On Location in Werfen

Can it be that your Mr. Honan has never seen Where Eagles Dare and so did not realize why Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton were once guests in the town of Werfen or why the Castle Hohenwerfen looked exactly like the forbidding Schloss Adler in the film? If he has any interest at all in seeing the best Alistair MacLean thriller ever filmed, he can now get hold of the DVD and has an added short feature in which the stars and director discuss the difficulties of filming on a mountain. From friends, I understand that Werfen has not changed a lot since 1968 when the film was made and, if you have seen it several times - as many of us have - you will recognize many of the streets and buildings in the town. Talk about a time warp!

As for the "Old World" travel experience, we have most often found it alive and well in the old hotels - still clean and comfortable but unviolated by so-called modernization - in towns never mentioned in the Sunday travel section, towns like Wels in Austria or Celle in Germany. For some reason it often helps if it's a spa town; Bad Mergentheim in Germany, Villach in Austria come to mind. It's important never to make a hotel reservation in advance because then you miss the chance to tour the hotel and see all the empty rooms before making your choice. Remember also to use the old staircase - sometimes these have been all but abandoned in favor of elevators - or you'll miss the antique treasures that grace every landing. Then, if the hotel you've chosen has a good restaurant in its whitewashed 'Keller' with a zither player who drops in to play during dinner, you've found the perfect "Old World" experience. (This happened to us in Bad Mergentheim and it didn't matter at all that the bath in our room was five feet wide and twenty feet long, and lit by a 40 watt bulb. We loved that hotel!)

Enjoy your publication tremendously as always.

Mary Ellen Hunter
Via E-mail

Add Old World Places

As veteran subscribers, we enjoyed your "search for the Old Country." In thinking about the Old World, there are two places that we would like to add to your list.

Monschau in Germany is thoroughly OW. We spent two days there and loved every minute.

Sylt is another delightful spot. Beginning with the piggyback train ride along the causeway, the unique architecture and the North Sea, this out of the way place is a must for the traveler who has seen it all. We stayed at the Stadt Hamburg, which in itself is a marvelous experience.

Thanks again for the many great articles and recommendations.

Mary & Lou Kroninger
Woodland Hills, CA

October 2003