Subject: Re: Austria
Hello Don, Linda and Ziners,

I have visited during past years most of the places in your itinerary.

The Danube from Linz to Vienna is one of the most beautiful places I've been. The wooden hills, the wide and quiet river, the historical towns have really taken my heart, so I strongly suggest to see at least part of it. There's a bicycle path along the river with many bike rentals, there are half-day cruises sailing from Melk and of course you can drive, stopping at every nice little town. The half day river cruise has multi-lingual recorded narration of history and places and it is very enjoyable. I can also recommend the restaurant of Zum Schwarzen Barer hotel in Emmersdorf, right across the Danube at Melk.

Salzburg and Innsbruck are very much alike, full of art but also full of tourists. In Innsbruck don't miss the Ambras castle, where the collection of Renaissance "wonders" is displayed the way the original owner had intended to be. In the city center, Gasthof Goldener Adler has a lot of atmosphere and superb food.

Salzburg is very easy to walk around and the food markets are excellent; I remember having a remarkable dinner in the old Peterskeller, just off the cemetery under the hill.

If you can fit it in your itinerary, on the way from Linz to Salzburg I'd suggest a detour to Steyr, a very nice town where two rivers meet in the historical centre.

Klagenfurt was always a meeting point between the German and Slavic world; its surroundings are very peaceful, like the Worthersee lake. Spittal too has historical buildings and is close to several scenic lakes like Millstattersee and Ossiachersee.

I have been in Graz last December after many years and I was surprised how much the town had changed from a sleepy province town to a lively modern art center. The new museum along the river is impressing and the whole center has been refurbished and filled with modern art sculptures. I slept at the Arthotel Augarten, built and furnished according to modern art taste and I had a memorable lunch at the already mentioned Landhauskeller, definitely a place to be on everyone's list.

Bye Paolo Trieste, Italy