A trip to Tokyo via Vienna in sad circumstances
In December 2009 we went to Vienna for a long weekend break.
My wife is very interested in Gustav Klimt and the other Vienna secessionists, so the idea was to combine a look around the art galleries with some browsing in the shops. As it was approaching Christmas there would be the chance to see the festive markets as well. Naturally some hearty Austrian cooking and some visits to the famous coffee shops were also on the agenda.
It was to be my wife’s first visit although I had previously seen Vienna on our inter rail trip in 1984 and on some business trips since. The timing for the trip was quite tight. We would fly out early Friday morning and then back on Monday evening. Then on the Tuesday morning I would need to be on a flight to Tokyo for a business trip to meet an important supplier. I would return on the following Sunday.
We left as planned on British Airways and spent the first day wandering around the Belvedere Palace.
In the evening we were in the main cathedral when we got the phone call from the nursing home in Blackpool to say that my mother had just died. The news was not totally unexpected, she was 79 and had been suffering from dementia and heart problems for a few years, but it was still a shock. I had last seen her the previous weekend and although she seemed very weak I had not quite prepared myself for the news I then received.
I talked with my wife, with the staff from the nursing home and with my only other surviving relative. I decided that rather than cancel the trip and return to the UK we would carry on with it.
Not only that, I would also carry on with the trip to Japan as well before finally returning to the UK to arrange the funeral. I gave it a lot of thought and I felt sure that was what my mother would have wanted. Having no brothers or sisters to consult with made the decision easier.
It felt a bit odd at the time, maybe a little selfish, but in retrospect it was a very good decision. The trip around Vienna, the subsequent long flight to Tokyo and the time I spent there gave me a lot of time to think about my mother’s life and to come to terms with her passing.
In Japan I had some spare time on the Saturday and I went to visit the new Railway museum at Omiya just north of Tokyo in Saitama. My mother was still very much on my mind as I wandered around and I remembered the first ever trips I made with her to watch the trains at Preston.
Some of the thoughts I had during the trip were terribly sad and others were quite joyful. Altogether it was a very therapeutic experience. It certainly made me much more able to cope with the funeral when I returned home.
The photographs below are very important to me. On one level they are just pictures of a very enjoyable trip to Vienna and some free time from a business trip in Japan. On another level they remind me how exactly I was feeling in the first few days after I lost my mother.
Sausages and Schnitzels