Friday, August 19, 2011

Eat as the Locals Do - Austria

Traditional Austrian cuisine is composed of influences from throughout the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Nearby regions, such as Italy, Hungary, Germany, and the Balkans, have also had an effect on Austrian cooking.

WIENER SCHNITZEL is a breaded veal cutlet. It is dipped in flour, egg, and bread crumbs, then fried in butter or oil to a golden brown.

GULASCH is a stew, similar to Hungarian “pörkölt”, of meat and vegetables. Austrian goulasch is often eaten with rolls, bread or dumplings.

BOSNA, sometimes called Bosner, is a spicy Austrian fast food dish. Similar to a hot dog, it consists of a Bratwurst sausage, onions, and a blend of ketchup, mustard, and curry powder. It is made with white bread, which is usually grilled before serving.

KAISERSCHMARRN is a light, caramelized pancake made from a sweet batter with flour, eggs, sugar, salt, and milk, which is baked in butter. The pancake gets split into pieces while frying, shredded after preparation, and is usually sprinkled with powder sugar. It is served hot with an apple or plum sauce, or various fruit compotes.

SACHERTORTE is a chocolate cake that was invented by Franz Sacher in 1832 for Klemens Wenzel von Metternich in Vienna.

ALMDUDLER is the brand name of a popular Austrian soft drink. It is a sweetened carbonated beverage made of grape and apple juice concentrates and flavored with herbs. The flavor is similar to ginger ale.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Phoenix Girls Chorus - flight schedule

Departure for Europe:
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
British Airways flight BA288, leave PHOENIX (PHX) at 7:25PM
Arrive in LONDON (LHR) at 1:05PM on Wednesday, June 13, 2012
British Airways flight BA704, leave LONDON (LHR) at 2:40PM
Arrive in VIENNA (VIE) at 6:00PM

Return to USA:
Sunday, June 24, 2012
British Airways flight BA901, leave FRANKFURT (FRA) at 7:25AM
Arrive in LONDON (LHR) at 8:10AM
British Airways flight BA289, leave LONDON (LHR) at 2:35PM
Arrive in PHOENIX (PHX) at 5:10PM

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Highlight of Vienna - Stephansdom

Stephansdom, located in the heart of Vienna, Austria, is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna. The current Romanesque and Gothic structure is on the ruins of two earlier churches and was consecrated in 1147. The cathedral is the most important religious building in the capital and, with the diamond shaped, multi-colored tile roof, is one of the city’s most recognizable symbols. Since 1683 it has housed the Pummerin bell, which is one of the largest bells in the world. The cathedral has held some of the nation’s most important events, such as Mozart's wedding in 1782 and his funeral in December 1791.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Sing'n'joy Vienna" - The 28th International Franz Schubert Choir Competition & Festival in Vienna

The 28th International Franz Schubert Choir Competition & Festival, hosted by Förderverein INTERKULTUR e.V., will take place June 13th to 17th, 2012 in Vienna, Austria. “Sing’’n’joy Vienna”, the new slogan for the festival, signifies what this event is all about: musicians singing and having joy together in outstanding venues. The competition pays tribute to its patron Franz Schubert, an admired Austrian composer. While the schedule is still being finalized, the venues selected are full of beauty and history. Choirs will arrive at their leisure between June 13th and June 14th. There will be opportunities for rehearsal throughout the festival. The opening concert will take place at Votivkirche, one of the most important neo-Gothic religious architectural sites in the world. The gala concert will be in the Lichtentaler, also known as the Schubertkirche that many of Schubert’s scared works were composed for. Then many of the friendship concerts will be held in various venues throughout Vienna. On the last evening the choirs will have the opportunity to mingle in a Heuriger, a cozy wine tavern. Finally, the main event, the Competition for the Franz Schubert Choir Prize will be at the beautiful performance venue Konzerthaus in the Schubert and Mozart Hall. Be sure to practice, practice, practice, as there are various evaluations that the jury awards on. First will be the more traditional awards, recognizing bronze, silver, and golden diplomas to the choirs with the top three scores in the entire competition. There will also be category winners, identifying top performers in with a golden diploma in each of the categories. Then there will be special prizes for the choirs with an outstanding performance and the choir with a unique presentation. Also the conductors have an opportunity to be recognized as excellent conductors. Last, but certainly not least, the choir that is awarded the Franz Schubert Choir prize will take home 2000 Euros.

