River Boat Pass

KD River Cruises

sells a one-day pass for $25. It is valid for one day on any of KDs day ships except the Rheinjet for which a special supplement is required. Present the pass on any KD ship and enjoy all scheduled KD day-cruises, round trips and evening cruises on the Rhine and Mosel rivers for an entire day. Pass-holders may change ships and take as many cruises as time allows in one day. No reservation is required. Phone 800-346-6525 or visit www.rivercruises.com/oneday.htm

Protect Your Miles

Nervous about frequent flyer miles that could evaporate if your favorite airline goes out of business? You can insure them for $119 per year or $214 for two years. The company is AwardGuard in Colorado Springs. Contact: 800-487-8893, web: www.privilegeflyer.com.

Factory Car Deal

Long-time subscriber, W. B. Dantone of Houston, tells Gemütlichkeit that the best current factory automobile purchase deal is with Volvo. For delivery in Sweden, Volvo is offering a substantial discount off U.S. prices plus a two round-trip transatlantic air tickets and one nights hotel accommodations.

Gas In Europe Under $3

Mr. Dantone also notes that the lowest gasoline prices in Europe are in Luxembourg. Just across the German border, near Trier, the worlds largest Esso station pumps out unleaded fuel at about $2.60 per gallon vs. about $4 for the rest of Europe.

Teddy Bear Exhibition

The Schynige Platte Mountain Hotel, high in the Jungfrau region of the Swiss Alps, offers a display of more than 1600 teddy bears from the private collection of Theresia Bodenmann. In one room, the Bearbeats, a teddy bear rock band performs for an audience of hundreds of other bears. Elsewhere are valuable Stieff bears, polar bears, panda bears, koala bears, and wooden bears from Russia. Bears on a cot listen to bedtime stories and there is a mysterious teddy castle with witches, wizards, knights, ladies and court jesters.

Each adult passenger taking the train to the Schynige Platte - it's the only way to get there - may take two children (to age 15) free to Teddyland. Contact: Jungfrau Railways, Harderstrasse 14, CH-3800 Interlaken, tel. +41/033/828 72 33, fax 828 72 60, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., web: www.jungfraubahn.ch

Contemporary Art in Berlin

The 7th annual Art Forum Berlin, featuring contemporary art and emerging artists, runs Sept.26-30 at the Berlin Fairgrounds. The gathering of artists, dealers, collectors, critics and patrons will attract 24,000 to its 160 galleries displaying cutting-edge painting, sculpture, installations, photography and multimedia presentations. Info: Berlin Exhibition Grounds, Entrance Hall 21, Masurenallee, Berlin-Charlottenburg. Tickets n8-12, ($8-$12).

World Heritage Status for Rhine

A 65-kilometer stretch of Germany's Upper Middle Rhine Valley, known as the Romantic Rhine with castles, historic towns and vineyards, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region joins the recently-selected medieval Baltic towns of Wismar and Straslund on the UNESCO list. There are now 27 World Heritage Sites in Germany. Info: www.unesco.org.

Two-Day Rothenburg Deal

Rothenburgs venerable and atmospheric Hotel Eisenhut offers a two-day vacation package for #218 ($214) through December 21.The deal includes two nights hotel accommodations, breakfasts, welcome cocktail, Franconian-style dinner, candlelight dinner, a carriage ride through the town, museum visits, and a walk with the towns nightwatchman.

Contact: Hotel Restaurant Eisenhut, Herrngasse 3-5/7, D-91541 Rothenburg, tel. +49/09861/70 50, fax: 70 54, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., web: www.eisenhut.com

Frankfurt-Kln Fast Train

Rail travel times between Frankfurt and Cologne, were reduced by one hour on August 1 when the German Railroad (DB) started service on its new $6 billion, 186-mph high-speed rail line. The trip, which previously took 2 hours 14 minutes now takes just 1:14. Currently, 54 third-generation ICE 3 train sets, traveling at speeds of 186 mph, provide hourly service between 6am and 8pm. There are stops at Frankfurt airport, Siegburg/Bonn, Montabur and Limburg-Sd. Additional trains will be put in service as passenger traffic increases. By December 15, the new line will be completely integrated into the German rail network, with other stops along the Rhine-Main corridor, including a spur to Wiesbaden, and connections to other regions of Germany.

ICE 3 trains have laptop and audio connections as standard equipment for all passengers. In first class, passengers have video screens and individual reading lights. The cost of a Frankfurt-Cologne ticket purchased in the U.S. is $64 first class and $45 second class. A four-day German rail pass is $260 first class and $180 second class. A four-day Twin Pass two passengers traveling together is $195 or $135.

Tip: Low Cal Swiss Chocolate

Lindt & Sprngli

Swiss chocolate maker par excellence, will launch a "reduced sugar" line in the U.S. market in October. According to Switzerland Tourism, the product "tastes like real Lindt Chocolate because it is real Lindt Chocolate." As a first step, offerings will include boxed chocolates as well as milk chocolate and dark chocolate bars. After that, the company will roll out two new boxed chocolate offers: "Lindt Fine Chocolates - a typical American assortment" and "Swiss Tradition - the European style."

Vienna Music Update

Vienna Staatsoper

Ballet: The Nutcracker plays six times between December 7 and January 5, and Romeo and Juliet has four performances from January 24 to February 10.

Tickets for both the Staatsoper and Volksoper can be obtained one month prior to the date of performance. Call 011/43/1/513 15 13

2002/03 season highlights: Carmen will be performed six times between September 29, 2002 and June 30, 2003. Das Rheingold will be held once this year on October 16, 2002. Seven performances of La Boheme are scheduled between December 13, 2002 and June 19, 2003.