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Archive for austria

Into Thin Air in Austria

By Linda Tancs

The best way to climb the majestic Nordkette mountain range (the heart of Innsbruck, Austria) is to step onboard the Nordkettenbahnen (cable car). The futuristic Hungerburgbahn hybrid funicular railway travels through a tunnel, then over an imposing bridge across the Inn River, and finally traverses an incline of 46 percent to reach the Hungerburg, over 2,800 feet above sea level. If the panoramas from the spacious gondolas don’t meet your requirements, then continue on to the final stage of the Nordkettenbahnen, the Hafelekarbahn. It takes you from Seegrube to Hafelekar, a 7,400-foot-high summit that promises 350 days of cloud-free views a year.

The Year of Klimt

By Linda Tancs

2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gustav Klimt, an Austrian painter and illustrator.  Ten Viennese museums will herald the event with special exhibitions throughout the year, featuring his paintings, drawings and designs.  The Belvedere has the world’s largest collection of Klimt paintings, where a special exhibition is already underway highlighting his collaboration with Josef Hoffmann.  Later, in May, don’t miss the first public viewing of the Wien Museum’s collection of 400 Klimt drawings.  In the meanwhile, don’t miss the Art History Museum event beginning next month, or the spectacular events scheduled for Albertina, the Theatre Museum, Kuenstlerhaus, Folklore Museum, Leopold or the Museum of Applied Art.

High Society Shines in Vienna

By Linda Tancs

The evening view of the Vienna State Opera is spectacular, but what happens in it today has high society all aglow.  The auditorium of the State Opera hosts debutantes in white rustling gowns crowned with crystal tiaras and men in tails, regaling guests in a precise and dizzying waltz around the dance floor.  Held on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, a ticket to the ball is one of the world’s most coveted.  Get your dancing shoes ready for next year.

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Opera on the Lake at Bregenz

By Linda Tancs

The town of Bregenz, the capital of Vorarlberg in the westernmost area of Austria, is located on the Bodensee (Lake Constance). Like any lake district, it offers striking views of the neighboring settlements from its eastern shores, especially those viewed from mount Pfänder towards Lindau. Unlike any other lake district, it has an open-air floating stage to mesmerize visitors during the annual Bregenzer Festspiele, a summer music festival open now through 22 August. This year’s opera on the lake is Verdi’s Aida, a fitting selection for a story that uses the banks of the Nile as a backdrop.  As if that setting weren’t memorable enough, you can add to the experience with the purchase of a premium ticket for Festival Lounge, which includes a four-course dinner and a loaner of Swarovski opera glasses for viewing the four-act extravaganza in the lounge’s comfortable, covered viewing area.  Your chariot awaits.

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Mozart Celebrated in Austria

By Linda Tancs

The hills are indeed alive with the sound of music as Salzburg readies for its annual Mozart Week beginning tomorrow, timed as always to coincide with the birthday of Austria’s musical genius on 27 January. The International Mozarteum Foundation organizes performances from musicians, singers and orchestras around the world. Of special note is a series of concerts to commemorate both Mozart and Haydn, Mozart’s mentor. At the Mozart Residence an exhibition highlighting their mutual admiration will continue until 31 May. Here’s a good opportunity to understand Mozart the artist and Mozart the man.

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European Culture East to West

By Linda Tancs

Year-long festivities are kicking off in Lithuania and Austria as the cities of Vilnius and Linz, respectively, take top honors from the EU as a European Capital of Culture. In Lithuania’s largest city and capital, the program of events coincides with the country’s millenium celebrations and its contest to anoint a new Lithuanian Capital of Culture for the town or city with the best cultural project. A particular high note for the EU’s honoree is the song and dance festival in July, during which 30,000 voices will unite in song. On the western front, the Danube city of Linz (Austria’s third largest) will showcase its art and art exhibitions, including summer’s famous street art fair and Ars Electronica, the world-renowned media arts festival in early September. So which will it be–Lithuania or Austria? Why not go Baroque and visit both.

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Air Barista

By Linda Tancs

Okay, so there’s really not an airline by that name.  But Austrian Airlines Group is a strong contender for the title, billing itself as the first Viennese coffee house above the clouds. Business class passengers get to choose from 10 of the finest Austrian coffees such as Kaisermelange and Franziskaner.  Business class is also touted for its unparalleled sleep comfort.  Seems to me you have a choice: enjoy the fine coffee or get a good night’s rest for, as the saying goes, “Sleep is a symptom of caffeine deprivation.”

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