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Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Orientation: 4:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We’ll then begin getting to know Austria’s capital city through a motorcoach ride with commentary provided by the Group Leader as we traverse the "Ringstrasse," the circular boulevard where city walls once stood around the Innere Stadt (Inner City). During our drive, we will also pass by the UN (United Nations) quarter and Hundertwasserhaus, an iconic apartment building erected in the 1980s that was envisioned by its designer as a “house for human beings and trees.”
Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a delicious multi-course plated welcome dinner with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: Walking about 4 miles throughout the day; periods of standing; city streets, cobblestones, some stairs. Use of public transportation; about 3.5 hours total throughout the day.
Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a typical European-style buffet breakfast featuring a variety of breads, cheeses, cold cuts, yogurt, fruit, and cereals, plus juice, milk, coffee, tea, and water.
Morning: A morning lecture at the hotel by an expert will provide us with an introduction to Austria. Until the fall of the Habsburg dynasty after the WWI, Austria was a major power in Central Europe in various state guises. Although many Austrians did not consider the remaining small remnants of the former empire viable, contemporary Austria has become one of the most prosperous and stable member states of the European Union. In the global-political arena, Austria is increasingly becoming an international meeting point. Through this presentation, we’ll learn about the development of Austria into a highly industrialized country. We’ll then set out with a local expert to explore the Old Town on foot including the Hofburg Palace area, the elegant streets of Kohlmarkt and Graben, and the area of St. Stephen's Cathedral.
Lunch: At a restaurant in the Old Town, we’ll have a 2-course plated meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: Travelling via the underground rail system, we’ll arrive at Schönbrunn Palace, the glamorous summer residence of the Habsburg family. Schönbrunn Palace, together with its ancillary buildings and extensive park, is by virtue of its long and colorful history one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. Scheduled as a listed monument, the whole ensemble including the palace, the park with its numerous architectural features, fountains and statues, and not least the zoo – the oldest of its kind in the world – was placed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. We’ll explore the grounds and interiors with a local expert as we enjoy illuminating historical commentary.
Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a 3-course plated dinner with an alcoholic beverage, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: We’ll then return to the hotel by streetcar. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 195 miles (313 km) throughout the day; approximately 3.5 hours total, with stops for field trips. Walking about 3 miles throughout the day; periods of standing; city streets, cobblestones; some stairs. Getting on/off boat; ride is about 1 hour one way to St. Gilgen.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll begin our journey to Salzburg. On the way, we will spend some time in the beautiful Salzkammergut lake region during a stop in the lovely small town of Bad Ischl, where we will set out on an expert-led walk. Bad Ischl was the favorite summer vacation spot of Emperor Francis Joseph for decades, where he could relax, hunt, and talk to actor Katharina Schratt. With its lovely villas owned by the haute volée of the 19th century, the atmosphere transports one back in time to the era of monarchy.
Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Bad Ischl. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Afternoon: We’ll then continue our transfer and stop in St. Wolfgang where we will get off the motorcoach and take a boat ride to St. Gilgen, where Mozart's mother was born! Upon arrival after soaking in the beautiful views of the surrounding Alps, we’ll take an exploratory walk with our Group Leader, during which we will learn about Mozart’s family background. Meeting our motorcoach in St. Gilgen after our walk, we will continue our journey to Salzburg. Upon arrival, we will check into the hotel and have some time to freshen up before dinner.
Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal with coffee, tea, water.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Walking approximately 2 miles during group activities; about 2 hours; city streets, cobblestones; some stairs; opportunities for more dependent on personal interest.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We will start our exploration of Salzburg with an expert-led walk through the old part of town, including a stop at Mozart's birthplace where we’ll have a look inside. We’ll then return to the hotel for a lecture given by a local expert about music in Salzburg.
Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a 2-course plated meal with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Dinner: On your own to explore more of the local fare.
