Category Archives: Background

News …

Long time no see.

Sorry for lack of updates, but a lot of things have happened in the last year and I simply overpaced, when I started this blog. But here´s for the updates … stay tuned, as you might get to know what will happen to the blog formerly known as Heart of Europe.

1. Name Change: You might have recognized that the blogs name changed to “Heartland Europe”. This is, as I am no longer working on happyheartofeurope. I believe “Heartland Europe” is a name that fits very well for this blog and as I am no longer restricted to tourism alone, I am thinking about adding “other” news to this blog, too, whenever appropriate.

2. Content:

Skiing: This winter I did a lot of skiing. I started a Video Blog with a friend about a year ago – – which features the best skiing videos in Austria. This got me connected to some people and I started to do Ski-Resort reviews for the biggest german Skiing website – I plan to write about this skiing days, but not in the way of using the same texts, but of giving some more “Feature” like background stories and link to my (german) reviews.

Last years travels: I visited Eastern Central Europe last June, as I was at the European Championships. The articles about Cracow, Lviv and Auschwitz will start this blogs rejuvenation, as they are planned to go live in the first weeks of April. I am also considering to do some special about Salzburg and one of it´s most beautiful places, the Pinzgau. I spent a week on a lonely alpine hut there last year and it was fantastic. As a move out of “Heartland Europe” I am considering to give some insights into a trip to Istanbul, that I did last year.  Last but not least I will create some content about Vienna, as I have been there just recently and will revisit it this year. This years travel plans are still wide open, but I guess I will stay “European”.

Guest Entries: I am openly encouraging people to contribute to this blog and am actively starting to contact people with or without blogs, that I believe might contribute.

3. Useability

As a third step I will slowly update this blog, make it easier to navigate and backlink it to my other ventures.





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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

I was going very active in the first couple of months 2012 and stopped posting after that. This is due to some changes in my professional plans and the creation of a video blog, which consumed most of my “blogging” time.

But I would like to revive this blog as well – I have some ideas about a slightly new direction (and a new name) and I got plenty of “fresh” travel material, as I have been busy traveling in Europe.

All the best to everyone outthere who is still stopping by, from time to time …

Tomorrow will be another post, as I received a great guest blogging article …


Enjoy the last day of 2012 and see you 2013!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Sorry about lack of postings

Hi there,

I just wanted to give a short update and explain why I am not really posting at the moment.

I am quite busy these days – due to being ill last week and going on a ski touring trip later this week, my time is limited.

I will do another Austrian Cuisine entry (which will be auto-posted on Thursday) and probably a picture story on Friday, but I guess this will be everything this week.

Take care


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Its April – Blog update

Another busy month is over and Spring is going strong here in Austria.

You might have recognized that I slowed down a little bit on posting, but I will try to maintain about 5 posts a week. With new features like the “Austrian Cuisine” Category, where I write a new article every thursday, I want to add some spice to this blog. I will also try to invite guest authors again, as they add a lot of great insights into beautiful places, that make Europe so worth visiting.

Business-wise this month was quite busy – I attended the ITB in Berlin and the Tourismusforum Alpenregionen in Zell am See and met a lot of new and interesting people – hopefully some good business relations will develop out of this. My article writing and editing (in german) for my PR Agency also started rather well and I am happy that I am already that occupied.

This month will not include any major trips – but at the end of April I will do a three days ski touring trip, where we hike from Ischgl in Tyrol to St. Gallenkirch in Vorarlberg on our skiers. I am really looking forward to this.