The “Sing’’n’joy Vienna” will also be a wonderful opportunity to meet people from all over the world. The competition is open to choirs from everywhere so be sure to take some time to socialize with some like-minded people.

Vienna (Wien) - Austria's Capital City

Did You Know?
Vienna, locally known as Wien, is the capital of Austria and the cultural, economic, and political center. More than 25% of Austria’s population (approximately 1.7 million people) call this metropolitan city home. As the largest city in Austria, and the 10th largest city by population in the European Union, Vienna is host to some major international organizations, such as the United Nations and OPEC. In 2005, the Economist Intelligence United ranked this city first for the quality of life (tied with Vancouver, Canada). The Monocle, a popular opinion-based journalistic magazine, rated the city 8th among the “Top 25 Livable Cities” in 2010.

In the Air
The Vienna International Airport (VIE) is located just outside the city limits. It is the home base of the flag-carrier Austrian Airlines and Niki, a budget airline. Flights can easily be found, as most European airlines and a significant number of intercontinental airlines have direct connections to Vienna.

Get Around
Vienna has an amazing public transport system, which includes rail, commuter rail, underground, trams, and buses. The U-Bahn, an underground subway, is the most common way of getting around the city. If staying within the city proper, then the Kernzone 100 can take you most everywhere you are likely to visit by any form of transportation listed above. If staying for more than a day, then the 24, 48, or 72-hour ticket might be more cost effective. Be sure to validate your ticket with a stamp that notes the time and date, or else there may be a fee for traveling without a proper ticket.

Art and Culture
Vienna has a long tradition of art and culture, whether it be theater, opera, classical music, or fine arts. The Burgtheater, the creation of the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa of Austria who wanted a theater next to her palace, is considered one of the best theaters in the German-speaking world. Then there is the Vienna Philharmonic, an orchestra in Austria that is considered one of the finest in the world, and the Konzerthaus, a beautiful performance house with an emphasis in traditional and innovative music styles. This city is home to so many historical and inspirational venues, that the list could go on and on.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Travel Tip: High Voltage

Dear travelers,
To charge your digital cameras, laptops, etc. in Europe during your Incantato performance tour, you will need an adapter. The U.S. plug (2 or 3 prong here in the U.S.) will not fit in a European socket. In most cases the European socket takes a plug with 2 round prongs.

The adapters allow a U.S. plug to plug into the back of the adapter and the front of the adapter plugs into the European socket. You'll find adapters at stores like Radio Shack, Walmart or online at

Travel Tip: Money Matters

Dear travelers,

Money is a delicate subject. The best way to use your money during your upcoming trip is to have a debit card; this allows you to withdraw money from any ATM machine with only being charged a small withdrawal fee. The fee differs between banks. Be sure to call your bank before your departure to tell them where you are going and for how long so they won't freeze your account. The debit cards given by the bank has the compatibility of Visa, MasterCard, however, Visa is the most widely accepted worldwide. If you bring cash, you can exchange it but you will lose more money as they charge for their services. Most places in Europe won't accept traveler's checks anymore. Also, be prepared to pay for water and a little fee for restroom use. Last not least, there are no free refills on soft drinks in Europe which is why most Europeans ask for little to no ice in their drinks.

We suggest you have some spending money available and our recommendation is around 20 dollars per day for the meals not included, snacks, drinks, postcards, some souvenirs. It is not imperative that you have this amount of money.

