Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Travel Insurance - Please make sure you are protected!

Incantato Tours strongly recommend getting travel insurance for your upcoming journey. Not only are you covered medically should anything happen when traveling, but with TravelGuard's policies, you also protect your investment should you have to cancel or interrupt the trip. Last not least, there is also coverage for delayed and lost luggage etc.
Here is a direct line to purchase travel insurance online and can you 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

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.


Eligibility
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

Monday, July 5, 2010

Full House for the Carolina International Chorale at St. Michael's Church in Budapest

The Carolina International Chorale concluded its 2010 Incantato Performance Tour to Central Europe on July 2 with a finale highlight concert at St. Michael's Church in the heart of Budapest. The singers & string players from Chapel Hill, NC under the direction of Dr. Sue Klausmeyer were supported by local musicians from the Matyas Templon Orchestra and enchanted the audience with works from Mozart and Vivaldi along with a selection of American spirituals. A full house and lots of applause was the perfect ending for the 11-day journey that started in Prague and went via Cesky Krumlov, the Wachau Valley and Vienna (Austria) to Hungary.









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Friday, July 2, 2010

CIC finale 2010 European Tour Concert takes place at St. Michael's Church in Budapest on July 2 at 6 pm

On Friday, July 2, the musicians from Chapel Hill, NC, are presenting the last tour concert in the heart of Budapest, at the beautiful baroque church of St. Michael.
Here is a short history of the finale concert venue for the Carolina International Chorale & String-Ensemble.
The Church of St Michael was built in the 18th century on the spot of a medieval dominican church destroyed during turkish wars. A temporary chapel was standing here between 1700 and 1716, present church was finished only by 1765. Figure of Virgin Mary adorning its frontal facade is considered to be created by Donner. Statues of Saint Dominic and Saint Thomas Aquinas carved by Joseph Hebenstreit also decorate this facade. The church had a vivid history in the XIXth century: although destroyed by fire and floods, it managed to survive and got restored. The latest restoration started in 1999. The single-naved church was decorated with ceiling frescoes and side paintings in the middle of the 18th century. The main altar, inlaid benches, furniture of the sacristy date back to 1760, they are works of Dominican monks. The main altar shows St. Dominic with Virgin Mary handing a rosary to him. Statues of important religious persons in connection with the Dominican order can be found around the painting. On the left: statue of Pope Pius V. and St. Antoninus, Archbishop of Florence. On the right: St. Augustine and Pope Innocent V. The first organ of the church was built in 1801 by organ builder Joseph Herodek which was entirely rebuilt by company Rieger in 1893. It was again renovated in 1951. Baroque statues depicting King David playing the harp and two angels are shown on the top of the organ.
For more information and a virtual visit, click on the following link

July 2: CIC visits Szentendre

Szentendre is a riverside town in Pest county, Hungary, near the capital city Budapest. It is known for its museums (most notably the Open-Air Ethnographic Museum), galleries, and artists. Due to its picturesque appearance and easy rail and river access, it has become a popular destination for tourists staying in Budapest. There are many facilities including shops and restaurants catering for these visitors. Populated for well over a millennium, under the Romans it was called Ulcisia Castra, meaning "Wolf Castle". Since the 1500s it was considered the center of the Hungarian Serb community. At one point it had as many as eight Serbian Orthodox church buildings and 3 chapels, and only one each Roman-Catholic and Evangelical. It is still the see of the Buda Diocese of the Serb Orthodox Church. Szentendre and the surrounding villages were also inhabited by Bulgarians ever since the Middle Ages. In 1690, the Serbian teacher and hegumen Stevan notes that Szentendre was even called Bolgarija by some. It had a Bulgarian neighbourhood of settlers from Chiprovtsi and a Chiprovtsi church. The names of locals clearly hint at a Bulgarian population. In the 1700s, after liberation from the Turks, Szentendre enjoyed a rebirth with Mediterranean leanings, as Serbian, Croatian, Slovak, German and Greek newcomers moved in and lived alongside the Magyar inhabitants. According to the 1720 data, 88% of the population of the town were South Slavs (mostly Serbs, but also some South Slavic Catholics). The town to this day is characterised by a south European atmosphere with much baroque architecture, churches of various faiths, narrow sidestreets, and cobblestone roads.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Home away from home in Budapest: K+K Hotel Opera

