velvet | Austria

Exploring Vienna in a day by foot

Vienna, the capital of Austria, is arguably one of the grandest capitals in Europe. I’ve visited this beautiful city five times over the years and have gotten to know it fairly well. My most recent visit was during a river cruise from Budapest (Hungary) to Nuremberg (Germany) with Viking Cruises. The ship stopped in Vienna […]

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A gorgeous wine region you should know about

I’ve visited many wine regions around the world, from the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Australia to Stellenbosch in South Africa, and Tuscany in Italy to the Napa Valley in California. One wine region I recently visited turned out to be a wonderful surprise: South Styria in the southeastern corner of Austria, about a two-hour drive […]

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Discovering the South Styrian Wine Road

South Styria. To be honest, I’d never heard of this region before until my recent trip to Austria. Situated about a two-hour drive southwest of Vienna, South Styria is a gorgeous region with green rolling hills, mile after mile of vineyards, picturesque villages, wine taverns and lovely, family-owned hotels and inns. I spent several days […]

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The bus stops of Krumbach

A post about bus stops, you might wonder? Yes, this is a post about bus stops. Haha! 🙂 Not any old bus stop, but instead a cool collection of bus stops in the Austrian village of Krumbach (map). Being a fan of architecture and design, my curiosity was piqued when I heard of these designer […]

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A schnaps adventure in Tirol

I have to admit… I’ve never been a big fan of schnaps. This clear brandy distilled from fermented fruits has a high alcohol content and the varieties I tasted in the past were simply mind-blowing, throat-burning strong with little flavour. That perception was radically altered after an extraordinary schnaps tour in Tirol, Austria! A fun-filled […]

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The art of rejuvenation in Vorarlberg

I closed my eyes and took several deep breaths. Each time I exhaled, I gradually started picking up noises which I hadn’t noticed previously: the soft rustling of leaves in the trees and the faint sound of a cow moo-ing in the far distance. What struck me most was the overbearing sound of silence – […]

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Glacier Express - Zermatt (image courtesy of Martha de Jong-Lantink)

Luxury on the slopes

The ski season is now upon us, as resorts in Europe and North America open up their hotel doors, and get the chair lifts running for another busy few months on the slopes. There are some resorts which are so glamorous, you’d want to arrive in a private jet; something that isn’t out of the […]

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A circus act in Vienna

“Where am I staying?”, I asked again, with a hint of disbelief. I just wanted to make sure I heard it right the first time. “The 25Hours Hotel“, she replied. “It’s a brand new design hotel in Vienna, with a circus theme”. That’s it! That’s the phrase that made me doubt my ears the first […]

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A different side of Vienna

I remember my first trip to Vienna more than fifteen years ago very vividly. The first word that crossed my mind was ‘grand. Vienna is indeed a grand city. From the magnificent Hofburg to the splendorous Schönbrunn Palace, the regal Spanish Riding School and the stately Belvedere and Albertina museums, Vienna oozes a unique brand […]

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Plane views: the European Alps

The European Alps are not the largest chain of mountains in the world, nor are they the highest, but they possess a unique charm and history that speak to the imagination of locals and visitors alike. The daunting peaks, impressive slopes and picturesque villages have lured visitors to the Alps for centuries, and today the […]

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