Monthly Archives: March 2012

Switzerland, as we love it

Stauberen

Stauberen and Stauberen Hut

This picture was taken on a short hiking tour from the Stauberen hut to the Hoher Kasten. As I can see this mountains every day it was great for once to be on top of them and whenever I see the Hohe Kasten or the Stauberen I feel the urge to go hiking again …

When we had to chose an image for our companies brochure, we decided that this was the one for the title.

I hope you like it, as much as I do … enjoy your weekend!

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Vegetarian Delights … four veggie alternatives

In last weeks food post about the Austrian Cuisine I talked about the “Big Four” and none of them offered an alternative for Vegetarians or people who want to reduce their meat consumption. Today I want to offer you with some great alternatives, which are not sweet. Austria is famous for its Sweet dishes and I will come to them later on …

Here are my four nominations for Vegetarians:

Krautfleckerl:

This is a traditional dish from Vienna, which came to Vienna through Bohemia. It is some sort of Austrian Pasta (the Fleckerl) with white cabbage. Krautfleckerl are not really a posh meal, but I like them and they are great after a day of hiking or walking through a city. Be aware that you might sometime get a version with minced meat and Cheese, so ask if you want to avoid meat at all cost.

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Tourismusforum Alpenregionen – a look back

On Monday I attended the Tourismusforum Alpenregionen in Zell am See. This event is an annual conference where tourism professionals of the Alps meet up. It is in german, therefore its mainly Austrians and Swiss – this year with a lot of Swiss people. The most are Destination Managers or CEOs of Ski resorts. I attended as I was interested into the afternoon session – which was titled “Grow – From the West to the East to the Far East – the markets of the future”. The morning session did not really fit my interests and I was rather disappointed, but I had some nice talks during lunch breaks and “Networking” is one of the main reasons to attend this kind of event.

The afternoon session was much better and I could learn a lot. There were presentations by a guy from the Austrian Tourist board, Renate Ecker from Zell am See/Kaprun tourism, Stefan Otz from Interlaken tourism, Ankita Makwana, an indian movie director, who lives in Mumbai and Zurich and finally from Waseem Hussain, a swiss/indian business man, who supports Swiss companies who do business in India and vice versa.

It was very interesting to hear about the specific needs people from different countries have and to get examples from people who have guests from this regions for some years already. I thought it was very inspiring and am happy that I attended. I especially liked the very international approach of Interlaken, who have guests from all over the world, which is very unusual for the alpine tourism destinations. I will definitely visit Interlaken in the next couple of months to see, how the international mixture of guests in a swiss town looks and feels.

Anyone ever been to Interlaken? Did you enjoy it? What are the things to be done there?

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Staying in Zell am See for some days

Hi. I am writing this new blog post from Zell am See, where I am staying for a couple of days. My wife comes from the area and we visited her parents for the weekend. Tomorrow I will attend a conference on Tourism in Zell am See – the Tourismusforum Alpenregionen 2012.

Zell am See is still busy with ski tourists, but everything is turning green again and you can now sense what a great place it is in summer.

Panorama of Zell am See from the other end of ...

Panorama of Zell am See from the other end of Zeller See Deutsch: Zell am See (rechts), vom Nordende des Zeller Sees, links Halbinsel von Thumersbach Blick Richtung Süden über das Salzachtal Mitte Hoher Tenn (3368 m) mit Imbachhorn (2470 m) und Vorbergen, rechts Kitzsteinhorn (3203 m), links Schwarzkopf (2765 m), dazwischen ferne Brennkogel (3018 m) über dem Hochtor der Großglockner Hochalpenstraße. Ganz rechts Abhänge der Schmittenhöhe, links des Hundstein. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During winter Zell am See has a very international group of guests, and this is also true for the summer. What is especially interesting for me, is the huge amount of people from the Gulf States that visit Zell am See during Summer (especially July). This is due to immense work done by the Tourist board to establish the Alpes as a place to visit for people from the Arabian Peninsula. Zell offers their Arab guests all the things they do not have – an impressive green landscape, lots of Water (Zell am See means Zell at the Lake) and snow. There is a nearby glacier, with a summer skiing resort, so people from Arabia love to try some skiing without the coldness, that comes with winter.

But Zell is also a very great place to visit for people from all over the world, not just the Arabian Peninsula and I will come back to that the next time I visit Zell am See.

In my next forum post I will try to concentrate on the conference I visit tomorrow to give you some insights into the Alpine tourism professionals scene.

