Eurovision Song Contest fans recently discovered that Australia has been invited to join in the fun of the annual singing contest. Hang on a minute sport, Australia is not in Europe! Well, strike me down with a boomerang, you’re right, it’s not! But who gives a didgeridoo about that? Of course, there will be those that say Israel, Morocco and Azerbaijan are not in Europe, but hey, it is after all just a bit of fun, right?
This year’s 60th European Song Contest extravaganza will take place in the Central European country of Austria, in its capital Vienna. The country won the right to host the contest when Conchita Wurst, who was their representative choice of singer last year, won in Copenhagen. A total of 40 countries will compete in this year’s song contest. The final will be broadcast on Saturday 23rd May.
Skiers in Western Austria recently got a bit too much snow for their liking. It was reported that more than 15,000 tourists were stuck in various ski resorts after too much of the white fluffy stuff fell last week. Dozens were reported to have been airlifted out of ski resorts by helicopters after roads became blocked by 5m of snow - though the cost was around £1,800 (€2,017) per person.
On Saturday an Austrian army military helicopter was brought in to pick up 52 people who had been stranded at a mountain refuge in Vorarlberg. Skiers had been unable to make the descent from the Lindauer Huette refuge, which is 1,744m (5,720 ft) above sea level, by any other means because of the avalanche risk.
The snow has caused chaos on the roads and railways. Villages and some tourist resorts have been cut off. The most heavily hit areas were Austria’s western Tirol and Vorarlberg regions that received 1-2 meters of snow (3-7ft) of snow in just four days.
Category: Tourism / Skiing Holidays / Austria
Most people who visit Central Europe like to visit Vienna. Known as the ‘music city’ the city has class, culture and charm. Vienna has imperial grandeur! It is the capital city of Austria. Former capital of the Austrian Empire it then became part of the Austro Hungarian Empire. The Habsburg family ruling in Vienna and its Empire for centuries until Austria was defeated at the end of the Great War when its monarchy and Empire was broken up.
Visit the Habsburgs Imperial Palace. It is one of the largest palaces in Europe and was the seat of the Habsburg family who spent their winter months here. The famous Schőnbrunn Palace that’s located on the outskirts of the city was until 1918 the summer residence of the Habsburgs.
Category: Central Europe / Places to Visit / Vienna
If you like cold war thrillers that involve cloak and dagger type operations then the chances are you’ll think of the Orson Wells classic The Third Man. We can add Ian Fleming’s most famous spy James Bond, 007. In real life the Austrian capital recently saw one of the biggest spy swap operations in recent years take place at its international airport between Russia and the USA. But why Vienna?
Well, according to the BBC it has a long history as a stomping ground for secret services all over the world as the centre of spy swap operations. Vienna is the capital of a neutral country in the heart of Europe.
In fact, Austria has been a spy hub for more than a century. Indeed, even 20 years after the end of the Cold War agents and informants still feel at ease in this romantic city. With the disintegration of the Austro Hungarian Empire and the political turmoil that followed this led to more and more secret services setting up shop in Vienna.
Category: Austria / Vienna / US-Russian Spy Rings
Baked beans lovers in Germany and Austria recently kicked up a bit of a fuss after it emerged that tins of the famous Heinz variety contained fewer beans than cans sold in Britain. European fans of the famous Heinz product have been angered after it emerged in an Austrian newspaper that the British variety are superior to its European counterpart. In fact, tins in Austria and Germany were found to have a less tasty sauce and a more watery taste than their British equivalent. Heinz that for decades has used the famous slogan ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ has been under attack from fans following the Austrian Times comparative study.