I would also like to apologize – I managed to delete some comments, that were put into the Spam Filter by mistake – sorry, I mis-clicked and did not manage to get them back 😦

To finalise my March review, I want to add some blog posts I especially liked in March:

The Riverside Rock Quarry, by the Climbing Bum

Into Grizzly Country, by Off the beaten Path

Barga – the most scottish town in Italy, by Bagna di Luca and beyond


I wish everyone a very nice April, some pleasant easter holidays and a great start into spring

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Twitter included … Update to this Blog

At this years ITB I did not only meet a lot of people and followed some seminars, I was also quite strongly looking at the discussions that were led about this events on Twitter. Looking at very successful travel bloggers  I realised how important Twitter is as a tool to follow and also to have discussions. I do not have to many followers, but using the itbberlin hashtag, I got involved into some discussions and it was a great experience, to get instant feedback on my thoughts.

Furthermore I got some new followers, who gave me some great input, when I was doing some sightseeing in Berlin on Saturday. I hope I can support them as much, whenever they hit my area!

I decided to put my Twitter stream onto this page – so you can have some insights in my everyday life. I use it mostly in English, but some things might be in German, too. If you like my tweets, feel free to follow me … I promise I will have a look at your tweets to (and there is a high chance, that I will re-follow). You can see it on the right hand side.

Another tool that came up, somehow surprisingly, was I tested foursquare two or even three years ago, but it was not really developed in Europe back than. After Facebook introduced Facebook Places, I almost quit on … Now I discovered, that this well traveled professional travel bloggers are all using foursquare quite heavily. It allows you to share your visits over Facebook and Twitter easily, and itself developed to a really good tool. I decided to return, as I believe this might be something really helpful for people. I will use it quite a lot to develop lists and feedback on the places in my region. So if you ever come to Western Central Europe connect on foursquare and you get my personal opinion about a lot of places.

In the upcoming days I will reflect about my Berlin experience and put on some photos … I hope you will like them!

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Third day at ITB Berlin… the end of independent travel bloggers?

I am currently attending the third day of the ITB Berlin. Tomorrow I will have my sightseeing-Berlin day.

Yesterday was rather succesful, meeting a lot of interesting people and I believe I managed to get our start up to another level.

Today I concentrate on the eBusiness aspect and visit some seminars, one just finished – it was about, a Berlin travel-meta-search start up. I will keep that one my list.

But I am more interested in the next seminar, about Blogging for Destinations. Back in the days, when I was Destination Manager in the Brandnertal, we decided, that this needs to much resources (time) and therefore decided to not do it.

Therefore I am quite interested in what other people believe …

UPDATE: The discussion, was more about bigger region, inviting Bloggers to their region. There was the example, of Jordan tourism, who invited 8 bloggers to write about their region. Another example was Great Britain who have a group of Bloggers who write about GB regullary. For their efforts they receive free trips and other things. I believe it would have been interesting, to discuss more about the impacts of this. Are this people any longer independend travel bloggers? I do not think so …

At the moment I am at a seminar a guy from the Costa Brava, who also uses Blogging to create stories about his region. He is interesting in storytellers. They invited 16 bloggers (one was part of the discussion in the other seminar) to Costa Brava for one week … they were chosen, due to relevance, topics and reach. They very thoroughly thought about, what topics and what things to do with the Bloggers. In my oppinion Costa Brava tourism set up the stories rather well and therefore gave a great example for good story telling.

What is happening here is that succesful bloggers develop into journalists, who are led through tourism destinations by the PR officers. This is good for them, and shows how professional they got – but it will reduce their indepence. Not because, they stop writing about their experiences, but because they are getting delivered messages, which are targeted at them and their audience.

What is your oppinion? How will it change the way you see big travel blogs? Are they still really independent?

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First day at the ITB Berlin

Today was the first day of the ITB 2012 and it was a great experience. I had no appontments today, therefore I was free to have a look at the huge fair and discover my personal favorites.

It is rather exhausting walking through the different halls, as the area is just big and very crowded. But it is inspiring to see, how much effort tourist companies and incoming agencies all over the world have put up, to stand out of the crowd.

After lunch I visited some seminars at the webtravel lounge. It is unbelievable how little input some so called social media experts give. I believe I can call myself a social media expert myself, as it seems hard to learn something new.

