Web Hotel Deals

A place to find some very low weekend hotel rates is on the Web at the Click-It Weekends site (www.queensmoat.com/TravelWeb/clk_hotels.html).

Posted weekly are special prices that apply for the coming weekend at dozens of hotels worldwide. All are major marketing chains but some of the discounts are incredible. Book online or phone the chain's 800 phone number.

You can register at the site and be sent weekly email listings with the prices for the forthcoming weekend.

Of course, there may be only one or two rooms at these prices and once they are gone you will be offered prices higher than posted on the Web. But even these higher prices are still well under rack rates.

Here are some recent per room prices listed on the site for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

* Vienna, 1550 AS/$123 (Hotel Inter-Continental Vienna)
* Berlin, 122 DM/$68 (Forum Hotel Berlin)
* Frankfurt, 222 DM/$123 (Forum Hotel Frankfurt)
* Frankfurt Am Main, 172 DM/$96 (Le Meridien Parkhotel)
* Frankfurt am Main, 237 DM/$132 (Hotel Intercontinental)
* Hamburg, 90 DM/$50 (Le Meridien Hamburg)
* Hamburg, 172 DM/$96 (Hotel Inter-Continental Hamburg)
* Hildesheim, 180 DM/$100 (Le Meridien Hildesheim)
* Leipzig, 155 DM/$86 (Hotel Inter-Continental Leipzig)
* Munich, 180 DM/$100 (Forum Hotel München)
* Nürnberg, 110 DM/$61 (Le Meridien Grand Hotel)
* Stuttgart, 170 DM/$94 (Hotel Inter-Continental Stuttgart)
* Cointrin/Geneva, 175 Sfr/$118. (Forum Park Hotel Geneva)
* Montreux, 142 Sfr./$79 (Royal Plaza Inter-Continental)
* Zürich, 145 Sfr./$81 (Hotel Inter-Continental Zürich)

Passion Play Report

According to the Oberammergau site on the World Wide Web (ammergauer-alpen.de/oberammergau/en), tickets for next year's Passion Play are sold out. The site's actual wording, however, includes the phrase, "for the time being we can't accept further ticket orders," seems to hold a glimmer of hope for those determined to attend this a once-in-a-decade event.

The reason there are no tickets now is because they are committed to tour operators. Some of these are likely to be returned and made available for sale to the general public. (Note: you can't just purchase a play ticket. You must also commit to accommodations; hotel, pension, private residence, etc.)

If you want to insure tickets to the play contact a reliable tour operator such as DER Tours. This old-line, Germany-based company has a number of packages that include Passion Play stopovers, ranging from an 8-day Germany tour for $1,821 per person to a 14-day Eastern East Europe itinerary for $2,537. None include air.

Those who aren't willing to endure a package tour will probably do well to request ticket order forms from Oberammergau's web site. The site also shows which overnight accommodations still have space and last time we looked there were still openings. You might want to lock in a room now and then ask the assistance of your host in getting tickets.

Eastern Germany Festival

Here's an off-the-beaten-path summer destination. Altenburg, which is 49 kilometers (24 miles) straight south of Leipzig, is one of those preserved old German towns that the West has begun to discover since unification. It has a glorious castle, an interesting and original Altstadt, the world's foremost playing card museum, and a month-long summer music festival that runs June 25 through July 25.

In weekly concerts in the castle's festival hall, the East-West Youth Symphony Orchestra will perform the music of Mozart, Richard Strauss, Shostakovich, Bernstein, Mahler, Telemann, Dvorak and Schumann. In addition, there will be frequent evenings of chamber music and vocal presentations at several venues. Visiting ensembles include the Moscow Quartet and the Petersburg Quartet. The event concludes with a July 25 Opera Gala.

The force behind all this is Arturo Sergi, an American opera singer (and Gemütlichkeit reader), who in 1991 founded Altenburg's International Music Academy.

Contact: Altenburg Tourist Office, Markt 21, D-04600, Altenburg tel. +49/03447/594 174, fax 594 179.

May 1999