I feel like I’ve been watching trailers for Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film, for ages but it’s actually only coming out today. It does look amusing and I enjoyed Borat (as much as you can ‘enjoy’ watching something so cringe-worthy) so I am looking forward to seeing it.
It has made me think about Austria though, and whether Austrian people will take to the film or not. This video on the BBC site is pretty good at showing the divide of opinion in Austria (some people find it “very insulting”, others think it’s funny). But ultimately, I hope it’ll inspire people to find out more about Austria is really like – and in my mind, its beautiful towns, stunning countryside and long association with classical music make it one of the most refined countries you can visit in Europe.
I’ve been to Austria twice and I had a wonderful holiday each time. My favourite Austrian town is probably Salzburg, which is gorgeous. For starters, it’s amazingly picturesque; a river runs through its centre and you can see the mountains in the distance. It’s also teeming with charming tiny streets that wind their way through the heart of the city, and in that respect it reminds me a lot of York!
If you’ve got limited time in Salzburg, make sure you take a Sound of Music tour (if you like the musical, of course!), visit the mountain-top Hohensalzburg Fortress for panoramic views of the town and see Mozart’s birth house, where you’ll find a range of memorabilia on the great composer. Also make sure you buy some Original Salzburg Mozartkugeln – a delicious spherical concoction of pistachio marzipan, nougat and dark chocolate.
Innsbruck in South Tyrol is lovely too. Some of its churches are breathtaking – the baroque exterior of Saint Jacob’s Cathedral was a favourite of mine – and there’s loads of museums that are very interesting. However, I have to admit I spent most of my time in Innsbruck skiing or lounging around the 5-star Grand Hotel Europa – but whatever you choose, there’s certainly fun to be had.
One place I haven’t been to is the capital, Vienna. From what I know, it’s steeped in history and I’d probably need at least four days to properly appreciate its sights, but if anyone’s got any tips on travelling in Vienna, or anywhere in Austria, please do share. One thing’s for sure – travelling around Austria is probably a much more sophisticated experience than watching Bruno, even if you end up finding them both equally enjoyable :).