Wednesday, December 12, 2012

First Itinerary for the Bellarmine Central Europe Tour

Day 1, Thursday, February 28
Overnight flight to Germany
Day 2, Friday, March 1
Willkommen in Deutschland - Via Eisenach to Weimar
Your Incantato Tour Manager welcomes you at Frankfurt airport. Continue to the charming town of Eisenach for a special welcome lunch at Wartburg Castle followed by a guided tour. Those interested may also see the Bach-Museum or just enjoy a leisurely stroll through this charming town. Continue to Weimar, a UNESCO world heritage city for its rich culture and high artistic quality. Check-in, remainder of the day at leisure. 
Day 3, Saturday, March 2
Weimar Tours & Concerts
Take a guided tour of Weimar's sights (taste some Thuringia Bratwurst at the historical market sqaure), then see Belvedere Castle. An optional visit to nearby Buchenwald can be offered. Opportunity to attend Schola Concert and Jass Ensemble gig. 
Day 4, Sunday, March 3
Mass & Matinee Schloss Concert - Via Leipzig & Thomaskirche to Prague
Schola will be singing three times today, first for Sunday Mass, then a Schlosskonzert and also at J.S. Bach's Tomb in Leipzig. The journey then continues to Prague where the Jass Ensemble has an evening club gig. 
Day 5, Monday, March 4
Prague Sightseeing
Today is a leisure day with a guided tour of Prague's highlights, but plenty of time for individual exploring. 
Day 6, Tuesday, March 5
Beautiful Bratislava
Next stop is the capital city of Slovakia with lots to see and do. A special beer tasting will be offered for those interested among other opportunities.  
Day 7, Wednesday, March 6
Vienna Sightseeing - Mass & Jazz
Austria is just a short drive away. Explore Vienna with an expert guide, prior to Schola signing Mass at Stephansdom. The afternoon is at leisure with a coffee break at the famous Cafe Sacher. 
Day 8, Thursday, March 7
Via Melk to Passau - Recital
Perched high upon a hill on the Danube Valley, Melk Abbey is a must-see Catholic heritage site. Schola will sing in the baroque Stiftskirche. Later, the journey continues to Passau, Germany.
Day 9, Friday, March 8
Catholic Passau - Cathedral concert
A Christian center since the third century, Passau is home to Germany's largest cathedral and one of the world's oldest institutes for Catholic studies. 
Day 10, Saturday, March 9
To Munich - Mass & Jazz
The final and last tour stop is Munich where additional performance opportunities await the musicians and there is so much to see and do for you, too. A special highlight will be the joint Bavarian farewell dinner. 
Day 11, Sunday, March 10
Return to the USA
Transfer to Munich airport for your return flights home.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Leipzig's Music Trail

The city of Leipzig boasts a density of composeres’ houses and classical music sites that is unique in Europe. 23 of these sites are now connected by the three mile “Leipzig Music Trail” throughout the city.
This tour introduces music and the musical history of Leipizg and some of the sights visited include:
(2) Medelssohn House
(3) Grieg Memorial Center
(5) Museum of Musical Instruments
(7) Schumann House
(9) Wagner Memorial
(10) Leipzig Opera
(12) St. Nikolai’s Church
(13) Old City Hall
(14) Museum of Fine Arts – Beethoven
(17) St. Thomas’s Church
(18) Bach Museum
(19) Site of Clara Wieck’s birth house
(21) Paulinum – Auditorium and University Church St. Pauli

The aim of the Leipzig Music Trail initiative is the bringing to life of Leipzig's music tradition. In total there are now three individual discovery tours through which a person is able to explore the city's unique musical treasures. Two routes are designed to be followed on foot, the third is intended to be taken by bicycle. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Prague - welcome to the capital of the Czech Republic

