Subscriber Freelyn Jeffers asks if we have ever considered leading a group tour for Gemütlichkeit subscribers. It's not something we considered 10 years ago when we started Gemütlichkeit, but there have been enough inquiries that we are considering a "rally" style tour for a relatively small group (20-25). Rental cars would be provided and the itinerary would include some favorite country hotels and, in the course of the tour, perhaps three or four gatherings of the entire group. Everyone would stay at the same hotels on the same nights but the routes between tour stops and the daytime activities would be primarily independent. Let us know if you're interested.
More WWW Talk
Last month we discussed the Internet and its exponential growth as a source for travel information. As expected, we received several comments in the "don't have a computer...will never go on the Internet" vein. To the latter I say don't be too sure, within the next few years getting connected to the Internet is going to be about as easy as tuning in a channel on your TV. For those who don't have a computer and who would like to browse the web, public Internet access is available in most communities. I suggest starting with your public library.
By the way, the following bargain package deal is currently being advertised on Switzerland Tourism's web site at http://www.switzerlandtourism.ch/na.
Air + Land Best Buys start at only $1,012* for a complete Swiss vacation package. Price includes round-trip Economy Class airfare on Swissair to Zürich or Geneva; six nights at selected 3- and 4- Star Swiss hotels throughout Switzerland; Continental or buffet breakfast; one week car rental with unlimited mileage or, with a $113 supplement, Eight-Day Swiss Rail Pass. Call 1-800-GO SWISS ext. 29. *$892 when booked with an American Express Card..
One of the better hotel values we've reported on recently is the Rebenhof (tel. 07223/5406, fax 07233/52321), set smack in middle of rolling vineyards in the village of Neuweier about six miles southwest of Baden-Baden. But longtime subscriber and frequent business traveler to Germany, Bob Gillespie, stayed there recently and was disappointed enough in the food to pick up the phone and tell us about it. It's a great little hotel, just eat elsewhere.
A Beer Museum
From the publication Beer & Breweriana (a quarterly newsletter for collectors of beer paraphernalia) we learn that there is a new beer museum in Bad Schussenried, about a 30 minutes south of Ulm. The Schussenrieder Bierkrug Museum, owned and operated by Jurgen Ott, is also a brewery, restaurant, beer garden, Bierstube, and hotel. The address is Wilhelm-Schuissen-Str. 12, D-88427 Bad Schussenried, Germany, tel. 44 /7583 4040, fax 44 /7583 40410. Beer & Breweriana is published in Prague but subscriptions can be obtained by sending $30 to B & B, P O Box 9261, Newark DE 19714-9261.
The little village of Tolochenaz, near Morges, on Lake Geneva (10 min. by train from Lausanne), once home to the late Audrey Hepburn, opened the Audrey Hepburn Museum this month. The museum offers a chronological overview of the stars life. Exhibits include Hepburn's Oscars, family photographs, original posters and personal documents. The museum is open Tuesday - Sunday, 11 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (mid-November to mid-March) and 1O a.m. - 6:00 p.m. mid-March to mid-November). Entrance fee is 10 Sfr. ($8) for adults, 8 Sfr. ($6.50) for groups of more than 10 persons, and 5 Sfr. ($4) for students and children. Audrey Hepburn Pavilion, Case postale 9, CH-1131 Tolochenaz, phone & fax 011 41/21-803-6464.
Basel has opened a museum honoring the late Swiss artist Jean Tinguely who was one of Europe's major modern artists in the post World War II era. Located in Solitudepark along the river Rhine, the museum was designed by the famous Swiss architect Mario Botta, designer of San Francisco's celebrated new Museum of Modern Art. The Tinguely Museumis open Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Entrance fee Is 10 Sfr. ($8) for adults and 3 Sfr. ($2.50) for students Children to age 16 years are free. Museum Jean Tinguely Basel, Grenzacherstrasse/Solitudepark, CH-4002 Basel, tel. 011 41/61-681-9320, fax 011 41/61-681-9321.
New German Shopping Hours
After years of wrangling and acrimony, the German parliament has voted to change the country's shopping hours. Under the new law, instead of having to close at 6:30 p.m. during the week, stores will be able to stay open until 8 p.m. Opening hours on Saturdays are also extended by two hours to 4 p.m.
And now there will be fresh bread for Sunday breakfast. Most stores will remain closed on Sundays, but bakers will be allowed to make and sell their wares for three hours. Previously, gas stations and train terminals in Germany circumvented the law by opening small supermarkets to sell food outside of shopping hours to "travelers."
Last month we mentioned Tradesco Tours as a source for European hotel bookings. Here are some examples of Tradesco hotels and double room rates (rates may be substantially higher during trade fairs or special seasons): Hotel Admiral, Munich, $148 to $162; Hotel Germania, Munich, $113-$136; Hotel Prinzregent, Nürnberg, $156-$207; City Pension, Budapest, $65; Molnar Panzio, Budapest, $65-$79; City Pension Ring, Budapest, $65; Hotel Hardenberg, Berlin, $166-$188; Erzherzog Johann, Graz, $179-$209; Hotel Wolf Dietrich, Salzburg, $162-$213; Kaiserpark Schonbrunn, Vienna, $122; Hotel Josefshof, Vienna, $214-$236; Hotel Novomestsky, Prague, $106. Tradesco Tours 800-833-3402, fax 310-649-5852.
5-Star Hotel Value
Sofitel, the French hotel chain, again this winter offers guaranteed dollar rates of $119, $139, and $159 per room, per night at select hotels throughout Europe. Available November 15, 1996 through March 2, 1997, the rates vary according to location and are available at 50 Sofitel hotels in 12 countries including Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Rates include daily buffet breakfast, service charges and government taxes (city taxes may apply in some locations). Prices are subject to availability as certain hotels have a limited number of rooms at the sale rate. The program offers exceptional value particularly in major cities. For example, the Sofitel Vienna's rack rate is about $210 and doubles at Sofitel Zürich are about $258. The program also allows one child age 12 or under to stay free in the parents room. One child over age 12 is charged a rate of $50, also including breakfast. Reservations: 1-800-763-4835.