There are many ways to lower your expenses such as:
· Most restaurants have menus outside so you can check their price range.
· Venture off the main roads to find a restaurant. These usually have more character, better food, and better prices.
· Bring your own water bottle. Most places have safe tap water to fill up with.
· Buy food from the "convenient" stores. You don't have to sit down in the restaurant for every meal.
· Shop around for souvenirs; many stores have the same things on sale for very different prices.

Last not least, remember that your Incantato Tour Manager is with you pretty much 24/7. The guide is there to help you make the right choices.

Travel Insurance

Incantato Tours mandates that all travelers purchase travel insurance for your upcoming journey. Not only are you covered medically should anything happen when traveling, but with TravelGuard's policies, you also protect your investment should you have to cancel or interrupt the trip. Last but not least, there is also coverage for delayed and lost luggage, etc.

Here is a direct line to purchase travel insurance online, and you can do so with your credit cards and also select the option that is best for you.

In the meantime, have a look at the most comprehensive coverage option The Protect Assist Gold below.

Protect Assist (Gold) -
Comprehensive Travel Protection for the World Traveler
  • Trip Cancellation
  • JUST ADDED! - Trip Cancellation due to employment loss or layoff
    if employed with the same employer 1 year or longer
  • Trip Interruption and Travel Delay
  • Emergency Medical and Emergency Medical Transportation
  • Baggage and Travel Document Protection
  • Baggage Delay and Lost Baggage Tracking
  • NEW - Cancel For Any Reason option now available
  • NEW - Cancel For Work Reasons option now available
  • NEW - Children age 17 and under covered at no additional cost
  • IMPROVED -Trip Cancellation limit increased to $100,000 (from $15,000),
  • IMPROVED - Trip Interruption coverage increased to 150% of Trip Cost
  • IMPROVED - Travel Delay required hours reduced to 5 hours (from 12)
ProtectAssist special features:
  • Best coverage for Weather Related Cancellations
  • Pre-existing Condition Exclusion Waiver*
  • Default/Bankruptcy Protection*
  • $50,000 Flight Accident Insurance*
  • 24-Hour "LiveTravel" Travel Agency
  • Emergency Cash Transfers
  • Identity Theft Restoration
* These additional benefits apply If you are purchasing within 15 days of making your initial trip deposit or payment, however, coverage may still be purchased at any time up to 24 hours prior to departure.
Increase your coverage with these valuable additions to your Protect Assist Plan:

Cancel For Any Reason – 50%
reimbursement of nonrefundable expenses if you cancel your trip for any reason, up to 48 hours prior to your departure. Only available when this plan is purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment.

Cancel For Work Reasons –
Offers additional work-related reasons for cancellation or interruption. Also includes our exclusive “Business Assistant” services if you have work obligations during your travels. Only available when this plan is purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment.

Umbrella Package – Medical Expense limits are doubled and coverage is upgraded to primary. Emergency Medical Transportation limits are doubled and benefits upgraded to take you home or to the hospital of your choice. $25,000 Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage will be added.

Car Rental Collision Coverage – $35,000 in primary coverage. Covers cost of repairs for covered collision damage to a rental car for which the car rental contract holds you responsible. Subject to $250 deductible.

Optional coverages cannot be purchased separately. Must be purchased with base ProtectAssist plan.

Comprehensive non-insurance travel services* automatically included with plan!
With the ProtectAssist plan, every customer also has access to these valuable travel services when they travel:
· Arrangements for last-minute flight changes
· Hotel finder and reservations
· Rental car reservations
· Emergency medical assistance
· BagTrak® -- lost baggage tracking
· Pre-trip health and safety advisories
· Live e-mail and phone messaging to family and friends
· Cash transfers
· Airport transportation
· Golf course reservations
· Event ticketing
· Floral services
· Identity Theft restoration

Business Assistant* (available when Optional Cancel for Work Reasons coverage is purchased)

*Non-Insurance services are provided by AIG Travel Assist.

Citizenship: All Nationalities
Residency: United States
New York, Oregon, and Washington residence please call to purchase
Some rider options are not available and other restrictions may apply

Destination: Worldwide
Ages: All Ages
Max Trip Length: 365 Days