The Road Ahead : 01-Aug-2011
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD AUG/SEP 2011 30 TRAVEL DEPARTURE INTERNATIONAL that you sometimes moor right in the city and can walk to the Christmas markets. Or there will be a choice of fascinating shore excursions. If you prefer to be independent, nothing beats travelling Germany's Romantic Road through smaller towns such as Rothenburg, Dinkelsbuehl and others. With their 'Gingerbread' architecture, they look like the pages from Hansel and Gretel. There is almost always a cobble-stone medieval square and crooked streets lined with half- timbered houses. Roads are well maintained and kept free of snow. If driving yourself doesn't appeal, then consider a guided luxury coach tour. All the hassles of finding your own way and the not-inconsiderable cost of vehicle hire and parking are eliminated and you can sit back in comfort and enjoy the sights. Coach touring, of course, can take you virtually to the door of where you're going. Another plus is getting to share the delights and wonderment of the winter wonderland experience with like-minded company. You might board the coach as strangers, but in no time at all there's a great chance you will make any number of enduring friendships. Vienna g a city of music it has one of the finest opera houses on the planet, and listening to a concert of Christmas carols sung by the Viennese Boy's Choir will have you in raptures. Other highlights are the world famous Spanish Riding School, or plunge in to Vienna's legendary café society. (Don't pass up an opportunity to sample a slice of Sachertorte, the world's most famous chocolate cake), and on the outskirts of Vienna is Schonbrunn, the magnificent palace that was home to Marie-Antoinette. Here will be a Christmas market at the palace. Ah, Salzburg. If you are looking for picture postcard perfection in winter, you could hardly beat Mozart's birthplace with its baroque domes, and the 'sound of music' echoing everywhere. Of all the Christmas markets, I suppose I like Salzburg best, for its superb setting and wandering beautiful Getreidegasse (the street of the swinging signs) and the unique Christmas merchandise -- hand-crafted crystal angels, bells, and captivating wreaths studded with aromatic spices, many I cherish to this day and display every Christmas. www.germany.travel www.austria.info/au MAIN IMAGE: MIRABELL GARDENS (SALZBURG CITY TOURIST OFFICE). PRAGUE. TOY STALL (INSBRUCK TOURIST OFFICE). VIENNA. is one of the great cities of the world, TRAVEL OFFER: Celebrating Christmas in Europe or Britain? Whether you are travelling on a coach tour, or cruising down one of the European Waterways, RACQ Travel has all the latest deals to ensure Club members receive the best advice and value. Europe is even more appealing with Trafalgar taking $200 off the price of stunning Christmas guided holidays for RACQ members. This means the English Stately Homes at Christmas tour, priced from $1125 per person, twin share (land only), is just $925 for members. Contact your RACQ Travel consultant on 1300 888 449 or email travel@ racq.com.au.