On Location ACTB Vienna: Welcome To Austria


The very affable Father Martin took
ACTB guests on a private tour of Melk Abbey
Durnstein makes for a charming daytrip
from Vienna in summer or winter

Dazzling Baroque And Fine Food And Wine Get Things Started

Before the business of Central European tourism was to be discussed in earnest, the Austrian National Tourist Office, ever the gracious host, got things off to an exciting start by providing ACTB visitors a tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Wachau Valley, located  in the Danube-Lower Austria region, less than an hour’s drive north from Vienna.  Krems, a charming town that has been a centre of education for hundreds of years, was the first stop and a fine introduction to the attractions of Austria lying beyond the country’s ever romantic capital.  The morning’s pleasant walking tour was followed by lunch at Steigenberger Hotel Krems, situated above the city among the many hectares of vineyards for which the region is famous.  A tour of the Wien.Sinn (Wine.Sense) experience at Winzer Krems (Krems Winery) was an unexpected experience.  In addition to the perquisite tastings of the local product, Wein.Sinn earns its name by showcasing a series of sensory experiences not usually associated with a visit to a vineyard.  For example, the art installation of Brazilian artist Georgia Creimer saw a series of tables draped in white with playful images in action projected onto their surfaces.  This was followed by a cinematic experience in odourama.  Yes, the highly sophisticated on-site cinema at Wien.Sinn permits visitors to inhale the seductive aromas of the vineyard as the film progresses.  Fresh grapes, fresh rain, and fresh apricots (another of the region’s major products) waft through the air as the film proceeds to take viewers through the winemaking process.

An afternoon stop in the small village of Dürnstein for a stroll through its picturesque lanes was a preclude to the highlight of the tour, a visit to the Benedictine abbey in Melk, one of Austria’s most glorious examples of Baroque architecture.  Again, the exhibit was far more than the expected gilded cherubs and ornate ornamentation.  A visit to the abbey begins with a surprisingly avant-garde display of colours, thoughts, and expectations mixed into an informative introduction to the buildings that have occupied the site for nearly one thousand years.  The highlights of the visit are the magnificent library and the church, both of which are decorated in the classic Baroque style that brings millions of visitors to Austria every year.  Not all the abbey’s appeal is located indoors; in summer, the formal gardens are delightful, but the expansive view over the Danube and the Wachau Valley is impressive any time of year.

Gruner Veltliner grape display at Winzer Krems

With so much to see and do in Austria, ANTO thoughtfully provided a second day of touring for ACTB participants.  A walk through Vienna’s historic centre, led by longtime Vienna resident and extremely knowledgeable Briton Diana Naar, was enlightening even for repeat visitors to Europe’s grandest city.  The morning ended with lunch in the Hotel Sacher’s Red Bar, an intimate salon decorated in an imperial style fit for the excellent food served within.

By now well fed and suitably impressed by the sights of Vienna, participants were ready for the ACTB, which this year promises to be busy with tourism offices, hotels, and tour operators eager to increase cooperation and revenue.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.L.B
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