The Czech name „Praha“, or „Praga“ in Old Czech, actually means threshold or doorstep. The oldest records do not mention any place with this name, but rather, they mention a settlement along the river described as „Mezigrady“, meaning „between the castles“. From the 10th to the 12th centuries, the name Prague referred only to the Castle. The name later  came to be used for the settlements on both sides of the river Vltava. People originally used the term Prague Village, then Prague City and later simply Prague. The capital of the Czech Republic, has always played an important role in the history of the  country and Europe. Since the Middle Ages Prague has been famous as one of the most beautiful cities of the world and has been attributed adjectives such as “golden“, “hundred-spired“,  “the crown of the world“. The unique character  of the city is also partly a consequence of its natural environment: Prague, similar to Rome built on seven hills, was built on nine hills along the Vltava river. The dominant features of the city architecture are reflected in the river: towers, church spires and cupolas, palaces and town houses, along with the greenery of gardens, parks and islands. 
Prague's top monuments are: The Prague Castle: National cultural monument, the symbol of more than millennial development of the Czech state. Since its foundation in the last quarter of the 9th century it has been developing uninterruptedly throughout the past eleven centuries. 
 Charles Bridge: The oldest Prague bridge built in the place of the Judita's Bridge that had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. The Stone or Prague Bridge since 1870 called Charles Bridge, was founded by Charles IV in the year 1357. 
Old Town Hall with Astronomical Clock: Established 1338 as the seat of the Old Town authorities. The oldest gothic part of the complex which includes a tower and an oriel chapel is richly decorated with coats of arms. It was built in the latter half of the 14th century.
Old Town Bridge Tower: The entrance gate to Charles Bridge from the Old Town river bank, the most beautiful gate of Gothic Europe, was a masterpiece of the Court buildingworks. It was finished before 1380. It is richly adorned with sculptures.
And many, many more to explore.
Fun Fact: Tremors under foot:
Many writers and academics have claimed to have felt strange and disturbing tremors coming from under the ground in Prague. Dark alleys and desolate squares have been known to produce many eerie sounds and have spooked many writers, including those such as Kafka and his friends, into thinking ghouls were beating drums underground.  

Some famous people and Prague: Mozart came to Prague with his wife in January 1787 for the first time and Prague welcomed him as its darling. In his honor, a large ball was organized in Breitfeld Palace (at the corner of Nerudova Street and Jánský vršek), where Mozart met also with Giacomo Casanova. Mozart himself conducted The Marriage of Figaro in the Nostic Theatre performed by the Italian Pasquale Bondini opera company and he also performed two public piano recitals. He was immediately drawn into Prague social circles and musical events.
The famos writer Franz Kaffka (Letters to Milena, The Castle, Amerika) was born in Prague in 1883 and lived there for a long time until he moved to Austria where he died at age 40 in 1924. His body was transported to Prague and buried in a family tomb at the New Jewish cemetery in Strašnice (grave No. 137).

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bratislava - Slovakia's capital - watch out for Cumil and his friends!

It might be Europe's most relaxed capital, because what this city does have is old-town charm, sophisticated restaurants, traditional pubs, good music ranging from jazz to opera, stylish people, and a human scale which means that as a visitor you will not spend half your day trekking in and out of underground stations or getting from the airport into town.  All this, and Europe's greatest river as a backdrop. Known as Pressburg to German-speakers or Pozsony to Hungarian-speakers, Bratislava got its present name only 90 years ago.  But the city has a long and proud history that dates back to pre-Roman times. In the city itself there is plenty to see and do.  Bratislava's long history - as home to Celts, Romans, Germans, Hungarians, Jews, and of course Slovaks - means there is an impressive range of architecture, languages and cuisine. The handsome homes of the Austro-Hungarian noble families who built palaces here dot the city, and many of them are now open to the public as museums and galleries.  The castle, with its long and checkered history (it has been destroyed more than once), is now undergoing a major restoration.  There are great views over the mediaeval old town and the Danube valley from its fortifications. Bratislava was once one of the most important centres of Jewish learning in Europe.  A unique memorial to its most renowned rabbi, the Chatam Sofer, and the city's Museum of Jewish Culture celebrate this heritage. Communism too left its mark: across the river, the unmistakable ranks of concrete housing blocks - paneláky in Slovak - line the horizon, with the unique UFO-style New Bridge in the foreground. The Danube River itself is, of course, one of the city's main assets.  There are several cafes along its banks, within walking distance of the centre. The pedestrian decks of the New and Old Bridges are good places to watch the river traffic, including huge Danube barges, glide past.  
Fun Fact: It’s not technically Bratislava but it’s worth mentioning anyway because it’s something not very people know. The famous American pop artist Andy Warhol made Slovakia famous for more than 15 minutes because his parents were originally from Miková, which is on the very opposite side of the country to the capital.