But the last seminar I attended was great, and this one definitely gave me some valuable input and insights. It was by Adam Medros. Vice President Global Product, at Tripadvisor. He gave some great insights into Tripadvisor and this speech was really inspiring.

After a long day I finally visited the Austrian Tourist Office Networking Café, where I ended a long day with a nice glass of Austrian beer.

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Busy week ahead – ITB Berlin

On Tuesday I will travel to Berlin as I visit the ITB Berlin, the biggest tourism fair world wide. I am looking forward to this, as I meet a lot of interesting people and hope to get some boost for my business. I will try to give you some insights about the ITB. To start with I will give you some facts and figures, so you know a little bit about the backgrounds of the ITB.

  • ITB stands for Internationale Tourismus Börse – international tourism exchange. It was founded in 1966 and is held annually in Berlin.
  • 2012 ITB starts on March 7th and ends on March 11th. The last two days are open to the public, the first three days are for tourism professionals.
  • The fair is spread over an area of 160.000 square meters, with over 11.000 exhibitors that have stands at this years ITB – they represent business from over 180 countries of the world.
  • 2011 there were 169.295 visitors and 110.791 trade visitors.

To visit a fair of this extend needs a lot of preparation – I have a lot of meetings on Thursday. Wednesday I will try to visit some of the most interesting stands (in my oppinion) and Friday is my back-up day. I guess I will not attend on Saturday, as I would love to visit some places in Berlin …

Tomorrow I have another guest entry scheduled – the rest of the week will be concentrating on the ITB and Berlin …

If anyone reading here is also attending ITB, please drop me a message, if your available for a cup of coffee. It´s on me …


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Monthly Blog Status update

When I started this blog (only a month ago), it was because of the travel company that I am currently setting up with a partner. But a lot of things have happened and other opportunities have arisen. I set up a PR Agency this month, mainly to give my different freelancing endeavors a legal background here in Austria – they developed very well, therefore this needed to be done.

I am currently also starting a second project, which might be interesting for my further development – Its way to early to talk about it, but I am pretty excited about it.

The last days I have been very busy and exciting – I hope I can develop my projects as planned.

I want to use this chance to give some blogger shootouts to postings that I especially liked in the last month:

Reaffirming my faith in humanity, one pedal at a time @ Bucket List publications

Asiago plateau, Italy @

adventures in wine and tasting, o chateau,  Paris @ The Lazy Travellers


There were a lot of other great posts – and I am looking forward to read in a lot of Blogs next month, too.


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About me, this blog and the world


I am Gernot and you are reading my Blog! Welcome, and enjoy the ride:

I am a long time Tourism Expert who is currently setting up his own company – – together with a partner.

Our aim is it, to provide unique and special trips to Central Europe for people from overseas. Highest quality and adventures of the beaten path, shall make this holidays something special for our guests.

In this blog I intend to give some background information about our company, some comments on the world wide Tourism scene and a lot of stories about the region I live in and which I want our guests to discover. This stories are not based on my companies business, but on my personal experience.

Whoever reads this blog will quickly discover where my Interests are – as I am going to tell a lot about me. Just some small facts – I was born in 1977, studied in Innsbruck (Austria) and Loughborough (UK) Political Science and am married to a wonderful wife. I live in Feldkirch, a beautiful medieval town in Austria, right at the border to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. I have worked as a marketing manager for a Gaming Company and one of Austrias biggest Architecture company, before starting my tourism career as Destination Manager in the Brandnertal, Austria. My hobbies include Skiing, Mountain Biking, Hiking, Reading and, of course, Traveling.

Gernot on the Vordere Niedere, Bregenzerwald, Austria

Although I studied Political Science I will not feature Politics to often – unless Politics is directly influencing my field of work.

I strongly encourage everyone reading, to participate – give me your feedback, ask your questions … I am happy to help and I can stand critic. Please do not use my blog to post advertisments. Talking about your company, your interests etc. is okay – but Spamming my website will not be accepted.


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