Page 5, 27th December 1963

27th December 1963
Page 5
Page 5, 27th December 1963 — AUSTRIA Mountains, music and memories

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AUSTRIA Mountains, music and memories


L. P. Seglias

HAT'S your ides of a perfect sum mer holiday? Mos. Englishmen will answc "the seaside", for seaside and holidays an almost synonymous terms to the English.

The Austrians smile knowingly, for Austria is not the least dismayed at having no sea and no shores of her own.

And for why? Austria has two of Europe's "great lakes" to oiler.

At the resorts on the shores of the Neusiedler See you can enjoy a holiday comparable to any seaside resort. And if its sailing or fishing you're keen on. well both the Neusiedler in the east and Lake Constance in the west will amply reward your stay.

Did you know that the Worthersee is the warmest lake in Europe? You can bathe comfortably in its mild waters until the end of October. The Worthersee, in the southern province of Carinthia, has two popular centres, Velden and Portschach, to provide all the amenities and attractions of lakeside resorts.

Within easy reach of Salzburg is Austria's "lake district", where more than a dozen sparkling lakes welcome you to their banks. The melodies of the "White Horse Inn" drift across the water from St. Wolfgang which fully lives up to the reputation the famous musical endowed it.

Bad Aussee, Fuschl, Ebensee, Mondsee, Millstatt and many other little lakeside villages have hotels and guesthouses ready to give you a warm welcome. Particularly attractive is Halstatt, sitting photogenically beside its pretty little lake deep set in the mountains.

ei Salzburg itself, the home of :::Mozart, is Austria's second city. 1Vslo smoke and grime here, but a Ilrearly picturesque town complete :::with a fortress on the rock. a :,grand cathedral, an archabbey, Higardens and art galleries — a holiday resort in its own right, and ;ideally situated foe numerous ;excursions in both Austria and :::Germany.

; You simply must not miss the :::excursion into the salt mines of -It-Atkin, just about the jolliest, ::;rollicking trip I know — one that !you will talk about long after :]others have faded from memory. SAnd if you visit the fantastic ;;;gardens of Hellbrun, don't forget lit() wear your packamack, even on iia cloudless day!

.. If it's the breathtaking scenery f the mountains which "makes" :::your holiday, well, Austria has ;;;some really magnificent mountain ;;;vistas. Its pride and joy. of course, :;is the mighty Grossglockner. A ::;first-class road leads from Zell::: !sarn-See (incidentally, another '::popular lakeside resort) up into Hohentauern range, to halt at ::Franz-losefshaus, a fine isolated :',:mountain hotel and restaurant in Elenutn.ique "Shangri La" environ

,From its terrace you look down the age-old ice of the Pasterzen lacier, while above you towers 'le giant Grossglockner peak.

Popular with tourists is the Zugpitze, a twin-peaked mountain 'stride the frontier, one peak belig in the Austrian Tirol, while its northern summit is Germany's highest mountain. From Ehrwald you can ascend by cable-car to the heights of the Austrian Zugspitze. Tunnels through the rock lead to the German peak whence a cablecar and mountain railway can take you down to Garmiseh.

Austria has numerous mountain village resorts. each as delightful as the other. Obergurgl in the Tirol is one of the highest villages in Europe, nestling in a remote but fertile valley up against the present Italian frontier and within yodelling distance of the Dolomites. Speaking of the Dolomites reminds me of Steinach, high on the Brunner Pass, whence excursions can be made to Bolzano and the Dolomite range.

The Tirol, of course, has a myriad of tlelightful mountain resorts — Seefeld and Mayrhofen, Solden, Lech St. Christoph and numerous others, while in the valleys Kitzbuhel, St. Anton and of course Innsbruck are each ideal resorts and also excellent centres for excursions. It is worth remembering that British Eagle provide direct flights from London to Innsbruck, so enabling one to reach any Tirolean resort with a minimum of travel trouble.

