Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Rhine Falls – an amazing place to see!

One of the most impressive natural wonder in Central Europe are the Rhine Falls.  They are 150m wide and 23m high. The average water flow changes over the year. In Winter its going down to around 250m3/s and in Summer it averages at 700m3/s – and the more water runs the more impressive the Rhine Falls get. This year should become a pretty good year – there are loads of snow in the Mountains and when this snow starts melting in Spring and early Summer, the Rhine will receive a lot of water.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Visiting the Rhine Falls is always fun – but its best in summer when its hot and the water filled air refreshes you. There are a lot of boat tours – you can just cross the Rhine beneath the falls (going from the one Swiss province (Zurich) to another (Schaffhausen), you can take a ride towards the falls (these boats get pretty close) and there is on trip that takes you to a rock inside the falls, which can be climbed up (via stairs) and will provide you with the best views of the spectacle.

On both sides of the rivers are Castles – Schloss Wörth on the Schaffhausen side (featuring a restaurant) and Schloss Laufen on the Zurich side (with a museum about the falls in it).

The Rhine Falls were one of the first places in Europe that were visited regularly by Tourists. In my opinion it is still an absolute highlight and no one should miss out on that.

Visiting the Rhine Falls will take about half a day – afterwards you could visit the picturesque town of Stein am Rhein – more on that later!

3 Comments

Filed under random pictures from great places, Traveling in Europe

5 architectural highlights in Vorarlberg

Today I have an article published over at http://www.whatsdoto.in – it is about “Vorarlberg – a must see for lovers of good architecture

To accompany that article I would love to highlight 5 buildings in my region, that I like especially:

Kunsthaus Bregenz

Bregenz Kunsthaus...Kind of Blue

This is one of Vorarlbergs best architectural building – planned by Peter Zumthor, who won the Pritzker Prize for this building and the Therme Vals (click here for more about that), this is a must see for all architecture fans. As a plus you might find some architectural exhibitions inside the building, as it houses the Museum for Modern Art of Vorarlberg. Do not forget to take a coffee afterwards in the Museum café as this is a good example for good interior architecture.

 Festspielhaus Bregenz

Bregenz Festspielhaus

Bregenz Festspielhaus (Photo credit: digital cat )

A short walk from the Kunsthaus Bregenz next to Lake Konstanz takes you to the Festspielhaus Bregenz. This building was planned by Dietrich-Untertrifaller, a architectural company from Vorarlberg. This building might look familiar to you, there were parts of “James Bond – Quantum of Solace” shot in this building. Every summer there are the Bregenzer Festspiele – an opera festival, with one opera being staged on the  lake arena. Its one opera for two years, and every two years the whole stage is completely rebuild – do not miss out on this.

Nordwesthaus and office building, Hafen Rohner, Fussach

Deutsch: Das "Nordwesthaus" ist ein ...

Image via Wikipedia

In Fussach, a small village at the Lake Konstanz you can see this two great buildings by Baumschlager-Eberle. One, looking a little bit like a gun, is an office building, the other one, with its crystalline structur is a place for events and exhibitions – they both are parts of the “Hafen Rohner” (Port Rohner).

 Angelika Kauffmann Museum, Schwarzenberg

This museum offers something different, to the other buildings. Dietrich Untertrifaller, the architects of this building, had the task to take a 500 year old house and adapt it to a modern museum. Here you can see a mixture of old traditional architecture with modern Vorarlberger wood-architecture. The museum itself is great to see as well – Angelika Kauffmann was one of Austrias most famous neoclassical painters.

 Schneggarei, Lech

At this stop you will not only see great architecture, you can also have great food and an impressive landscape. Looking like a typical ski hut, this building offers a lot for people, who love the “hidden details” of houses.

You can find details to all mentioned buildings by clicking on their name. Unfortunately they are in german – but I believe the pictures give you a good idea about the buildings.

Leave a comment

Filed under Architectural Tourism

Lake Garda

Lake Garda

Lake Garda - an excellent place for mountain biking!

I was in Milan, Italy for two days and although there is still snow in the area, you can feel that spring is slowly approaching.

Now I am back in cold Austria (with a lot of fresh snow) and I am thinking about spring for the first time this year. One of my favorite things to do in Summer is Mountain biking. And there is nothing better to start the biking season than some tours at Lake Garda in spring.

 

1 Comment

Filed under random pictures from great places, Spring

March skiing will be great!

It’s snowing again – after weeks of arctic coldness temperature has risen to about zero degree Celsius (32 degree Fahrenheit) and at the moment it is snowing. According to the weather report this won’t stop until tomorrow, and there should be another 50 – 80 cm snow up in the mountains! are great news for people who consider to go skiing in March. This year you will be guaranteed loads of Snow.