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Traditional Hay Poles in Eastern Tyrol

Hay rack

Hay Poles waiting for their use in Innervillgraten, Tyrol

Today I want to present another picture out of my archive. This shot was taken in Innervillgraten, Eastern Tyrol. It shows traditional hay poles that are waiting to be used to dry the grass into hay. You do not see them too often anymore, but in the Villgraten-Valley they still do farming in a traditional way. Here the grass is cut, dried and then put onto the poles by hand. Now the rain can only wet the outer parts of the hay … in Winter the hay will be moved to the barns using sledges.

Hay stacked on Hay poles

Hay stacked on Hay Poles in Innervillgraten

The Villgraten Valley is especially famous for its sheep farmers and if you ever happen to be there you should not miss out on the Gannerhof, probably my favorite restaurant in Austria.

More articles that feature Tyrol

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Austrian Cuisine: The Big Four

After last weeks introduction into Austrian Soups I want to dedicate this weeks Cuisine article to  what I call the Big Four: Wiener Schnitzel, Tafelspitz, Schweinsbraten and Gulasch. You can find this four main courses on almost every menu of an Austrian Restaurant and they are delicious. Sad news for Vegetarians – all of them are based on some kind of meat.

Wiener Schnitzel – the Austrian Classic:

Wiener Schnitzel

This dish is made out of veal, thinned and then coated in bread crumbs and fried – Traditionally you have potato salad with it. If prepared well it should have an almost golden colour when served and you will love it. As veal is rather expensive, you will also find Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein on many menus. This is more or less the same thing, but made out of pork. A lot of restaurants who over this variant serve it with Pommes Frites, as this is how people love to have their Schnitzel nowadays. I strongly recommend everyone to try this, when visiting Austria! Continue reading

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Get to know Edinburgh like a local

I am happy to present another guest post today, it was written by Nicolas, an American who has a lot of European experience – he lived in Scotland recently and he gives us some insights into Edinburgh:

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and is nestled in the central belt region of the country between a collection of gorgeous historical villages and medieval relics. It’s filled with an ancient heritage that really is as old as the hills, as well as new architecture that has sprung up from the cracks, and is packed with plenty of culture, activities and parties to keep the wandering traveller settled for a few months.

Enjoy the Edinburgh entertainment!

Edinburgh is renowned the world-over for its entertainment. Hogmanay is the biggest night of the year with street festivals, huge parties and on-going events but the rest of the year won’t disappoint. Expect to find cultural festivals and night-life parties that are scheduled throughout the year (come rain or snow) as well as many street performers that will entertain you during the day. Many restaurants and pubs come alive well before midday, and Edinburgh boasts a collection of fringe and mainstream clubs to satisfy any musical cravings. The party here doesn’t stop, and it’s worth sticking around to enjoy the family-friendly events as well.

Things you should see in Edinburgh

It goes without saying that you should visit the Royal Mile. It’s the stretch of roads that go from the Castle down to Holyrood House (both worth a visit, too) and it’s packed with charming little shops and houses as well as some big names like Starbucks. This is a great place to stay if you like being in the heart of the action and renting a flat is a great option for those who want to enjoy the sites of Edinburgh for a bit longer than a three-day weekend. The Royal Mile is typically geared towards tourists with shops toting tartan apparel and fudge but there are some lesser-known treasures as well. Pop into Mary King’s Close while you’re there and take part in a shriekingly disturbing ghost tour for famous Scottish scares and hauntings. Other important sights include the Rosslyn Chapel (of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ fame), Arthur’s Seat (excellent views on top of an extinct volcano) and the Camera Obscura (which affords a 360’ view of the city!).

Castlehill forming part of the Royal Mile. In ...

Castlehill forming part of the Royal Mile. In the center is The Hub, housing an information service for the Edinburgh International Festival. On the right is The Scotch Whisky Experience. On the left is the Camera Obscura and shops. Photo by Gregg M. Erickson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Things you should eat in Edinburgh

Scotland is famous for a number of things, but none less important than its black pudding, deep-friend desserts and ‘bangers & mash’. Monster Mash is a tiny little bistro restaurant that offers up a multitude of mash and banger combinations (swede mash is particularly good), and you can get deep-fried desserts at speciality restaurants in the centre of town. Keep a look-out for their popular vodka burgers, and be ready to drink everything down with a generous helping of Scottish Whisky.

Where to stay in Edinburgh

Renting a flat in Edinburgh doesn’t have to be a costly affair: flats and rental accommodation in New Town is affordable, if not cheap, and the closer you get to the bigger sites the more expensive things get. You might consider staying close to the action and renting a flat with friends as you’ll soak up more of the culture and nightlife, but it’s easy enough to walk the width or breadth of Edinburgh if you’re looking to save a few pennies.

Nicolas is a travel writer and all round globetrotter originally from New York but is now specialized specifically on the United Kingdom but also Europe and the Mediterranean in general. He has traveled extensively throughout the UK, Scotland being his most recent stop where he spent for 4 months last year.

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