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

video

CIC: "Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal"

video

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.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

CIC concert at Chapel of St. Ann in Panenské Brezany (Czech Republic) on Saturday, June 26, at 6 pm

The beautiful Chapel of St. Ann was built by architect Jan Blažej Santini Aichel in the 18th century and it will be renovated soon. The chapel is based on circles crossing each other in intricate ways. The organ is precious and can be used for concerts.
Jan Blažej Santini Aichel (February 3, 1677 - December 7, 1723) was a Czech architect of Italian descent, whose major works represent a curious amalgam of the Gothic and Baroque styles. Santini was born in Prague to a family of stonemasons. His grandfather Antonin Aichel moved from Italy to Prague in the 30th of the 17th century. Borromini's influence is apparent in his predilection for star-shaped forms and complex symbolism. Many of his buildings are airy and elegant, yet he was considered a maverick genius by his contemporaries and exerted little influence on subsequent generations of Bohemian architects.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

First CIC Tour Concert at St. Nicholas Church in Prague on Friday, June 25, at 2 pm

The Hussite Church of St. Nicholas on the Old Town Square in Prague is the venue for the first CIC 2010 Performance Tour concert. The Carolina International Chorale and String Ensemble present an afternoon concert at this beautiful baroque church on Friday, June 25, at 2 pm.
The construction on St. Nicholas was completed in 1735. It replaced a parish church, mentioned in records dating back as early as 1273. It wasn't until 1901, when the Krenn House was demolished, that its lovely white façade became visible to the rest of the Old Town Square. It simply gleams, hit by the sun during the day and lit by strong white lights at night. St. Nicholas is a Baroque church, decorated with sculptures by Antonín Braun. The interior design was inspired by the chapel of St. Louis-des-invalides in Paris. The delicate stucco decoration was executed by Bernardo Spinetti, and the frescos are by Peter Adam the Elder. In 1781 decoration inside St. Nicholas was removed after emperor Josef II ordered the closure of all monasteries without a social function.From 1870-1914 St. Nicholas became Russian Orthodox. Then, during the second World War, Czech army units were stationed here and artists were set to work restoring the church. After the war, St. Nicholas was handed over to the Czech Hussite movement, with whom it remains today. It now serves as both a church and a magnificent venue for classical concerts.

Welcome to Prague!


Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated on the Vltava River in central Bohemia, Prague has been the political, cultural and economic centre of the Czech state for more than 1100 years. For many decades during the Gothic and Renaissance eras, Prague was the permanent seat of two Holy Roman Emperors and thus was also the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Today, the city proper is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 1.9 million. Since 1992, the extensive historic centre of Prague has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, making the city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, receiving more than 4.1 million international visitors annually.
Prague is traditionally one of the cultural centres of Europe, hosting many cultural events. There are hundreds of concert halls, galleries, cinemas and music clubs in the city. Prague hosts Music Festivals including the Prague Spring International Music Festival, the Prague Autumn International Music Festival and the Prague International Organ Festival. Film festivals include the Febiofest, the One World and Echoes of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Prague also hosts the Prague Writers' Festival, the Summer Shakespeare Festival, the Prague Fringe Festival, the World Roma Festival as well as hundreds of Vernissages and fashion shows.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wishing you safe travels to Central Europe


The CIC Tour is about to take off on Incantato's preferred airline: Lufthansa. After your short commuter flights, the members of the 2010 CIC Central Europe Performance Tour, are boarding the German airline for the long-haul and inter-European journey. While we recommend that you do get some sleep on the transatlantic overnight flight, you are in for several treats such as hot towels to refresh yourself shortly after take-off, two warm meals served with salad and dessert plus two or more recent movies. For more information on the on-board experience, visit Lufthansa's website. The Incantato Tours Team wishes you save travels and an unforgettable stay in Europe!

Weather Forecast for Prague

With the CIC tour to Central Europe just around the corner, the Incantato Tours team had a look at the weather forecast for the next few days in Prague, the first stop on the itinerary. On Thursday, June 24, the weather is said to be mostly sunny with some clouds and temperature around 69°F. Partly cloudy sky and perfect weather for sightseeing (71°F) awaits CIC on Friday, June 25. On Saturday it is again partly cloudy (69°F) in Prague.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vienna Restaurant Tip: Fabios

Dear CIC travelers,
If you would like to dine at a high quality restaurant, then follow the tip of the website www.redguide.at and visit Fabios. Owner Fabio Giacobello says that Italian cuisine is a matter of the heart, and you can taste that. The Vienna VIPs aren’t the only ones that are convinced of the Italian’s culinary art. International celebrities also love the place, Mick Jagger, Uma Thurman and Bruce Springsteen were already here. The restaurant is located on the street Tuchlauben 6, 1010 Vienna; phone: +43 01 5322222. It's open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 1 am.