View from Brandnertal Skiing resort

great days ahead - March 2012 will be a great month for skiers

March is one of the best times for skiing in my opinion – the high season is already over, meaning less people and lower prizes, its getting warmer already and the days are longer. Sadly in the last year snow was a problem in March – but this is just taken care of.

 

So if you have not booked your skiing holidays already, or are still considering whether to book, or not: Go for it! This March will be great!

Links to Austrian Skiing resorts:

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Winter

Traveling through Austria by Train

Today I would love to introduce you to a very convenient way to travel Austria – by railway. A lot of the major cities, in Austria are connected that way.

ÖBB tracksI just recently wrote a guest article at Voyage Articles – Three Cities to visit in Austria. There I wrote a short review about the three major Cities, tourists visit in Austria. The nice thing about Vienna, Salzburg and Innsbruck is, that they are very well connected – not only by car, but also by train. They are all part of the Westbahn-Trasse, which connects Bregenz (Vorarlberg) to Vienna – this route is one of the backbones of the Austrian railway system. This way you can go from Vienna to Salzburg in approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes. Innsbruck – Salzburg are another 2 hours and to go to Vorarlberg you will need another 2 hours. But it is well worth the way, as the railway tracks between Innsbruck and Vorarlberg run over high bridges and through narrow alpine valleys.

A lot of trains are on international routes – there are a lot of trains from Vienna to Zurich (via Feldkirch, Innsbruck, Salzburg); there are trains from Munich to Rome (via Innsbruck) and from Munich to Vienna (via Salzburg) – others run from Bregenz to Budapest (via Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna).

There is a second major route – the Südbahn. It takes you from Vienna to Carinthia (via Graz) and connects to Venice.

Visiting Europe by train is a very good alternative, as it is convenient, safe and gives you a lot of opportunities to see rural Europe. I love to travel by train, as it gives me time to read, to meet people or to work (I prefer it to flying – check out this article) There are international train tickets for Tourists who want to use the railway system in different countries – you can find information for international visitors at Eurails Homepage – European Travelers can use the Interrail System.

Deutsch: Panoramablick vom Kapuzinerberg auf d...

Image via Wikipedia

Other important links:

ÖBB (Austrian railways) Route planner: click here

Westbahn (private operator from Vienna to Salzburg): click here

1 Comment

Filed under Traveling in Europe

Valentines Day Special – the perfect romantic Hot-Spot!

the "Blütenschloss"

The Blütenschloss

Hotel Gams in Bezau, Vorarlberg is the romantic hotspot for some special days with your partner. This hotel was built around the idea to give couples a perfect time out from the daily hassles. I have a lot of friends, who visited it once with their girlfriend (or wife) and now they have to go back there over and over again, as their partner believes this to be the perfect present.

I visited Hotel Gams two years ago with my then girlfriend (now wife) and we had some excellent days. After receiving a welcome drink, we were shown our romantic suite – it had a lot of space, a feature fire place, and it was spacious. The spa area of the hotel was my favorite place – it is buried into the ground and offers everything I could ask for. Hotel Gams also offers delicious food (15 points, 2 hauben in Gault Millau) with an excellent choice of Austrian and international top-wines. The building itself consists of the original Hotel Gams, build in a very traditional way, and a modern extension, in which the Suites are located (called Blütenschloss). Over all the hotel offers, what it promises – a perfect place for couples, who want to find a break out from busy daily life and enjoy some very special days.

If you are still looking for a very special Valentine present or you want to surprise your partner with something very special, you should definitely have a look at this romantic place.

Homepage Hotel Gams – click here!

Leave a comment

Filed under special treats

Going to Berlin: Train vs Plane?

In March I will attend the biggest tourism fair worldwide – the ITB Berlin. I am really looking forward to this, as I have never attended this fair before and I never visited Berlin, either. I will use the ITB to meet potential partners for my company (www.happyheartofeurope.com)

Today I was planning my trip to Berlin and after checking flights and connections I also checked the train schedule.

This was my outcome:

Best way to get to Berlin by Plane is via Zurich Airport: It will take me 5 hours 30 minutes to get from my place to Berlin City Center and it will cost me €310 (with 15 minutes estimated from arriving at Berlin Tegel to leaving the Airport)*

To go there by Train it will take me 9 hours and 10 minutes – for €88. This is possible due to a special offer of the Austrian Railway Operator. I am not allowed to change my schedule (but I am not allowed to do this on the plane, too).*

* both options with my house as starting point

I went for the train option – for several reason:

  • Costs – €230 are good money, and as I am setting up a company, this is something I have to consider.
  • I do like train rides – I have always plenty to do: read a book, have some coffee, work on my net-book or prepare my appointments… if the train is not too crowded, a lot of work can be done. Moreover I will be able to SEE a lot of Germany, just by passing through it – and I am looking forward to that.
  • My carbon footprint – train rides are more ecological. I did some very long flights in December (to and from India) and I believe its time to be more aware of my carbon footprint again.
  • Social aspects – I somehow tend to be get drawn into interesting conversations, while taking the train – and I can remember only one conversation to a stranger on a plane. This might be connected to my
  • Slight feeling of shakiness, whenever I am flying. I know its safe, I know nothing will happen – but still I am getting nervous during when starting, during landings and whenever we hit the slightest turbulences.

