Answering the Call
Vienna Seminar, 7.7 - 9.7 '17 :: A BLOG
Back again there in Austria to The City Itself after many group years 'in the land' - mostly in Linz, also Wolfsberg, and also Graz, and elsewhere. Must be 25 years since I last seminared here in Vienna...
I found the city, light - not that I covered much city ground, geographically speaking, whilst there, but I did not need to in order to feel a new lightness - after the dark and sinister years of the late Thirties and early Forties. The new generations having created fresh foundations, and a lighter air. I felt energetically quite at home there. Really comfortable.
Mishka joined me for this one, chiefly to spend the weekend with my (by now) close friends and local organizers for decades, Sandipa & Anuradha, who over the years with many meetings elsewhere and here at home, have become also her close and beloved friends. So Friday, they met us at the airport, took us to our hotel - where they were also staying during our group time there - and from there we took off.
The Centre where we had our Wild Goose time was great, known as Shambala. A good crowd, including Wild Geese I'd not seen for some years, and also seven new people, including a 'Meditation Group' who had been with Burkhart Kiegeland (Wild Goose name, Buddha, so known to all of us here as B-B), and maybe they still are 'with him' though he sadly died last year in Switzerland, to where he had moved his operations. In addition, Mishka, who has of course joined me as an assistant many times, chose this time to be a 'straight' participant.
Sandipa writes about the Group: It was so great, so full of wonders, this group, I found it so exceptional, so deep, so profound, so much happening for the people, so much truth, so much fullness and emptiness at the same time...
...and as for the participants, Anjelo, who was for many years a regular, but not since some years, writes: After all these years... nothing had been lost, Friday being in a state of total bliss, tears of sheer gratefulness streaming down my face, bursting with joy and happiness for almost the whole session...I really missed you, the work and all the old friends - and yet this weekend it was as if not even one day had passed by...
And a really great Italian restaurant hosted almost all of us on Saturday night.
But our time there was not over. We went with Anuradha & Sandipa to their newish home in the countryside, ate with them al fresco under the trees in a local restaurant, stayed at their home of course, and next day we went for a long stroll by an arm of the great Danube, my 3 companions taking the opportunity to dive in and cool off. Then it was back for long and valuable chats, lunch, and the drive to the airport for our flight back to Basle, and home.
Or so we thought.
The Universe had other ideas. On the drive to the airport it began to rain, then rain&rain, then came hailstones as big as ping-pong balls crashing on the bodywork of Anuradha's car, heavier & heavier, till most cars, going both ways, stopped, tried to find some shelter, but we ploughed on, finally reaching the airport in time for our flight - which of course would have to wait the storm out. Storm? Turned out it was a tornado! Our incoming plane could not land and was diverted to Bratislava. That came first. Next came the news that our flight to Basle was cancelled altogether. And that's flat. So there we were again - as in Atlanta in the USA just recently, directed to the Trouble-Shooter counters, for an alternative plan. Once again along with us were another 300 or so people - our number was 285!- so we were waiting and waiting, numbers now only up to 150, when Mishka saw, around a corner, a counter for Business Class passengers, and in a moment it was free too, so up I went, although not in business class, but with my silver card (Frequent Flyer), was accepted, and we immediately got tickets for a flight to Munich, and from there on to Basle, arriving there around 23.00.
BUT, all planes were of course delayed, and what is more the storm had moved also to Munich, so no landings there for a while, leaving us waiting in the plane for an hour before taking off, so by the time we got to Munich our flight to Basle had departed - so once again, with many others, we were off to the Reorganization Counter, but this time we were soon seen, and told to get the shuttle bus to an Airport Hotel, and be back for the early morning seven o'clock flight to Basle.
It turned out that the shuttle bus to the hotel ran just once every hour - and when we got to the courtyard from where it ran, it was just leaving - so at least some luck! The bus was full, full of flightless passengers, but we soon got a room for ourselves, and also, in good German style, there was free food layed out in the reception area, and free drinks in the bar too, so by soon after 12 midnight we were in our room and out for the count; then up again at 05.30 for the shuttle bus back to the airport, and for a flight that left - and arrived - on time. We had left the car in Basle on Friday, so we were soon home, and me more than ready for breakfast and coffee and a quick nap.
The story not yet quite finished, though. I had of course handed my baggage in on arrival at Vienna airport. I had also been assured all along the line that my luggage would (miraculously? or through magic computering?) arrive in Basle with me (always following the owner, they said) but I was highly sceptical, and rightly so. A no-show. But on Wednesday it was delivered here, and restored to us. So my CDs are safe! (and of course the rest of the contents too).
That storm. It was just about the worst I have ever encountered, counting in monsoons in India, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere. I hear there's a video of it, with trees sailing through the air, so in some places, even worse than what we encountered - and somehow survived.
Now we limber up for the last leg of OPT5, starting on Saturday 15/7 - and this we look forward to, last polish on the wonderful people who have lived it and loved it. Then to Parimal again for our Summer Festival, with lots of great and close people as usual, and lots of Barnetts coming too, a nice bonus for me...
Then directly afterwards we all here in the OPT team and the House team, welcome all the new boys and girls at UNACHO for the 'separate' start of OPT6. We know that once again it is going to be just great!
PS: Shambala in Vienna has already now been reserved for next year from 08-10 July 2018