Austria

Vienna (38).JPGOnce upon a time, Austria was a huge country called the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  When it was at its most powerful, it included not just Austria but also Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Slovakia and parts of Poland.  We’re talking about a proper empire here! So when you visit Vienna, Austria’s capital city, expect to see some real empire-style buildings.  You see, the Austrians were very rich and they wanted the whole world to know it! When you try and picture Vienna in your head, think big, beautiful and above all, think style, lots and lots of style.

The famous family that ruled Austria throughout all these years was the  Habsburg family, and even today, you won’t really find a royal family in the whole of Europe that is not connected, one way or another, to the Habsburg family.  And to be honest, if they are not connected, they probably don’t really count. 🙂

Musical Heart

I guess you could say that during the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was the heart and soul of Europe.  Famous musicians and artists lived and worked there, including Beethoven and Mozart, and lets not forget the entire Strauss family, who were almost singlehandedly responsible for making the waltz such a hugely popular dance.  But Austria was more than just a centre for music.  Everything about it was fashionable and elegant.  Dresses were big, wigs were high (Marge Simpson would have fitted in perfectly) and everything was about culture and good food.

Cakes and Bakes
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Austria has always been famous for its many cafés, where you can taste a huge selection of cakes,  apple strudel and other pastries.  But did you know that Danish Pastries are actually from Vienna?  For some reason the Danish people took a liking to what they call ‘Wienerbrod’ (bread from Vienna) and started baking them in large quantities.  The pastries became popular all over northern Europe, but by that time everybody had started calling them ‘Danish Pastries’ so the Austrians don’t get any credit for it.

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More than skiing!

These days, Austria may not be a very big country, but it makes up for its size by being really beautiful.  Huge mountains run across both Austria and Switzerland.  They are called the Alps, and in Austria, these mountains make up nearly 60% of the country.  The rest of  the country is mostly made up by forests, so if you like mountains and you like woods, then Austria is the place for you. It is  a great place to be any time of year. In winter, the mountains are just one big ski resort, but they are just as beautiful in summertime. There are lots of opportunity for outdoor activities, including walking, mountaineering, mountain biking, and the lakes and rivers are perfect for sailing and kayaking.  Beautiful castles and medieval towns and villages are just waiting for you to discover them.

This text is taken from various sections of ‘My Travel Kit for Austria’. If you would like more information, please contact me.