But now, what about this Cumil and his friends? As Bratislava looked to shed the greyness of the Communist era many buildings were repainted. In an attempt to enliven the city centre, a few quirky statues were installed. Their popularity with tourists led to new statues, filling the centre of Bratislava with funny and quirky installations.
Cumil - This guy, residing in the Old Town, dates back only to 1997, but Bratislavians and tourists love him. Children like to abuse him by sitting on his head. More than once has he been damaged car drivers. Heated discussions have taken place as to what actually the man is up to - you have to decide whether he is simply resting or just cleaned the sewer...
Schone Naci - The stuff of Bratislava legends, Schone Naci was a well known figure in the early 20th century. A poor and mentally ill man, he paraded the streets of Bratislava in old, but elegant attire - a velvet frock, greeting passers-by with his top-hat and bowing courteously to ladies passing by.
Paparazzi - An even more recent addition adorning the eponymous restaurant in the Old Town, just round the corner from the Main Square.
Hans Christian Andersen - On the Hviezdoslav square there is a statue of famous fairy tale author. About Bratislava he said: If you want a fairy tale, your city is a fairy tale itself. After his visit he produced some of his masterpieces such as The Little Match Girl. Now, have fun looking for Cumil and his friends while strolling through beautiful Bratislava!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Discover Melk Abbey with Incantato Tours

Melk Abbey was originally a palace. Located on the bank of the Danube River between Salzburg and Vienna, Melk Abbey stands crowned by towers and resplendent in a golden hue. The impressive Baroque ensemble at Melk was built in 1702-1736 by architect Jakob Prandtauer. Especially noteworthy is the church with magnificent frescoes by Johann Michael Rottmayr and the library containing countless medieval manuscripts. The monastic community of Melk is over 900 years old and black-robed Benedictine monks still stroll amidst the marble sculptures and frescoed walls. It is now also a prestigious coed monastery school with more than 700 students. Melk has played an important role in the Danube region since Roman times, when a fortress was built on the promontory overlooking a tiny "arm" of the Danube. Melk also appears in the German epic poem Nibelungenlied, in which it is called "Medelike". The rock-strewn bluff where the abbey now stands was the seat of the Babenbergs, who ruled Austria from 976 until the Hapsburgs took over. In the 11th century, Leopold II of Babenberg presented the palace at Melk to Benedictine monks, who turned it into a fortified abbey. Its influence and reputation as a center of learning and culture spread throughout Austria, as reflected in Umberto Eco's popular novel The Name of the Rose. Eco researched his novel in the abbey's library. Melk Abbey suffered damaged during the Reformation and the 1683 Turkish invasion, but it was spared direct attack when the Ottoman armies were halted outside Vienna. Reconstruction of the abbey began in 1702 in full Baroque style and was completed in 1736. The abbey church was damaged by fire in 1947, but is now almost completely restored. The design of the present abbey ensemble (1702-36) is primarily the work of architect Jakob Prandtauer. The Marmorsaal (Marble Hall) contains pilasters coated in red marble and an allegorical painted ceiling by Paul Troger. The library rises two floors and also has a Troger ceiling, along with around 80,000 volumes of priceless works. The Kaisergang (Emperors' Gallery) stretches for 198m (650 ft.), decorated with portraits of Austrian royalty. The highlight of the abbey, though, is certainly the Stiftskirche (Abbey Church). The church has an astonishing number of windows and is richly embellished with marble and frescoes by Johann Michael Rottmayr with help from Troger.There are fine views of the river from the abbey's terrace, which Napoleon probably used as a lookout when he used Melk as his headquarters for his campaign against Austria. The abbey restaurant (Stiftsrestaurant Melk) located near the entrance serves hot meals in beautiful Baroque and outdoor surroundings.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Incanato welcomes you to Munich

The origins of Munich lie with a handful of monks who built their abbey at the Marienplatz, Munich's old salt- and corn market. The name Munich originated from the German word for monks. Munich officially became a town in 1170. It rapidly overshadowed once powerful neighboring cities to become southern Germany's main metropolis and cultural capital. As an ardent admirer of Italy, it was King Ludiwg I of Bavaria that created the "new Munich," as a center of art and architecture. His traces can still be found today on such streets as the Ludwigstrasse or in the Glyptothek, which houses his collection of Roman and Greek sculptures. In the late 19th century, the Munich Academy of Fine Arts was among Europe's best art schools. Today, with its 1,3 million inhabitants, Bavaria's capital city is a mixture between modern and traditional. It is the sights, symbols and festivals that define Munich today and offer a wide variety of opportunities to discover the city. Cultural attractions include museums, world-class orchestras, the BMW world, and the famous soccer team Bayern Munich. They complement each other and represent the wide spectrum that makes the city come to life.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Historical Czech Republic with Incantato Tours

