FROM The man in the front seat / May 3, 2018

Marchfelderhof, Deutsch-Wagram

In the middle of the Marchfeld plain in Deutsch-Wagram you will find the country inn, Marchfelderhof. History The 13thcentury village of Deutsch-Wagram was a small settlement that would make the headlines on several occasions. Due to its geographical location, the peasants of the Marchfeld had to fight troops who were invading from the east, this included Huns, Avars, Turks, Magyars along with the French and Swedes attacking from the west. There is also, not very far away, the location of the Battle of Jedenspeigen, where in 1278, the Hapsburg dynasty […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / December 1, 2016

Christmas markets – winter is coming

Any visit to Europe over the Christmas period will invariably run into one of the numerous Christmas Markets scattered throughout the continent. Although traditionally associated with the Germanic states, they can now be seen from the Atlantic to the Black Sea. Christmas markets are street markets and normally run for the four weeks of Advent leading up until Christmas. Historically they date back to the late middle ages and traditionally come from areas that were associated with the Holy Roman Empire. at that time this included not only the German […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / February 24, 2014

Riesenrad (Vienna)

A visitor to Vienna is, sooner rather than later, going to hear about Emperor Franz Joseph whilst visiting the many sights Vienna has. Franz Joseph was Austrian Emperor from 1848 till his death in 1916. In preparing for his Golden Jubilee the state decided to build a Ferris Wheel to celebrate this milestone. It wasn’t uncommon, large Ferris Wheels existed at that time in the US, Britain and France. Erected in 1897 it measured 80.4m (264ft) and had 30 cars or gondolas. When it was constructed the US, British and French […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / February 12, 2014

Almdudler – auf der alm dudlein

There are very few countries where a locally produced soft drink actually rivals the big boys such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, but the small landlocked nation of Austria is one of them. Almdudler, known to any Ex-Contiki staff who spent time waiting for the their clients at white water rafting, is without doubt one of the finest things to come out of Austria. Made out of grape and apple juice concentrates then flavoured with several herbs is today, in Austria, second only to Coca-Cola in sales with more than 80 […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / July 29, 2013

Eagles Nest – Kehlsteinhaus (Salzburg)

When the Bavarian Nazi Party chairman, Martin Bormann, was looking for something to give Hitler for his fiftieth birthday , he remembered a comment Hitler made whilst walking through the Alps in the southern German state of Bavaria. Hitler pointed to the top of Mt. Kehlstein and said, “wouldn’t it be nice to have a house up there”. In 13 months Bormann had built a chalet on a ridge of Kehlstein at 1834m (6017ft) accessed by a panoramic road 6.5km (4mi), a brass elevator built into the mountain for the […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / July 28, 2013

Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, Vienna

A highlight of a visit to Vienna is undoubtedly a visit the summer residence of the Hapsburg family – the Schönbrunn Palace. Beginning as a modest hunting lodge, known as Katterburg, in 1548, the Hapsburg monarchs over the course of several hundred years transformed this once simple mansion into a 1,441 room baroque palace. An incredible estate that attracts more than 2.6 million visitors a year. Maximillian II purchased the house and land in 1569 in order to enclose the grounds and fill it with pheasants, ducks, deer & boar […]

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FROM The man in the front seat / June 27, 2013


Anyone venturing into Austria or Germany from late April to the middle of June will be greeted in many place with signs advertising “Spargelzeit” or “Spargelsaison”. What this means is that Asparagus Season is upon us, unlike in the Southern Hemisphere however these asparagus are white not green. Although grown in numerous places, Baden-Wurttemberg, Hesse and Alsace are the most well known areas as white asparagus needs a specific combination of soil, temperature and rain to produce the perfect taste. Each year Germany grows more than 55,000 tonnes of the […]

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