On the Road Again
As you read this, we who are responsible for putting words in this space are somewhere in Switzerland or Austria or Germany. It is to be our longest trip, a full month. We flew to Zürich from Los Angeles on the new Swiss Airlines and from there drove to the Montreux-Vevey region on Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) where we rented a flat with a lake view.
Ground transport for the rest of the month will be a combination of car and train, but instead of the usual parade of hotels, vacation rentals in three or four different regions will be headquarters for short one to three-day forays.
For the first time, an issue of Gemütlichkeit will be written in Europe and transmitted from there to our printer/mailing house. In fact, if you're on our email list we'll send you a few electronic postcards along the way. In addition, changes are in the works for our website and there is an outside possibility that during the trip we may be able to post regular reports, perhaps even pictures, to the website - emphasis on outside possibility.
We intend the trip to be more relaxed than our usual live-out-of-a-suitcase research sojourn where, in order to get as many stories for Gemütlichkeit as possible, we seldom light anywhere for longer than three nights. This luxury has become possible because our two chief reporters, Jim Johnson and Doug Linton, spent the end of summer roaming town and country searching out new sights, hotels and restaurants and seeing if old favorites are still up to snuff.
This is all good news for subscribers. For example, last month's lead story on Münster was written by Jim Johnson from his hotel room in Bonn just a few days after spending nearly a week in Münsterland.
Jim's itinerary during a seven-week August/September trip for us included Münster, Bonn, Trier, the Mosel Valley, Koblenz, the Rhine Valley, Heidelberg, Nürnberg, Freiburg im Breisgau, the Black Forest, the Bodensee (Lake Constance), Schaffhausen (Switzerland), Basel, Geneva, Zermatt, and Salzburg.
In the meantime, Doug Linton was in Munich last month checking out hotels. Ahead for him are visits to the Austrian wine town of Poysdorf, Krems, the Wachau valley, and a short trip across the Czech border to scope out a complex of old castles built by the Liechtensteins, one of which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. And sometime in the next few months Doug will file a story on happenings in his adopted home town of Vienna.
Add all this to what your editors uncover during the month of October and you're looking at a lot of solid, up-to-date travel information coming your way over the next several months.
Clearing the Desk
• Last months Michelin Red Guide story contained a typo. To clarify: Germany has five three-star, 14 two-star, 184 one-star and 375 "Bib Gourmand" restaurants. Switzerland has two three-star, 11 two-star, 81 one-star and 103 "Bib Gourmand" restaurants. You shouldn't go hungry.
• The U.S. Department of Commerce reported visits to Europe by Americans totaled 4.77 million in the October 2001-April 2002 period. That's a decline of 24.8% over the previous year. However, because of a reduction in capacity, flights this year have been full. The average load factor in June was 86.5% and 83.2% in July. Thus fares remained relatively high.
• On October 3, the Brandenburg Gate was to shed its Deutsche Telekom advertising canvas which for more than two years has hidden its 4.2 million euro restoration.
• Hotels either unaffected by the recent flooding or back in full operation are frantically sending press releases hoping to end a tourist drought. As the Grand Hotel Zvon in Cesk Budjovice put it, "Unfortunately the clients are still afraid to travel to Czech Republic and cancel their trips. It has negative influence on hotel economics." The Zvon installed low season rates in September and a "category A" double with breakfast goes for $64. A "grand suite" is $85. Cesk Budjovice is home to Budvar, one of the worlds great beers.
• First there was the Alte Pinakothek, then the Neue Pinakothek and now Munich's new Pinakothek der Modern opens this month. It will house four museums under one roof: the State Gallery of Modern Art; the New Collection, emphasizing industrial design, graphic design and applied art; the Architectural Museum and the State Graphic Art Collection. Pinakothek der Moderne, Barer Str. 40. RHB