The Czech Republic is situated  in the center of Europe, sharing borders with Germany, Poland, Austria and Slovakia. The country boasts an impressive total of twelve UNESCO World Heritage sites, among which are the historic center of Prague and the town of Cesky Kurmlov. Known personalities of European and world science and art such as Beethoven, Casanova, Einstein, Goethe, Kafka, and Mozart were influenced by or were in some way connected with Czech history.
The capital city of Prague has a population of around 1,213,400 and is situated on hills overlooking the Vltava River. The historic Old Town, with its winding streets, is more than ten centuries old and centers around the Old Town Square with the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn and the Old Town Hall with the famous astronomical clock. Not far away is the Charles Bridge, one of the oldest stone bridges in Central Europe. Perched above the city sits Prague Castle, the ancient residence of the kings of Bohemia. Across from it is Petrin Hill, where you can have a stunning view of the city from the lookout point in the form of a smaller version of Paris' Eiffel Tower. 
Of course experiencing the cuisine will also be a part of your journey. Influenced by German and Austro-Hungarian culinary heritage, Czech food features a great variety of dishes. Possibly the most traditional dish is the dumpling, a unique phenomenon of Czech cuisine. Once the main component of any meal in the Czech Republic, dumplings were used in replacement of meat and are still widely used in Czech dishes today, mostly in combination with a variety of tasty sauces and gravy.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Welcome to Wonderful Weimar with Incantato

Ask anyone who’s been there and they’ll tell you the place is a gem. Weimar has a unique classical heritage and an air of elegance, but is also a very vibrant modern Thuringian town, on the river Ilm southwest of Leipzig, where enjoying life is as much a priority as celebrating culture.

Historically, Weimar is a bit of an overachiever, punching well above its weight. It may have only 65,000 inhabitants today but boy, has it left its mark.
One UNESCO World Heritage listing wasn’t enough, so the city has been given two: one for classical Weimar with 13 buildings and architectural ensembles, and one for its Bauhaus sites.

The Weimar classic period from 1775 to 1832 flourished under the reign of Duchess Anna Amalia, and her library with the exquisite Rococo Hall is probably the most famous in the collection of eminent classical buildings. And while on the subject of libraries, Weimar is still best known around the world for its associations with Germany’s ‘national poets’ Goethe and Schiller who lived and worked in the town during the classic age. Goethe’s Home, part of
the classical Weimar collection, also houses the Goethe National Museum. In August 2012, a new permanent exhibition was opened to honor the über-author, entitled ‘Floods of life, storm of deeds”’.

Fast forward into the 20th century and Weimar was again the birthplace of a movement, this time of the world’s most influential art and design school. In 1919, Walter Gropius established the Bauhaus School and assembled the whole of the European avantgarde of the time in Thuringia to teach at the new school of design. ‘Haus am Horn’, the most famous example of Bauhaus architecture, was built as a model house for the first architecture exhibition in 1923 and is one of three Bauhaus sites in Weimar.
As befits an institution that is dedicated to the roots of Modernism, the Bauhaus Museum, currently in a neoclassical building opposite the National Theatre, will finally get a new home. The winners of an international architectural competition for the new museum were announced in summer 2012 and the design sounds spectacular; a geometrically clear shape forming a dominant solitaire at the edge of the Weimarhallen park in the town centre.

Apart from all its elegant palaces, museums and beautiful parks, Weimar is also a very liveable town, keen on letting its hair down now and then. Every October since 1653 the Onion Festival (12 to 14 Oct 2012) celebrates the humble plant, and it is the biggest such festival worldwide. Onion garlands, decorated with colourful dried flowers, are popular souvenirs, there are stands selling handicrafts, food and drink, music and an Onion Market Queen who reigns for one year. The whole historic town centre is one big party and 350,000 visitors make this the biggest festival in Thuringia. Not quite UNESCO World Heritage material yet, but another reason why Weimar is more than worthwhile.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Home away from home: Leonardo Hotel, Weimar

Leonardo Hotel Weimar - ExteriorThe modern four star Leonardo Hotel is within walking distance of the historical old town and immediately next to a park by the river Ilm. The location also accounts for the beautiful park and river views from many of the 294 rooms.
Leonardo Hotel Weimar - LobbyAll rooms are decorated in a classic and comfortable design. They feature a telephone, satellite TV, WiFi and a full bathroom in addition to air conditioning in all areas of the hotel. There is an extensive breakfast buffet in the mornings, while international and local specialties are served a la carte during the day.
Relaxation is also provided for in the health club, situated under a large domed glass roof. In addition to the indoor swimming pool; a whirlpool, sauna, solarium, fitness area and beauty & wellness center are also available for use. Two bowling alleys and a billiard table provide for additional entertainment.
For a full tour of the hotel, check out the official hotel video.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Make sure you protect yourself and your investment: Travel Insurance

Incantato Tours requires getting travel insurance for your upcoming journey.
Not only are you covered medically should anything happen when traveling, but with a company of your choice or with our preferred supplier and TravelGuard's policies, you also protect your investment should you have to cancel or interrupt the trip. Last but not least, there is also coverage for delayed and lost luggage, etc.
Here is a direct line to purchase travel insurance online, and you can do so with your credit cards and also select the option that is best for you.

