|Reception Area on Second Floor of Pension Pertschy|
I remember the room - beds for six, high ceilings, large windows opening to the street below. It was 1969 and my family had been traveling in Europe for weeks, arriving in Vienna on July 17th. The large, friendly woman in reception at the Pension Pertschy offered to house us all in one room. “Talk about togetherness”, commented my mother in her diary. Mom had booked the pension upon recommendation of “Europe on $5 a Day”, the book that opened up a world of economic travel in Europe. In the heart of historic Vienna, the hotel’s location allowed us to walk to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna State Opera, Spanish Riding School and the Albertina museum.
|Finished Exterior dates from 1605|
Fast forward forty four years to 2013. My friends and I were planning a trip to Vienna and one recommended the Pension Pertschy based on its location and price. Only after reviewing my mother’s diary did I realize it was the same hotel we had used in 1969. Since it was still owned by the same family, I wanted to know what had happened in the last four decades and asked to speak with a family member upon arrival.
Licia Pertschy is married to Thomas, son of the original owners of the pension. His father was Hungarian whose family left for Canada when the Communists arrived. His mother was German who moved to Canada for the adventure. They met in Toronto, married and had two children there. Mr. Pertschy’s sister, Therese (Aunt Resi), wrote them of an opportunity to buy a pension in Vienna. After purchasing the pension together in 1964, the family moved to Vienna where their son, Thomas, was born. Aunt Resi would have been the woman who greeted us in 1969.
The business began with a reception area, washroom, and 12 rooms that had housed military students from a nearby academy. Being named in “Europe on $5 a Day” was a huge boost for them. Over the years, the family added rooms as they became available with 55 rooms now used by guests. In 2005, a large, exterior elevator replaced the small, cramped one we used in 1969. The family works hard to maintain its four star rating, a rating system that is less about luxury and more about safety, security and certain amenities.
|Breakfast Buffet at Pension Pertschy|
|Breakfast Buffet at Pension Perstchy|
Their guests have always included Americans but I didn’t hear many of our accents at breakfast. Licia noted a larger number of Spaniards now visiting. Statistics bear out the changing face of visitors to Vienna. Germans and Austrians are the largest groups, as always. But in 2012, Russian tourists surpassed the number from the United States, China’s travelers grew by 40% and Saudi Arabians’ by 76% - all contributing to a record year.
|Courtyard of Pension Pertschy|
Pension Pertschy Website