Vienna Sightseeing Tip: The Mumok

The Mumok (Museum Moderner Kunst/Museum of Modern Art) is the biggest museum of contemporary art in Central Europe, and Vienna’s greatest. The Mumok is always worth a visit, if only for its architecture. And inside it’s just as impressive, since the curators can draw from an extensive collection and present interesting focal points. There are five levels with works by Pablo Picasso, Nam June Paik, Andy Warhol and Günter Brus, ranging from Pop Art to Photorealism and from Fluxus to New Realism. 230 pieces were given to the museum by the German industrialist and art lover Peter Ludwig and his wife Irene in 1981. The Mumok regularly organizes special exhibitions and is known for its large collection of art related to Viennese Actionism. The Mumok is located in the Museumsquartier in Vienna, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien; Phone: +43-1-525 00. It is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm, Thursdays till 9 pm. This sightseeing tip originates from the website www.redguide.at.


Take a ride on the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel

Dear members of the Carolina International Chorale & String Ensemble,
If you would like to see Vienna from above and enjoy an amazing experience, then go on a ride with the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel. On Wednesday, June 30, you have the opportunity to take a ride in the evening, please advise Dr. Klausmeyer if you would like to participate.
Here is some information about the famous Ferris Wheel: The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel (in German: Riesenrad) is located at the entrance of the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt. It is now one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions, and symbolizes the district as well as the city for many people. The Riesenrad was one of the earliest Ferris wheels, erected in 1897 to celebrate Emperor Franz Josef I's golden Jubilee, and has an overall height of 64.75 meters (212.4 ft). The wheel originally had 30 gondolas, but was severely damaged in the World War II, and when it was rebuilt, only 15 gondolas were replaced. The spokes are steel cables, in tension, and the wheel is driven by a circumferential cable which leaves the wheel and passes through the drive mechanism under the base. A demolition permit for the Riesenrad was issued in 1916, but due a lack to funds with which to carry out the destruction, it survived. For more information, please click here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vienna City Tips

Dear travelers,
If you would like to know more about the beautiful city of Vienna, what to see and where to shop, then visit the website www.redguide.at. You will also find more pictures online to get an impression about the Austrian capital which you are going to visit on June 30.

A quick reminder about the luggage policy on your upcoming tour

Dear Members of the CIC 2010 Performance Tour. We sure hope you are looking forward to being in Europe soon. Here is a quick reminder about what to bring and also what not.
Due to limited luggage space on the coach, Incantato's policy allows only one checked suitcase within the dimensions and weight limites imposed by Lufthansa for international flights.
The size of the bag is not to exceed 62 inches and not to exceed 50 pounds (23 kilos).
You are also allowed a small, and we recommend ideally backpack-style carry-on, which should not exceed 45 total inches and a weight of 18 pounds or 8 kilos.
I wish we could make any exceptions for garment bags, but cannot do so with the amount of travellers coming on the CIC tour and sharing one coach. As you also have fellow violinists and viola players traveling whose instruments are fragile and cannot be checked, we kindly ask you to please allow the strings to board ahead of you as just in case the room in the overhead compartment should fill up all the way, additional carry-ons will be checked curbside, but we would not want for that to happen to a string instrument.
Here is the answer we received from our partners at Lufthansa in regards to their carry-on policies and advise how we can all work together to benefit the string players when it comes to bringing their instruments on the plane:
Please advise the travelers to take as little carry-on with them as possible. Since the group occupies about 1/3 of the connecting flights, that should then not be a problem with the over-head bins.The passengers with carry-on string instruments should approach the gate agent and ask to be considered for preboarding and point out the violas and violins.

Cell phone links to help you travel internationally

Cell phones can be tricky if you don't notify your wireless company prior to leaving the country. When you do notify them, the process is pretty painless, but you have to notify them. There are various services to meet your needs, regarding phone calls, messages, texts, pictures, etc. Since there are so many carriers, we are giving you some links to go to based on your provider. Hopefully this will help you stay connected while you are traveling this summer.

For T-Mobile:
WorldClass international service

For Verizon:
http://b2b.vzw.com/international/Roaming/index.html

For Sprint:
http://shop.sprint.com/en/services/worldwide/worldwide.shtml

For AT&T:
http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/international/roaming/international-roaming.jsp

Monday, June 14, 2010

Power in Europe

Dear travelers,
Here’s another travel tip from Greg Egan that might be useful to you. If you are bringing digital cameras, laptops, etc. on our trip or anything else that needs power then you might want to read on. Here in the U.S. we run on 110 volts/60 cycles. In Europe they run on 220 volts/50 cycles. In the past, people who traveled to Europe had to bring power converters that were heavy and expensive but would turn foreign voltage/cycles into U.S. voltage/cycles. However, most, if not all power supplies that we now have for cameras and computers are dual voltage. That means they can tell what power is coming in and can use it. So, no more power converters. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there is no international standard for the plug that goes into a socket. Which means that the plug we have (2 or 3 prong here in the U.S.) will not fit in a European socket. In most cases the European socket takes a plug with 2 round prongs. There are adapters that are relatively inexpensive that allow a U.S. plug to plug in to the back of the adapter and the front of the adapter plugs into the European socket.
What you need to do is to look on your power supply (camera, laptop, etc.). On the power supply it will give you the information you need to determine if it is a dual power supply or not. Look for Input 100-240 V (volts) 50-60 Hz (cycles). If it says that or something like it (you need to see 100 or 110 and 220 or 240) then it’s dual voltage.
The adapters for Europe look like the one on the picture. It’s a plug with 4mm round plugs (some are 5mm round plugs but they are for Asia).