In the meantime, have a look at the most comprehensive coverage option The Protect Assist Gold below.

Protect Assist (Gold) -
Comprehensive Travel Protection for the World Traveler
  • Trip Cancellation
  • JUST ADDED! - Trip Cancellation due to employment loss or layoff
    if employed with the same employer 1 year or longer
  • Trip Interruption and Travel Delay
  • Emergency Medical and Emergency Medical Transportation
  • Baggage and Travel Document Protection
  • Baggage Delay and Lost Baggage Tracking
  • NEW - Cancel For Any Reason option now available
  • NEW - Cancel For Work Reasons option now available
  • NEW - Children age 17 and under covered at no additional cost
  • IMPROVED -Trip Cancellation limit increased to $100,000 (from $15,000),
  • IMPROVED - Trip Interruption coverage increased to 150% of Trip Cost
  • IMPROVED - Travel Delay required hours reduced to 5 hours (from 12)

ProtectAssist special features:
  • Best coverage for Weather Related Cancellations
  • Pre-existing Condition Exclusion Waiver*
  • Default/Bankruptcy Protection*
  • $50,000 Flight Accident Insurance*
  • 24-Hour "LiveTravel" Travel Agency
  • Emergency Cash Transfers
  • Identity Theft Restoration

* These additional benefits apply If you are purchasing within 15 days of making your initial trip deposit or payment, however, coverage may still be purchased at any time up to 24 hours prior to departure.
Increase your coverage with these valuable additions to your Protect Assist Plan:

Cancel For Any Reason – 50%
reimbursement of nonrefundable expenses if you cancel your trip for any reason, up to 48 hours prior to your departure. Only available when this plan is purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment.

Cancel For Work Reasons –
Offers additional work-related reasons for cancellation or interruption. Also includes our exclusive “Business Assistant” services if you have work obligations during your travels. Only available when this plan is purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment.

Umbrella Package – Medical Expense limits are doubled and coverage is upgraded to primary. Emergency Medical Transportation limits are doubled and benefits upgraded to take you home or to the hospital of your choice. $25,000 Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage will be added.

Car Rental Collision Coverage – $35,000 in primary coverage. Covers cost of repairs for covered collision damage to a rental car for which the car rental contract holds you responsible. Subject to $250 deductible.

Optional coverages cannot be purchased separately. Must be purchased with base ProtectAssist plan.

Comprehensive non-insurance travel services* automatically included with plan!
With the ProtectAssist plan, every customer also has access to these valuable travel services when they travel:
· Arrangements for last-minute flight changes
· Hotel finder and reservations
· Rental car reservations
· Emergency medical assistance
· BagTrak® -- lost baggage tracking
· Pre-trip health and safety advisories
· Live e-mail and phone messaging to family and friends
· Cash transfers
· Airport transportation
· Golf course reservations
· Event ticketing
· Floral services
· Identity Theft restoration

Business Assistant* (available when Optional Cancel for Work Reasons coverage is purchased)

*Non-Insurance services are provided by AIG Travel Assist.

Citizenship: All Nationalities
Residency: United States
New York, Oregon, and Washington residence please call to purchase
Some rider options are not available and other restrictions may apply

Destination: Worldwide
Ages: All Ages
Max Trip Length: 365 Days

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

News at the Mozarthaus in Vienna!

Only one of Mozart’s apartments in Vienna still exists today, where the composer lived from 1784 to 1787. Here, the life and works of this musical genius are presented in and around the apartment on four exhibition levels. The exhibition focuses on his years in Vienna, which marked a high point in his creativity. In addition to this permanent exhibition, the Mozarthaus Vienna is once again providing a range of new offers and services:

Special exhibition extended
Due to the high level of public interest, the current special exhibition "Between Fear and Hope - Mozart's rise and fall in the Viennese society" has been extended until January 6th, 2013. Visitors can view the exhibition with the regular ticket for Mozarthaus Vienna. The exhibition features letters and documents that illustrate the musical genuis' varying degrees of success.