The K+K Hotel Opera Budapest ist a 4 star boutique hotel right in the heart of the Hungarian capital city of Budapest. Aside from its ideal location in the city center in a quiet side street just off the Opera, this beautiful property is Austrian-owned and operated which stands for excellence in service and a wonderful breakfast. The main shopping street Vaci Utca is within easy reach too. The quite spacious guest rooms feature individually adjustable air-conditioning, sound-proof windows, satellite TV with international channels, ISDN direct-dial telephone, safe, mini-bar, coffee & tea making facilities, free high speed Internet access via LAN, electronic door lock plus fully equipped bathrooms with bathtub, hair-dryer and cosmetic mirror. The hotel offers a bistro as well as room service. And last not least, there is a wellness area offering a range of services to help your body and mind to relax, provide energy and well being! Sauna and gym can be used free of charge. Massages are available upon request and incur a fee while fitness with weight and cardio training equipment as well as the sauna and relaxation zone are free of charge. We sure hope you agree that when it comes to the Budapest Hotel, change is for the better.

Welcome to Budapest!

Budapest is the next stop on the CIC itinerary. The travelers arrived in the Hungarian city on Thursday, July 1, at around noon. Here are some interesting facts about the vibrating city:

Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it serves as the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation center and is considered an important hub in Central Europe. In 2009, Budapest had 1,712,210 inhabitants, down from a mid-1980s peak of 2.1 million. The Budapest Commuter Area (or Greater Budapest) is home to 3,271,110 people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits.
Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of right (west)-bank Buda and Óbuda with left (east)-bank Pest.
Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement, was the direct ancestor of Budapest, becoming the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Magyars arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-42. The re-established town became one of the centers of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, development of the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after the 1873 unification. It also became the second capital of Austria-Hungary, a great power that dissolved in 1918. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest of 1945, and the Revolution of 1956.
Regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world's largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building. The collections of the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts are also significant. The city attracts over 20 million visitors a year.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Home away from home in Vienna: The Carolina International Chorale stays at Austria Trend Hotel Neue Messe

The Austria Trend Hotel Neue Messe is a modern 4-star hotel located just a short bus ride or subway stop away from Vienna's historic city center. Across the street is the famous Prater Park with its world-famous giant historic Ferris Wheel. Each of the spacious rooms has free internet, voice mail, cable TV, air conditioning and a safe. The breakfast is served buffet-style and offers a variety of traditional breakfast foods along with fresh fruit and really good strong Austrian coffee.

Wednesday, June 30: CIC explores Vienna

CIC is visiting Vienna during the Performance Tour 2010. Incantato Tours discovered some interesting facts about the Austrian city:

Vienna is the capital of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.7 million (2.3 million within the metropolitan area, more than 25% of Austria's population), and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 10th largest city by population in the European Union. Vienna is host to many major international organizations such as the United Nations and OPEC. Vienna lies in the east of Austria and is close to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Founded around 500 BC, Vienna was originally a Celtic settlement. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2005 an Economist Intelligence Unit study of 127 world cities ranked it first equal with Vancouver for the quality of life. This assessment was mirrored by the Mercer Survey in 2009.
Art and culture have a long tradition in Vienna, including theater, opera, classical music and fine arts. The Burgtheater is considered one of the best theaters in the German-speaking world alongside its branch, the Akademietheater. The Volkstheater Wien and the Theater in der Josefstadt also enjoy good reputations. There is also a multitude of smaller theaters, in many cases devoted to less mainstream forms of performing arts, such as modern, experimental plays or cabaret.
Vienna is also home to a number of opera houses, including the Theater an der Wien, the Staatsoper and the Volksoper, the latter being devoted to the typical Viennese operetta. Classical concerts are performed at well known venues such as the Wiener Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Wiener Konzerthaus. Many concert venues offer concerts aimed at tourists, featuring popular highlights of Viennese music (particularly the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss).
In recent years, the Theater an der Wien has become widely known for hosting premieres of musicals, although it has recently devoted itself to the opera again. The most successful musical by far was "Elisabeth", which was later translated into several other languages and performed all over the world. The Haus der Musik ("house of music") opened in 2000.

CIC in Göttweig: Regina Coeli by W. A. Mozart

CIC in Göttweig: Regina Coeli

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CIC: "Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal"

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Impressions from the CIC Concert at Göttweig Abbey







Monday, June 28, 2010

CIC concertizes at the Stiftskirche (Benedictine Abbey of Goettweig, Austria) on Tuesday, June 29, at 7:30 pm

The abbey, situated on the Göttweig Mountain, is - because of its location - sometimes called the Austrian Montecassino. The Monastery, founded in 1083 by Saint Altmann, sits on a hill 449 m above sea level in the Dunkelsteiner Forest south of the city of Krems, on the eastern edge of the world-famous Danube Valley called the Wachau. With the Wachau, Göttweig was in 2001 placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. And on Tuesday, June 29, the Carolina International Chorale will be performing in the prestigious Stiftskirche pictured below.


