Such a Swissair Deal

As a Gemütlichkeit subscriber, you are about to receive, by mail, an attractive offer from Swissair. From now until December 31, 1993, fly on a Swissair First, Business or full-fare Economy Class adult roundtrip transatlantic fare to Europe. You will automatically earn a free roundtrip companion ticket, in any class, to Europe, valid on your next trip to be taken between January 1 and May 31, 1994. The offer does not extend to sale fares. You will receive more detailed info in the packet from Swissair.

But for you only, darling Gemütlichkeit subscriber, there is more. The best part is that your special Gemütlichkeit price reductions of $600 for First Class, $400 for Business Class and $100 for Economy Class apply for all tickets purchased under the above program.

To obtain the lower fares you first must book directly with Swissair at 800-221-4750. Then, for ticketing, call Shirley at 800-238-0399. After confirming that you are a current subscriber, she will issue your tickets at the reduced price. Of course, you may simply wish to take advantage of Swissair's current sale fares, in which case the price reduction is $50 per ticket and the booking and ticketing procedure is exactly the same.

Favorite Cities

The magazine Traveler has announced the results of a survey in which readers were asked to name their favorite travel destination cities. Survey respondents were asked to judge cities on a scale of one to five based on four criteria - cultural enrichment, restaurants, ambiance and people. The winner was San Francisco. Vienna placed second; Lucerne, Switzerland was 13th and Munich was 20th. No other cities of Germany, Austria or Switzerland finished in the top 20.

Since I didn't participate in the poll, nor have I visited all the cities, I won't complain about the results. But I will cast my ballot here for my favorite cities (over 200,000 population) in Germany, Austria, Switzerland. With a few embellishments -favorite sight, restaurant, hotel and walk in each city - here are my top five.

1. Vienna

My favorite; not just in this part of Europe but in all the world. Gets to me in a way that no other city does. Maybe it's my Bohemian heritage, but this town is in my blood.

Sight: The Capuchins' Crypt or Kaisergruft, containing the fabulously ornate coffins of 12 emperors, 16 empresses and more than 100 archdukes of the Hapsburg family. (Weirdly, while their bodies are in the Kaisergruft their hearts are in the Church of Augustinians and their entrails are in the catacombs under St. Stephen's Cathedral.)

Restaurant: Smutny (Inexp.)

Hotel: Kaiserin Elisabeth (Mod.-Exp.)

Walk: Down the Kärtnerstrasse, across the river to the Prater, a slightly scruffy but wonderful amusement park.

2. Berlin

A bigger thrill when it was behind the Wall, but still exciting. The physical changes occurring in the eastern part of the city are marvelous to see.

Sight: The incredible display of food and beverages on the sixth floor of KaDeWe, Berlin's big department store.

Restaurant: Fofi's Estiatorio (Mod.-Exp.)

Hotel: Domus (Mod.)

Walk: The length of the Kurfürstendamm, both sides of the street.

3. Zürich

The more we see the more we like. Not nearly as cold and methodical as its reputation.

Sight: The Chagall windows in the Fraumünster.

Restaurant: Kronenhalle (Exp.)

Hotel: Florhof (Mod.)

Walk: The Bahnhofstrasse and then across the Limmat to the old town.

4. Graz

Altstadt oozes with old-world charm. Not many tourists.

Sight: The carved façade of the Hof Backerei, the palace bakery.

Restaurant: Kepler Keller (Inexp.-Mod.)

Hotel: Erzherzog Johann (Mod.)

Walk: The old town

5. Hamburg (tie)

Hanseatic, sea-going ambiance.

Sight: Go to the town of Wedel and the Wilkomm-Höft where ships passing on the Elbe are saluted by raising the flag of their country and playing their national anthem.

Restaurant: Ratsweinkeller (Mod.)

Hotel: Abtei (Exp.)

Walk: Through the sinful St. Pauli quarter and its famous Reeperbahn. Superior people watching.

5. Munich (tie)

Chic, cultured and all that beer.

Sight: The Botanical Gardens at Nymphenburg Palace, also the Carriage Museum is not to be missed.

Restaurant: Zum Bürgerhaus (Mod.-Exp.)

Beer Hall: Augustiner (Inexp.)

Hotel: Adria (Mod.)

Walk: Through the Englisher Garten to the beer garden at the Chinese Tower.

Lucerne Bridge Restoration

As you may have read in the Sunday travel section of your local newspaper, the landmark, 650-year old walking bridge of Lucerne was destroyed by fire last month. Only the octagonal stone tower was saved. However, work on rebuilding the bridge is already underway and will be completed sometime next spring. It is expected that a process of artificially "aging" the wood will be used and the restored bridge will be a replica of the original.

Rothenburg Hotel

Subscriber and travel planner, Karen Pasold, says we should have included the Burg-Hotel in our issue on Rothenburg ob der Tauber. She considers it one of Rothenburg's best hotels and has brought to our attention its attractive offer for winter guests. Good from early January to early April, "Wintersleep" permits guests who stay two nights to pay for only one. As Ms. Pasold points out, it is rare - I know of no other instance - for a European hotel to make a two for one offer.

The Burg-Hotel has no restaurant, is operated by Gabriele Berger, and, according to Ms. Pasold, has lovely, mostly spacious, guest rooms and an abundant buffet breakfast. It is located very near the wall, not far from the Burggarten. Several of its 14 rooms have fine views of the Tauber Valley. Burg-Hotel, Klostergasse 1, phone 09861/50 37, fax 0986/14 87. Singles 150 to 180 DM ($92-$110), doubles ($129-$184).

September 1993