Concert program for the 2012/23 season
A comprehensive concert program completes the offer of the Mozarthaus Vienna in the upcoming 2012/13 season. Click on the following link for the detailed program (available in the summer): Mozarthaus Vienna - Events - Concerts

Special "museum and concert" package
Our special "museum and concert" package combines a visit to the museum with an exclusive concert in the concert hall of the Mozarthaus Vienna. The standard package can be upgraded to include a guided tour and can also be booked to take place outside of regular opening hours. 
For further information you can either contact them under or take a look at the website section for special offers for groups.

Eat as the locals do: Austria

Traditional Austrian cuisine is composed of influences from throughout the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Nearby regions, such as Italy, Hungary, Germany, and the Balkans, have also had an effect on Austrian cooking.

WIENER SCHNITZEL is a breaded veal cutlet. It is dipped in flour, egg, and bread crumbs, then fried in butter or oil to a golden brown.

GULASCH is a stew, similar to Hungarian “pörkölt”, of meat and vegetables. Austrian goulasch is often eaten with rolls, bread or dumplings.

BOSNA, sometimes called Bosner, is a spicy Austrian fast food dish. Similar to a hot dog, it consists of a Bratwurst sausage, onions, and a blend of ketchup, mustard, and curry powder. It is made with white bread, which is usually grilled before serving.

KAISERSCHMARRN is a light, caramelized pancake made from a sweet batter with flour, eggs, sugar, salt, and milk, which is baked in butter. The pancake gets split into pieces while frying, shredded after preparation, and is usually sprinkled with powder sugar. It is served hot with an apple or plum sauce, or various fruit compotes.

SACHERTORTE is a chocolate cake that was invented by Franz Sacher in 1832 for Klemens Wenzel von Metternich in Vienna.

ALMDUDLER is the brand name of a popular Austrian soft drink. It is a sweetened carbonated beverage made of grape and apple juice concentrates and flavored with herbs. The flavor is similar to ginger ale.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2013 Bellarmine University Performance Tour Route

View Larger Map

Weimar, Germany: A city of culture

Weimar, Germany, is best known for its cultural heritage. Located in the federal state of Thuringia southwest of Leipzig, Weimar dates back as far as the year 889. The city previously served as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar. Weimar is historically recognized as the locaton of the signing of Germany’s first democratic constitution following World War I, lending its name to the Weimar Republic period of German politics (1918 – 1933). The city was also the focal point of the German Enlightenment and the home of Goethe and Schiller, the prime authors of the literary genre of Weimar Classicism. Additionally, Weimar is the birthplace of the Bauhaus fine arts movement, founded in 1919 by artists Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, and Lyonel Feininger. Weimar is home to Germany’s most important musical and theatrical venue, the Deutsche National Theater and Staatskapelle Weimar. The twin institution, consisting of the German National Theater and the symphony orchestra Staatskapelle Weimar, operates a total of six stages throughout the city, hosting touring orchestras and theater companies from throughout the world. Throughout the years, many of Weimar’s historical landmarks have become designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Weimar was even selected by the European Council of Ministers in 1999 as the European Capital of Culture.

Johann Sebastian Bach up close in the Bachhaus in Eisenach - Germany

The Bachhaus in Eisenach (Bachhaus Eisenach) is the oldest museum devoted to the composer Johann Sebastian Bach, who was born and baptized in Eisenach and lived in the city until he was 10 years old. Today, Eisenach is home to the Bachhaus, which is the world's leading museum about the great composer and his works. It is located in a 550 year old half-timbered house on the Frauenplan that was purchased by the Neue Bachgesellschaft (New Bach Society) in 1906 and reopened as a museum in 1907. It contains original documents by Bach and provides a specialist library for researchers. In the summer, visitors to the museum can also visit a small Baroque garden behind the house. A modern wing, called the Penkues Building (after the architectural firm that designed it) opened in 2007. The exhibits will lead you through the life in Bach's time, musical instruments from the Bach era, the composer's works, and a few surprises (such as the step-by-step forensic reconstruction of Bach's head), or a movie that shows a rehearsal of the Thomaskirche Boys Choir in Leipzig, which Bach directed from 1723 to 1750.
As a bonus, you'll be treated to a mini-concert of Bach's music on a clavichord, a harpsichord and an organ during your visit to the museum. If you have time, you can sit in a "bubble chair" and listen to recorded music with headphones.
The Bachhaus also has a shop that sells recordings, books and posters. The "Café Kantate" will provide snacks and drinks after you've had your fill of history.
Hours. The Bachhaus Eisenach is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, except for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Concert Venues: Thomaskirche, Leipzig

