from Austria and head off to sunny Italy.  One of my daughters and her husband were going to be visiting Italy and the plan was to join them for part of their journey.  So the Austrian adventure ends for this year. The adventures of flying a Staggerwing in sunny Italy begin in our next visit.

Captain Biff Windsock

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