Goettweig Abbey by Herr Specht.

At first, Augustines worked here, to be followed in 1094 by Benedictine monks from the Monastery of St. Blasien in the Black Forest. The Benedictines have been living, learning and teaching on Göttweig Mountain for more than 900 years. The goal of their life is to glorify God in prayer and work according to the Rule of their Order’s founder, Saint Benedict, the Patron Saint of Europe. Currently 54 monks belong to the monastic community. More than 30 of them give pastoral care to parishioners and pilgrims in the Dioceses of Vienna and St. Pölten. Forestry and viticulture have been the economic basis of the Monastery since it was founded - today completed by various touristic and economic efforts.

Beautiful Wachau: CIC in Dürnstein on Tuesday, June 29

Dürnstein is a small town on the Danube river in the Krems-Land district, in the Austrian state of Lower Austria. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Wachau region and also a well-known wine growing area. The municipality consists of the Katastralgemeinden Dürnstein, Oberloiben and Unterloiben. The town gained its name from the medieval castle which overlooked it. The castle was called "Duerrstein" or "Dürrstein", from the German duerr/dürr meaning "dry" and Stein, "stone". The castle was dry because it was situated on a rocky hill, high above the damp conditions of the Danube at the base of the hill, and it was built of stone. Dürnstein was first mentioned in 1192, when, in the castle above the town, King Richard I Lionheart of England was held captive by Duke Leopold V of Austria after their dispute during the Third Crusade. Richard had personally offended Leopold by casting down his standard from the walls at the Battle of Acre, and the duke suspected that King Richard ordered the murder of his cousin Conrad of Montferrat in Jerusalem. In consequence Pope Celestine III excommunicated Leopold for capturing a fellow crusader. The duke finally gave the custody of Richard to Emperor Henry VI, who imprisoned Richard at Trifels Castle. Dürnstein Castle was almost completely destroyed by the troops of the Swedish Empire under Field Marshal Lennart Torstenson in 1645. Dürnstein Abbey (Stift Dürnstein) was established in 1410 by Canons Regular from Třeboň and from 1710 rebuilt in a Baroque style according to plans by Joseph Munggenast, Jakob Prandtauer and Matthias Steinl. The monastery was dissolved by order of Emperor Joseph II in 1788 and fell to the Herzogenburg Priory. During the War of the Third Coalition the Battle of Dürenstein was fought nearby on November 11, 1805.

Discover Melk Abbey

Melk Abbey will welcome the CIC travelers on Tuesday morning, June 29. Melk Abbey was originally a palace, and it shows. 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.

Home away from Home in Krems - June 28 & 29

Steigenberger Avance Hotel, a 4 star hotel, is surrounded by vineyards, apricot gardens and mystical villages. In the middle of this enchanting countryside, high above the river Danube and the 1,000 year old town of Krems, stands the hotel. It offers splendid views of the city of Krems and marvelous opportunities for walks through Lower Austria’s lovely Wachau region. One can also enjoy the Spa World, the hotel's wellness area. It includes an infinity indoor pool with large panorama windows, that allow views of the vineyards, a panorama terrace with pool bar, as well as organic herbal saunas and more.

CIC explores Linz

On their way to Krems, the CIC travelers stop in Linz and explore the Austrian city on a guided tour. Linz is the third-largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria. It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately 30 km south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube. The population of the city is 189,284 (2009), and that of the Greater Linz conurbation is 271,000. The city was founded by the Romans, who called it Lentia. The name Linz was first recorded in 799 AD, after Bavarians expanded south and Linz became a center of trade.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Next stop: Krems, Austria

Visit the website of Krems and the Danube Valley for information and impressions from the beautiful part of Austria.

CIC Wine Tasting this afternoon - Essential culinary experiences on the 2010 CIC Tour

In addition to planning unique performance tours to Europe, our team of American and European travel specialists and concert managers shares another passion. Those of you who traveled with Incantato already know that we are foodies and love to share our culinary discoveries with you. This refers to the meals you enjoy together as a group as well as the times when you are on your own. Have a look at the Sonnleitner wine cellar and their tasting room which CIC will visit this afternoon for a special tasting. The terrace even offers you a spectacular view of the Benedictine Abbey where CIC is presenting a highlight concert on Tuesday, June 29 at 7:30 pm.