The great Thomaskirche is one of the main highlights of Leipzig, a town many refer to as the “City of Music.” Thomaskirche houses many renowned musicians, including the Boys Choir, as well as the final resting place of the grand composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Today people come from all over the world to the Church of St. Thomas to experience church services, unique performances from the Boys Choir and the Gewandhaus Orchestra, as well as intricate organ concerts.
Thomaskirche once served as a critical pawn during the Christian Reformation, as Martin Luther often preached in the 12th century church. In 1355 the original Romanesque chancel was remodeled in a Gothic scheme, coinciding with the congregation’s split from the Roman Catholic Church.
Johann Sebastian Bach served as the choir director at Thomaskirche from 1723 until his death in 1750. A statue of Bach standing outside the church’s entrance was dedicated in the composer’s memory in 1908. Although renovations in the mid-1800s resulted in the removal of all Baroque equipment, a commemorative Bach organ, in the style of the original used by Bach, was installed in the sanctuary in 2000. The older romantic organ also remains, but is considered “unsuitable” for playing Bach’s music and is only used when appropriate.
The roof’s unusual 63 degree angle and sanctuary’s intricately designed vaulted ceilings result in unbelievable acoustics and highly complimentary reverberation.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Ettersburg Palace - possible concert venue

Ettersburg Palace, made up of the three-winged Old Palace (1706-12), with an adjoining church to the East and fronted to the South by the main building (the New Palace: built in 1722 and renovated from 1728-40), was used as a Summer residence by Duchess Anna Amalia from 1776 to 1780. The baroque palace is surrounded by an English style landscape park. Two parterres and the six-hectare countryside park supplement the palace complex, which was also used as a hunting lodge by the Weimar dukes. In the mid 19th century, Duke Carl Alexander had the outside areas redesigned and extended by the Weimar court gardener Eduard Petzold. One of the existing avenues of an historic hunting "etoile" leading directly to the palace was converted into a long forest meadow by Prince Hermann Pueckler von Muskau together with Petzold, his student. Members of the Duchess Anna Amalia's literary and musical set - which included Wieland, Goethe, Herder amongst others - would meet up here in the Summer months. There were even performances by Goethe's amateur dramatic group: the "Weimarer Liebhabertheater". 

Next stop Vienna - here are some fun facts about Austria's capital city

  • Vienna is situated on the Danube River and is the largest city and the capital of Austria. Not only that, Vienna is also the Federal province of Austria.
  • It has the 3rd highest quality of living in European Union. People from Vienna are called Viennese.
  • The major religion of the people is Christianity. The major language spoken in Vienna is German. Surprisingly the voting age in Austria is only 16 years old.
  • Vienna is the only Austrian city-state in Austria, which is a federal republic.
  • Vienna is divided into 23 districts. The city center in Vienna is a World Heritage Site.
  • Vienna is known worldwide as the city of music and is home to great music hall with excellent acoustics.
  • Vienna is the last great capital of the Nineteenth Century Ball.
  • The Museumsquartier, which is one of the largest cultural complexes in the world, is present In Vienna.
  • World famous classical composers, including Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, Schubert, and Brahms, have all lived and performed in Vienna.
  • Vienna is home to the setting of Graham Greene's novel ‘The Third Man’ that is an actual city casting melancholy and telling the story of the Cold War.
  • Vienna is considered as a city of cultural heritage. It has been home to various great artists Gustav Klimt, Sigmund Freud, Arthur Schnitzler
  • Tiergarten Schönbrunn, which is world’s oldest zoological garden,  was founded in 1752,
  • The largest emerald of the world, which is of a whopping 2860 caret, is displayed in the Imperial Treasury in Vienna.
  • The highest waterfall in Europe is in Kriml Falls, which is close by Vienna. The water falls 1,250 feet.
  • One of its only kind and one of the oldest Giant Wheel is there in Vienna, which is probably its one of the most familiar attractions. It is situated in a large wooded amusement park called as Prater. It has 15 Gondolas, which offers a scenic view of Vienna.
  • Europe’s second largest cemetery is situated in Vienna, which is called as Zentralfriedhof, it has a total size of 2.5 square kilometers/one square miles.
  • Zentralfriedhof also has over 2.5 million tombs, which is almost double than the city’s live population. It also has tombs of some of the most famous personalities of the world such as Beethoven, Brahms, Gluck, Schubert, Schoenberg, and Strauss.

