• In a program similar to the Eurailpass, Europe by Air now offers a "FlightPass" with unlimited air travel in 27 European countries.
The price for 15 days travel is $699 and $899 for 21 days. Advance reservations are accepted and changes can be made without charge. There are no blackout dates and travel can start and end anywhere in Europe.
Before purchasing these passes, however, you are advised to make certain Europe by Air's participating airlines offer flights between the cities on their proposed itinerary. For example, even though Vienna and Munich are part of the pass, there may be no service between that - or any other - specific city pair; or, the trip may require a circuitous routing.
• Austria Airlines has announced its program for reasonably priced travel within Europe.
North American purchasers of transatlantic tickets on Austrian Airlines are eligible to purchase its Visit Europe program which allows from three to six travel segments involving more than 100 European cities. The price for the minimum three Visit Europe coupons is $299. The six-coupon price is $539. Travel is on Austrian Airlines, Tyrolean Air and Lauda Air and all travel earns frequent flyer mileage in either Austrian Air's Miles and More program or United Airline's Mileage Plus program. Contact: 800-843-0002.
• "Vienna on Us" provides a free luxury overnight stop in Vienna for Austrian Airline's Grand Class (business class) passengers.
The deal applies to destinations beyond Vienna served by Austrian Airlines and includes private limousine service round-trip from the Vienna Airport to one of these hotels: Grand Hotel Wien, Hotel Bristol, Vienna Hilton, Hotel Imperial, the Intercontinental, or Radisson Blu Park Royal Palace Hotel. Dinner and buffet breakfast are included.
The price for such pampering comes high. The roundtrip Chicago-Vienna-Berlin Grand Class fare in October is a hefty $6694. Contact: 800-843-0002.
• Berlin's new Jewish Museum, which will focus on 2000 years of German-Jewish history, opens September 2001.
In the meantime, however, the building's enormously popular tours will be suspended while the permanent exhibits are constructed. Since the building was completed about two years ago, in what can only be viewed as a phenomena of tourism, some 20,000 visitors a month have trooped through the empty building designed by American architect Daniel Libeskind.
A closing date for the empty building tours is not yet known, but it is likely that some parts will remain open even during exhibit construction, the Garden of Exiles and the Holocaust Tower, for example.
For now, English language tours are conducted daily at 1:30pm and 3pm. The price is 8 DM ($4) or 5 DM ($2.50 for seniors and students. On Thursday evenings between 6pm and 8pm, the building can be visited for 2 DM ($1), though there are no tours at that time.
• Germany's biggest party, Oktoberfest, begins its annual two-week run on Saturday, September 16.
Most of the major activities take place at the beginning of the festival. The first day there is a small parade featuring the brewery owners in full costume and in the evening a program of music and dance put on by a cast of 600. On Sunday, the big parade features 7,000 participants in regional garb and is followed by an open-air concert. Reservations for the beer tents can be made through the 14 individual breweries. For a list, contact Munich Tourism at phone 212-661-7200.
• There is a radio station in the Heidelberg main rail station.
Südwest Rundfunk (SWR3) broadcasts live from this location Monday through Saturday. You can see the announcer in his glass booth, or it is even possible to enter the studio for a closer look. From The Society of International Railway Travelers Belknap Building, 1810 Sils Avenue #306B, Louisville KY 40205, tel. 502-454-0277. Subscriptions are $65 per year, 12 issues.
• Gemütlichkeit subscribers can now get free travel bulletins via the Internet.