 

As you can see, the time factor was not my decisive for flying. As I am using my train time to do some work, I do not feel I lose that much time, that it weights up all the other upsides of taking the train.

So, what are your thoughts … is time so valuable that you always take the fastest options? Have you suffered too much on trains to consider them (I have friends who tell me just that)? Are you a airplane enthusiast? – or would you have made the same decision?

 

4 Comments

Filed under Talking about Tourism

A swiss gem

Summer days in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland

Stein am Rhein is one of my favorite swiss towns in the area – great place to visit old houses, enjoy some ice cream and discover narrow alleys!

You want to know more about Stein am Rhein – read this post: Stein am Rhein – where Lake Constance becomes Rhine again!

Leave a comment

Filed under Hidden Gems, random pictures from great places

HISTORYcal.Feldkirch & great ideas

Today I discovered a great city guide of my hometown for english speaking people. It is called HISTORYcal.Feldkirch and shows 22 places in Feldkirchs medieval Center which are all also connected to legends.

I believe this is a great way to discover Feldkirch and I will check this out myself soon.

Here you can find this very informative brochure – HYSTORYcal.Feldkirch

I found out about this great tool for visitors, as I was looking for information about “Yes, you can WCs” – this is an initiative by 10 restaurants in the centre, which allow visitors of Feldkirch to use their restrooms, without having to order something. I believe this is a great idea, as we all know how terrible it is, to visit a city and then you just cannot find a public restroom. Especially families have problems with that. I hope that all 10 restaurants stay with this idea and am sure that this is a great thing to do, not only from a human but also a marketing perspective. Because after all your sightseeing, you will also look for a place to have lunch or dinner, or just a drink – and then you might remember the restaurant, that provided you in times of trouble.

Another idea developed by Feldkirch City Marketing together with shops and restaurants is “Feldkirch überdacht”. We all know the situation – its morning, weather looks great and you visit a city for sightseeing or shopping. Suddenly weather changes and its raining cats and dogs. In Feldkirch they found a solution to keep their guests dry – in all shops and restaurants you can get an orange umbrella – free of charge. As soon as the sun comes out again, you can drop it in any of the participating shops (or you just leave it in your hotel or appartment, they will return it”).

I really love small ideas like this, who give people an added value for free.

Can you think of ideas like that in your region? I would be happy to hear about them!

To get some impressions from Feldkirch, you can also read this blog entry “It´s cold outside…”, which shows some pictures of Feldkirch I took some days ago.

1 Comment

Filed under Hidden Gems, Talking about Tourism

My top five winter activities

Winter is one of the best times in the year … in my opinion. There are some many great things to do – here you can find my personal Top 5.

5 – Reading

Winter time is reading time … when it is as cold outside as it is now, what better can you do than use a complete weekend to just read. We all have books we put away during summer or spring, as the weather outside was just to nice to read. Winter is the time to get back to this books. Put some firewood in your oven, have a nice cup of tea and take your time to read again.

4 – Tobogganing

For years I declined any offer to go tobogganing. It was so much part of my child hood, that I just felt too adult to do it. Little did I know – it´s one of the greatest social events to do ever. Hike up a long and winding run (taking the lift does not count), sit on a traditional hut, have some mulled wine and some delicious food – and then go for it!

3 – Hiking

Hiking in Winter is great … the snow covered landscape, the calmness of nature, the chilly experience of cold wind on your skin – and then the feeling of warmness, when you enter a small restaurant to enjoy a nice break. Starting in February it gets even greater, when the sun is getting stronger again and you can feel the coldness of the snow and the warming sun at once.

2 – Skiing

I just love Skiing. A great day in one of the best skiing resorts in my vicinity (you can read about them here) is just too much fun. With a group of friends, who are all good skiers it gives you physical exhaustion, you might go to your limits and it´s a great social event, too. Do not forget to visit a sunny hut in your favorite skiing resort, to indulge in good food and have a drink. Aprés Ski afterwards should not be missed either.

1 – Ski Touring

Ski Touring is my favorite thing to do in Winter. Enjoy nature off the beaten path, do something for your body and enjoy incredible views at top of the Alpes before doing some powder runs: it just perfectly sums up all the great things you can do in Winter. A day on a nice tour with a friend or a group of friends is just the thing I need to recharge my batteries. Best thing about it is, that the season is very long. You can start as early as November, and some of the best tours can be found at the beginning of May.

Of course there are other great things to do … visiting a spa, ice-skating.

So what are your favorite things to do in Winter?

4 Comments

Filed under Winter