The flag of Austria
Austria, where the moustaches are just so.
Visit Graz, the birth place of Arnold Swarzenegger and a lovely City clock, the Amazing architecture that looks just plain weird.
With the mention of things like wiener schnitzel and apfelstrudel, you might think yourself in Germany. Close. It is the German speaking nation of Austria.
Austria might speak German, but they are a tad different than its Alpine neighbor, or its seven other neighboring countries, by the way.
Most people are familiar with the capital city of Vienna, or Wien, as its written in German. This is one cultured city, full of little coffeehouses, wine gardens, restaurants, and all the Opera, Ballet, and Theater performances you can take in.
During the summer you really need to see the Floating Opera. No, it isn't the name of one--but a floating stage.
Outside Vienna, Austria is a country that sports lovers and history buffs can agree on. Austria has some 150 golf courses throughout its 83,000 square miles--and one of the prettiest places to do it is in the shadow of the Alps at Zell am See.
Hiking and biking through the Alps are two of the best activities in Austria, and visiting the Ice Caves, just outside Salzburg, is too.
Some say that the best time to visit is June to September, but then you'd miss out on all the winter sports. Austria's got it all--ski resorts that offer skiing (of course), snowboarding, sleigh rides, ice skating, and tobogganing.
Tirol is a winter sports lover's dream. The region is full of small Alpine villages, castles, and even a cablecar for a birdseye view.
The warmer months bring on the festivals, though. Yes, Bavaria in Germany is famous for its Lederhose, but Austria is the one with the Lederhosen Festival (in Windischgarsten). Is that kind of the chevvy chase scene in the national lampoons vacation film where they start slapping each others thighs ?
Another great event is the Johann Strauss Ball at the Hofburg Palace. And Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart. You can hear his best work in your head as you wander around the Alte Galerie with all its Gothic paintings in the town of Graz.
To make it even better in Austria, you'll find that getting around is simple and efficient. Buses, metros, trains, and trams run punctually--and the 5,700 miles of rail can zip you just about anywhere you need to go.
Ferries run along the romantic Danube River between Spring and Autumn, as do they operate on the Bodensee--or Lake Constance (bordering Switzerland and Germany) as its called in English. Other lakes worth a mention are the Wörthsee and Wolfgangsee. There are some fabulous tours here on these impressive waterways.
Austria even has its own rainforest, found in the Donau-Auen National Park. And just about half the country is totally forested. Just be careful of ticks if you're going to trek it in the warmer months.
There really aren't any other health risks involved when visiting Austria--just to your waistline, since you'll find all kinds of delicious desserts. There are some 60 kinds of tortes alone to eat.
Austrian wine and fruit schnapps are delicious too--no wonder there are so many sporting activities in Austria, you got to work off all those scrumptious calories. Forget asking what the German word for diet is.
However, having read a 2 page spread in the Mail on Sunday some months earlier about your Danube Cruise, we decided to give it a go to celebrate our Silver Wedding in July this year. Thank goodness we did.