Evening: This evening, we will meet and walk to attend a performance at the Puppet Theater. Our program was planned far in advance when details [of performances, games, events] were not available. When confirmed, the information will be posted on the Road Scholar website under this program number and will also be included in preparatory materials sent following enrollment.
Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 34 miles; approximately 1 hour to Eisriesenwelt. Walking approximately 3 miles throughout the day; periods of standing up to 1 hour at a time; city streets, cobblestones; some stairs; walkways in ice caves are not slippery. Caves are cold (around 0 degrees Celsius/32 degrees Fahrenheit); sturdy footwear and warm clothing advised.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: Travelling by motorcoach to Werfen, we will visit Eisriesenwelt, Europe's largest ice cave system. Once there, we will take a lift to the entrance area and spend some time walking through the caves with a local expert as we learn about the history and formation of these iconic caves. Next, we will transfer to visit a local farmhouse that produces its own organic cheese. While here, we will explore the farmhouse led by someone familiar with the farmhouse who will give insight into methods of organic farming and cheese production.
Lunch: At the farmhouse, we will enjoy a delicious cheese tasting! Coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: We’ll then return to Salzburg. The remainder of the evening will be free.
Dinner: On your own enjoy more of the regional fare.
Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 124 miles (200 km) throughout the day; approximately 2 hours, with stops for field trips; potentially longer dependent on traffic/detours. Walking about 2 miles during group activities throughout the day; opportunities for more walking dependent on personal interest during elective walk extensions; some inclines at Krimml, paved terrain. Getting on/off cog railway; short ride to/from glacier.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board our motorcoach and leave Salzburg for Innsbruck. On the way, we’ll enjoy some of the best of the Alps! Our first stop will be Grossglockner, Austria's highest peak, which we will reach via a spectacular toll road up to the peak with a stop for photos. Farther along, we will make a stop at the Pasterze Glacier where, depending on weather, we will board the glacier-cog railway with our Group Leader and ride it to see the glacier.
Lunch: At a self-service restaurant with a view of the glacier, we’ll enjoy a meal of sandwiches with coffee, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: Continuing to Innsbruck with our Group Leader, we will take another stop at Krimml, one of Europe's largest 3-tiered waterfalls. We will walk together to the lowest level where there is a nice view and a café before continuing on a paved path to the second level (sometimes coming very close to the water masses) where spectacular views await. Then, we will drive the remainder of the way to Innsbruck where we will check into the hotel.
Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we will have a 3-course plated meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Walking approximately 1 mile during group activities; about 1 hour; city streets, cobblestones, some stairs; opportunities for more dependent on personal preference. Use of public transportation; about 1/2 hour one way.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We will begin by making our way to the University of Innsbruck where a local expert will provide a lecture on their specialization: the interplay between humans and the environment in the Alps. The Austrian Alps, one of the main tourism regions in Austria, are confronted more and more often with the effects of climate change such as receding glaciers, floods, mudslides, etc. Consequently, conflicts between preservation of nature, spreading settlement areas, tourist activities, and recreation are increasing dramatically. Afterwards, we will set out on an expert-led walk in Innsbruck. The capital of Tyrol, Innsbruck has been the residence of some of the Habsburgs for centuries, as well as a historical trading point for resources and minerals such as gold and silver. During our walk, we’ll see the charming Old Town, including the famous Goldenes Dachl (golden roof), and the former Habsburg residence of Hofburg. We will then take public transportation to the Bergisel Ski Jump, an icon of modern architecture. From the top, we will enjoy a breathtaking view of the Nordkette mountain ranges that surround this Alpine town.
Lunch: On your own to explore more of the local fare.
Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity to explore Innsbruck independently seeing and doing what interests you most.
Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a tasty 3-course plated farewell dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. As we dine, we will be treated to a private performance by local musicians.
Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.
Activity note: Earliest airport transfers from 3:00 a.m. Airport transfers continue throughout the day depending on flight departure times. See your program’s “Transportation Information” regarding transfers. 11:00 a.m. hotel check-out.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program.
Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!