EXCURSIONS for 2023
Bratislava! Prague! Budapest! Salzburg!
All were jewels in the imperial Austrian crown. But that crown rested at the emperor’s court in Vienna. One cannot fully appreciate the Classical style without a visit to what many considered the musical capital of Europe in the 18th century.
We will travel there by train for an all-day walking tour of the musical highlights, including sites associated with Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Liszt and Brahms. Pianists will be especially fascinated to see the fabulous collection of pianos owned by the great composers in the Hofburg Palace Instrument Museum. Don’t forget your walking shoes!
We’ll pause late afternoon for a visit to Demel’s, the legendary pastry shop to indulge in a Sachertorte and Viennese coffee mit Schlag (whipped cream). At dusk we take a tram up into the Vienna Woods for a Heurigen, typical Austrian outdoor dining under the stars, featuring smoked meats, sausages, chicken, potato salad, sauerkraut, and local beverages. A perfect summer evening, a perfect setting to gaze down on the twinkling lights of Vienna below us. A traditional folk trio of violin, accordion and guitar wanders from table to table, taking requests for folk songs. Not the strongest category for our American students; the best they ever come up with is “Edelweiss.” The accordionist chuckles, “A pretty tune, but neither Austrian nor folk.” But they sing it anyway con espressione. Half the tables join in! We’re surrounded by music in this country. Hopefully we won’t miss the last train for Bratislava!
ORIENTATION WALK AROUND BRATISLAVA. ITS HISTORY & MUSIC
Professional tour-guide takes our participants on walking tour.
VISIT TO MUSEUM/HOME OF JOHAN NEPOMUK HUMMEL
Renowned piano virtuoso, whose compositions became a bridge between the late classical style and Chopin. Mozart was so impressed with the boy’s talent, that he invited him to live with the Mozart family in Vienna for 2 years in order to receive daily piano lessons. (It must have been quite an impression!)
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS FOR SIGHTSEEING
Depending upon such variables as weather, though August can experience regular but short thundershowers in the afternoons.
All are within an hour’s drive. Plan a half-day.
Information pamphlets at hotel.
Of course, one can always make a short trip back to Vienna for specific sightseeing or for shopping!
A short cruise on the Danube, north-westward toward Dürnstein where Richard the Leonhearted was imprisoned as the result of a feud with the Duke of Austria while returning from the Third Crusade.
The Esterhazy palace and Haydn museum in Eisenstadt (Austria).
The Esterhazy palace outside Sopron (Hungary), an ambitious, incomplete attempt to rival Versailles.
The Roman ruins at Carnuntum, where the Roman legions were quartered. The Roman city of Vindobona lies beneath the city of Vienna, and can be accessed near the Hoher Markt for a fascinating underground tour. The roman philosopher-Emperor Marcus Aurelius preferred it to Rome and died there in CE 180.
Or visit the quaint little Austrian villages of Rust and Mörbisch on the banks of the Neusiedlersee. “New-Settlement Lake” is fed by under- ground springs and has the mischievous habit of disappearing every few years. This provokes a centuries-old comedy as residents try to claim the land now exposed by the dry lake-bed, only to see the futility of their efforts when the underground springs fill the lake back up and their “annexations” are once again submerged under water and ownership returns to the municipality.
Rust is where the storks come annually to roost on the chimney tops of local houses. (Think swallows coming back to Capistrano.) Their arrival celebrated by notices in the major newspapers in Vienna!
Once a part of Hungary, Mörbisch houses, typically have roofs made of the tall grasses harvested from the shallow lake. Its restaurants serve authentic Hungarian cuisine (country-style), often accompanied by a cymbalom, the folk instrument featured in so many of Liszt’s Hungarian Dances.