A little gem in the heart of the mountains which is not nearly as well-known as it should be is Mariazell. A pleasing summer resort, and a good winter-sports centre, but Mariazell's proud boast is Austria's great shrine of Our Blessed Lady.

A great Benedictine Abbeychurch cherishes the silver statue of the Madonna and Child, on whom has been conferred the title "Magna Mater Austriac", and to this idyllic village stream pilgrims not only from all the provinces of Austria, but from lands far bcyond her borders.

A wonderfully scenic road and railway climb together from St. Potters to Mariazell, 2,830 ft. high

on the borders of Steiermark and Upper Austria. The village of Mary may also be reached by a mountain road from the junction of Bruck-an-der-Mur.

Not unnaturally Austria can boast not only cathedrals and abbeys, but some of Europe's finest palaces and castles. Who can ever forget the sight of Hoehosterwitz, magnificently perched on a great crag dominating the village below, and looking just what a fairy-talc castle ought to look like. Austria's castles, and there are many scattered over her nine provinces, are not the empty ruins we in England know so well. they arc well-preserved and stately palacefortresses, whose baronial halls still recall their past glories.

Can any English heart remain untouched by Durnstein, that fortress in whose dungeon our own Richard the [ ion Heart heard and recognised the strains of his faithful RIonclin playing outside the walls?

What a fascinating place is Bad Gasteinl A foaming torrent rushing through a gorge down to the valley below, with rows of stately hotels on either side. In Victorian and Edwardian times this was one of the most fashionable resorts of Europe — both those great English sovereigns paid visits here.

It is Austria's premier spa, where it has been known for centuries that the waters had strange curative properties whose peculiar herding powers none could explain. People came from many lands 'n drink the magical waters and zu bathe in them, for the foaming stream is piped to each hotel.

It is still a great rendezvous for all Europe, but modern science has wrested the secret of the mysterious waters—they are radioLctive! Austria has many spas— sulphur, salt. iron, acids, minerals. and others. The Balneological Research Department is noted for its care and strict supervision of treatment.

Austria is essentially a land of song and music, the land of Mozart and Strauss and many other composers and musicians Who is not familiar with the melodious strains of the "Blue Danube"? How better to get to know the mighty river than by sailing on i!' Make your way to Vienna by boat. Embark at Linz (Austria's famous ''baroque town" yet possessing a great gothic cathedral) and relax on the deck of a steamer.

Break your journey at Melk, and have your camera at the ready. Like a great stronghold on the cliff-top stands a renowned Benedictine Abbey, whose glorious abbey-church is, claim the Austrians, the world's finest baroque edifice. Austria is in fact a land of great abbeys, Adntont, St. Lambrecht and Seckau among them.

Vienna, the great capital of Austria's modern republic, Is assuredly the world's gayest, friendliest and most lighthearted capital city. Historic buildings, broad avenues, select shops and great stores, and uniting them all a wonderful informality. It is impossible to be a stranger in the Austrian capital, for Vienna will take you to her heart just as surely as you will take her to yours.

On the banks of the Danube, the republic's great modern metropolis still breathes the atmosphere of the Ilabsburgs and sings the gay waltzing tunes of its 1815 Congress. Visit the Hofburg. one of the best of royal palaces where she memories of imperial state still linger and where you can see the Crown of Austria and the great imperial crown of the Holy Roman Emperors. In the crypt of the Capuchin Church you can gaze on the coffins of Maria Theresa, of grand old Francis Joseph, and of many other Habsburg emperors, princes and dukes.

Vienna preserves many memories of past majesty, and out in the suburb of Schoonhrunn stands a great palace in a large park— reminiscent of Windsor and Versailles. The more recent past is recalled by the Big W'heel in the Prater, which brings to mind use throbbing xylophone strains of the "Third Man". You can make a tour of the city's sewers too, if you're so inclined.

How can one adequately project thz image of Austria with R14 its attractions and delights in a few short paragraphs? Suffice it I say that whatever your tastes or preferences, Austria will not disappoint you. You can be assured of an enjoyable, relaxing, carefree holiday you will long remember.

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