Concert venue - Stephansdom, Vienna, Austria

Incantato Concert Venue: Stephansdom, Vienna

Saint Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, reigns as the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schoenberg. The cathedral’s present Romanesque and Gothic façade was commissioned by Rudolf IV and stands atop the ruins of two earlier churches. The church is located in the heart of Vienna within the Stephansplatz district. It is not only considered the most important religious structure in the capital city, but the cathedral’s multi-colored tile roofing also makes it the most recognizable. Saint Stephen’s Cathedral boasts a very important organ tradition. The sanctuary’s first organ was installed in 1334 but was unfortunately destroyed during a fire in 1945. Michael Kauffmann constructed a large electric organ in its place in 1960 which includes 125 voices, four manuals, and over 9,000 pipes, all financed by public donation. In 1991 the current choir organ was built by the Austrian firm Rieger. The new mechanical organ is comprised a more modest 56 voices and four manuals.A prominent Vienna landmark, Saint Stephen’s Cathedral is featured in many media productions including films, video games, and television shows. These include the 1949 Orson Welles film “The Third Man,” and the 2004 video game “Burnout 3.” An image of the cathedral is also depicted on the Austrian 10 cent Euro coin as well as the packaging of the popular Manner-Schnitten wafer treat. In 2008, Broadway star Sarah Brightman performed a promotional concert in Saint Stephen’s Cathedral which was recorded for television broadcast and released later in DVD form. 

Welcome to Passau!

Passau on the blue Danube, the green Inn and the black Ilz

Passau in the southeast of Germany is located at the Austrian border. Situated at the confluence of the rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz, Passau is worldwide known as "The Three Rivers City".The earliest evidence of human settlement dates back to the Neolithic. Passau was part of the Roman Empire for more than 400 years. It became an Episcopal seat in the year 739 AD. Passau was an independent prince bishopric for over 600 years. Finally in 1803 Passau was annexed into Bavaria. The setting of the Old Town, created by Italian baroque masters in the 17th century, shows soaring towers, picturesque places, enchanting promenades and romantic lanes.In the heart of Passau on the Old Town’s highest point rises St. Steven’s Cathedral, in which the world’s largest cathedral organ sounds. Sitting high above the rivers, the majestic fortress "Veste Oberhaus" on the Danube’s side and the Pilgrimage Church "Mariahilf" on the Inn’s side frame the city outstandingly beauty.Passau with its unique charm and its atmosphere is one of the most beautiful and spectacular German cities on the Danube.
Barock_Logo_rotIn the year 2012 Passau is going to celebrate its 350th anniversary as a baroque town built in Italian baroque style. Year-round will be numerous events like concerts in the Cathedral, festivals, symposia, lectures, music performances, guided tours, etc. based on the theme “Baroque“. The ultimate highlight of the “Year of Baroque“ will be the Baroque Festival“ in Passau´s city centre from the 31st of August to the 2nd of September, 2012.
Further information you will find in

Fun Facts About Munich

  • The Bavarian city is called "Minga" in the Bavarian slang.
  • Its native name, "München", is derived from the German word "Mönche", meaning "Monks".
  • The park called "Englischer Garten", close to the city centre, is larger than Central Park in New York.
  • Best known for the largest beergarden in the town is the former royal "Hirschgarten", founded in 1780 for deer which still live there.
  • On October 16, 2009, the International Olympic Committee has listed Munich as one of the three Applicant Cities for 2018 Winter Olympic Games, with Annecy (France), and Pyeongchang (South Korea). If chosen, Munich will be the first city to host both the Summer (1972) and Winter Olympic Games.
  • The "Deutsches Museum" or "German Museum", located on an island in the River Isar, is one of the oldest and largest science museums in the world.
  • Munich has played host to many prominent composers including Orlando di Lasso, W.A. Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Max Reger and Carl Orff. With the music festival "Biennale", the city still contributes to modern music theatre.
  • In 2010 the famous beer festival "Oktoberfest" celebrated its 200 year anniversary.
  • The "Weißwürste" (white sausages) are a Munich speciality. Traditionally eaten only before 12:00 noon - a tradition dating to a time before refrigerators - these morsels are often served with sweet mustard and pretzels.
  • For its urban population of 2.6 million people, Munich and its closest suburbs have one of the most comprehensive and punctual systems in the world. The Munich Tramway is the oldest existing public transportation system in the city, which has been in operation since 1876.