• The Hills are Alive!

    Salzburg, Austria…pretending to don my best Lederhosen, I headed on a day trip to the home of “The Sound of Music”…

    The 2 1/2 hour train journey cut through some very scenic parts of Austria and seeing the rolling hills and gingerbread houses that dotted the countryside really set the right note. I was singing all the Von Trapp tunes to myself the entire journey!

    Blue skies disappeared after arriving, but the cool 60 degree air was a joy after the relentless heat of Vienna. I feel like I just stepped into make believe…Salzburg looks like an Alpine movie set…like a postcard of what you think it should look like! But it’s all very real…I immediately start imagining how magical it must be after the first snow or the joy when Christmas carols fill the streets! It’s that kind of place, where you are drawn to fantasy and your mind races…

    It’s a small and quaint old town…music is an important part of life here…concerts occur daily and today is no exception! Girls walking around in dirndls, men in Lederhosen, and skilled violinists mix among tourists in awe. Many just linger at picturesque cafes for hours just taking it all in!

    I walk to the perfectly manicured Mirabell Gardens, where the Von Trapp children learned to sing, and then along the ritzy shopping street Getreidesgasse admiring Christmas decor and Easter ornaments. I look up and see the castle-like fortress, Festung Hohdnsalzburg…from where you can see the famous nunnery from the film as well.

    What a joy! To make things even better, Salzburg is home to every imaginable pretzel! Huge pretzels: traditional, chocolate, cheese, you name it…I end my storybook day with a huge cheese pretzel…I hear the horse drawn carriages tap by and the sounds of music in the distance and call it a day…a very magical one!








  • Works of Art!

    Vienna, Austria…I am blown away by the art, but the museums themselves are masterpieces! Smartly, a large group of museums are built together around a modernist central courtyard, called Museum Quartier. It’s as enjoyable hanging out there as it is to admire the exhibitions inside! This planning also makes museum hopping very easy…

    Away from Museum Quartier, the Secession Building is a sight to behold on its own with it’s ornate gold ball top and Klimt murals adorning the facade…literally, it glistens under the sun! All that before you get a sight of the magnificent work on the inside!

    The grand museums of Belvedere and Upper Belvedere are connected by an elaborate garden…the whitewashed interior of Upper Belvedere leading to that chandelier strewn great room is more than an opening act for the great artwork collection inside!

    Beauty to behold on both the inside and out!







  • Me & Klimt!

    Vienna, Austria…Vienna is celebrating it’s acclaimed artist, Gustav Klimt’s 150th birthday this year with special exhibits allover town…His work along with his turn of the century friends Egon Schiele and Koloman Moser define an era and secessionist period. Their influence on Austria and the Art Nouveau period is huge!

    The Leopold Museum’s exhibit focused on Klimt the man…entitled “Klimt: Up close and personal”. Showcasing his love of travel; the exhibit displays hundreds of postcards he wrote while traveling and how creative he felt and became when traveling! I can totally relate! It was a great way to learn about the man behind the art…ultimately, I found that we share the same love to be so inspirational! Leopold also houses the largest Schiele collection and lesser known Moser. Schiele, referred to as more of a bad boy, his art had a more erotic and dark feeling. He was tapped as an art genius at an early age and him and Klimt were friends.

    The museum at Upper Belvedere holds the largest Klimt collection in the world and didn’t disappoint with famous works such as “The Kiss”…but it’s the behind the scenes that excites me…seeing that every work had a series of studies and sketches and a mini pre-painting before the final work! Looking closely I see the huge impact he has had today on fashion. Dries Van Noten and Marni collections jump from his artwork! Look at his portrait of Johanna Straude in a 1910 Martha Alber design: it could be a Marni lookbook!

    Art is amazing…but it’s the artist that defines the art! A reminder to myself to be thankful that I am gifted with creativity and also the ability to travel the world for creative inspiration!







  • Change of Plans!

    Experiences teach you lessons!

    I am a firm believer in being fluid and not over planning a trip. The worst is to feel “stuck” in a place you don’t like, a hotel you hate, or a setting that doesn’t interest you!

    I hit a snag in the road and needed to do an about face…I loved the hotel in Vienna, but I suffered miserably through a night of unbearable heat and I needed to make a change! And QUICK!

    I plotted out my entire trip and made sure to book hotels throughout, but I used booking.com which doesn’t make you pay upfront and I made all reservations that were fully cancelable…so in this instance, I was able to break free from the idea of 3 nights sweating it out! I got a great last minute deal on hotwire.com and made the switch. Ahhh!!! The comforts of air-conditioning!

    I double checked my upcoming hotel in Budapest, it too was un-airconditioned! So I quickly canceled and rebooked an amazing last minute flash sale on booking.com…

    Don’t let travel freak you out and definitely don’t allow yourself to become a victim to a booking mistake, we all make them, just be flexible!

  • Hot on Mozart!

    Vienna, Austria…I made my way via train to Vienna or Wien as it’s called here. The four hour train ride was easy enough and all went smoothly. Upon arriving in Vienna, the train station was a bit confusing and with it being Sunday, the tourist info point was closed…I found my way to the taxis nevertheless and on to my hotel.

    The city is extremely hot! A brutal 90 degrees and it’s sweltering…I notice that typical of European cities, all the stores are closed with it being a Sunday!

    I arrive at the hotel and it looks like a dump! Oh no! Up a flight of winding stairs with overstuffed luggage was no easy task…I enter the hotel and it’s a designer gem! It reminded me a bit of my apartment in NYC, nothing from the outside but really unexpected inside…The Hotel Shermin is absolutely beautifully designed and decorated and I am relieved. I am ready to cool down and relax a bit before heading out…the room is totally my style in shades of gray and I immediately go looking for the air conditioner…I throw open every door, shutter and fling open the drapes…YOU GUESSED IT! No air conditioner! I guess it usually isn’t this hot…just my luck…I guess I didn’t read the fine print! I get a fan for the room and decide to go out and look around…

    Vienna is HOT! Cooling misters are on all along the wide streets and people are looking for relief huddled underneath them…I am right in the middle of the action. The city has a very German vibe as I walk through Karlsplatz and Stephansplatz. I love the wide thoroughfares lined with cafes and Mozart everything. I feel especially sorry for the guys dressed as Mozart in this heat! The Cathedral at Stephansplatz is magnificent with it’s brightly tiled roof and the use of gardens at other sights are a great compliment to the grand buildings.

    I see everyone either feasting on tortes of all kinds or hotdogs (wieners) that are sold on every corner! I love a hot dog! I go for a bratwurst as it reminds me of growing up with my mother’s German food! It’s delicious, but I am taken by the clever way it’s served; they take the roll and cut off one tip and insert a long hot rod in it, that makes the hole for the brat, then in goes the mustard and finally the wurst! It’s like the bratwurst is totally encased in the bun, no falling out! Thats clever…sometimes the simplest thing excites me!

    Tonight will be a challenge sans air conditioning, but travel is about surprise and sometimes compromise!