Incantato proudly presents: The CIC Concert Marketing Cards



We sure hope you like them as much as we do and thousands have been distributed in Prague, Göttweig and Budapest to spread the word about your upcoming concerts.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Travel Tip: Money matters

Dear Travelers, for more information on how to handle your travel funds, this is a website recommended by one of the CIC tour members: Here is lots of useful information about Travel money comparison also you can directly apply for money cards, travel cards and travel currency cards.
From Incantato's experience, we recommend bringing a small amount of cash (ideally already in Euro) plus a debit card; this allows you to withdraw money from any ATM machine with only being charged a small withdrawal fee. The fee differs between banks. The ATMs in the various countries have only their local currency. Be sure to call your bank before your departure to tell them where you are going and for how long so they won't freeze your account. Some debit cards given by the bank have the compatibility of Visa, MasterCard, however, Visa is the most widely accepted worldwide. If you bring cash, you can exchange it but you will be charged commission and given a less favorable exchange rate to pay for this service. Most places in Europe won't accept traveler's checks anymore or only at a hefty fees, thus we do not recommend to bring them. Also, be prepared to pay for water and a little fee for restroom use. Last not least, there are no free refills on soft drinks in Europe which is why most Europeans ask for little to no ice in their drinks.
Around 20 Euro per day should cover a snack for lunch, drinks, postcards, some souvenirs. Dinners start around 15 Euro and there is not limit to the sky. Now you may be a more conservative spender and there are many ways to lower your expenses such as:
· Most restaurants have menus outside so you can check their price range.
· Venture off the main roads to find a restaurant. These usually have more character, better food, and better prices.
· Bring your own water bottle. Most places have safe tap water to fill up with.
· Buy food from the "convenient" stores. You don't have to sit down in the restaurant for every meal.
· Shop around for souvenirs; many stores have the same things on sale for very different prices.

Last not least, remember that your Incantato Tour Manager is with you pretty much 24/7. Barbara is there to help you make the right choices.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What's going on in the Czech Republic?


If you would like to know what is going on in the Czech Republic, then take a look at the website CzechTourism. There you can find news about festivals, gallery openings, new exhibitions and many more. For example the Bohemia Jazz Fest, which is an open-air festival taking place in mid July on beautiful medieval squares in seven cities throughout the Czech Republic, featuring top jazz artists from around the world such as Stanley Clarke Quartet, Yellow Jackets, Roy Hargrove Quintet and many others. All concerts are free of charge, more info: www.bohemiajazzfest.cz. And then there is the new Krehky Gallery, which just opened in Prague. The Krehky Gallery will showcase the "Krehky Limited Edition" consisting of contemporary Czech glass and porcelain sculptures by Czech artists. More info: www.krehky.cz.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Travel Tipps from Greg Egan

Dear CIC travelers,
Here is some interesting information about your upcoming trip. Thanks to Greg Egan!

Currency: Every country accepts Euros. That makes life a lot easier since we’ll only need Euros and, in fact, some places take U.S. Dollars but prefer Euros.

Carry on Items: Liquids and gels in carryon luggage have to be no more than 3 oz. each and all of them have to fit in a 1 quart zip lock bag. That bag has to be placed in the tray on the X-Ray belt. They have always asked me to take my camcorder out of my backpack and put it on the belt as well. This is also true for Laptop Computers. If you are carrying a netbook (one of the little laptops in a protective sleeve) you can leave it in its sleeve but it must be put on the belt or in a tray. You can leave the power supply in your carry on. For more information you can go to this website http://www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm where there is all of the information about what’s permissible.

Locking Luggage: If you plan on locking your luggage you should use a lock that is sold as a TSA lock and has the red diamond on it. The TSA agents at US airports have a key that opens the lock so they can inspect your checked luggage. These locks are sold everywhere (Target, Wal*Mart, REI). In that way they can open and relock your luggage for overseas travel. If they do open your luggage they leave a nice note telling you they did. Every time they’ve inspected ours everything inside was just as we left it. I wish I could repack as well as they do. I guess practice makes perfect.

European Weather in June

June 23 through July 2 2009 temperature history

Prague

Budapest

Vienna

Date

High

Low

High

Low

High

Low

6/23/09

61

52

68

59

60

54

6/24/09

60

53

76

61

68

58

6/25/09

71

59

81

60

76

59

6/26/09

75

56

74

61

77

60

6/27/09

73

59

76

56

78

58

6/28/09

68

59

74

62

70

63

6/29/09

77

61

81

76

80

62

6/30/09

79

59

85

65

82

61

7/1/09

81

59

87

65

85

63

7/2/09

79

61

85

64

84

61

Averages

72.4

57.8

78.7

62.9

76.0

59.9

Many thanks to Greg Egan who did the research about the weather!