Friday, July 28, 2006



BADGASTEIN is situated in the middle of the National Park Hohe Tauern, at 1000 metres above sea level, and its streets, with the buildings from the «Belle Epoque» era, look like some kind of ancient amphitheatre. Known as a Spa since medieval times, this beautiful village took off in the early nineteenth century, when Archduke Johann descended on the valley to take the cure. Emperor Franz-Josef, Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany and Bismarck were among those who followed.
Although some would say that current attempts to turn «this strangely ossified place» back into a chic resort – with stylish hotels, congress centre and casino – are less than convincing, the languorous, nineteenth-century ambience that prevails is certainly unique in alpine Austria, and you may find it appealingly nostalgic. On the other hand, in the centre of Badgastein there are 18 thermal springs, as well as the Badgastein vapour gallery, which are particularly well-suited to therapies...

"SALZBURG/BADGASTEIN - Take the train and enjoy"

In the fall of 1993, more than 150 years of Bad Gastein tradition came to an end. A fire raced through the top floor of Wührer's Parkhotel Bellevue, and the flames and ensuing water damage left this classic remnant of the Kaiser era little more than a burned outhulk. 150 years of tradition wiped out in a single evening, an irreplaçable part of the town's unique atmosphere suddenly gone. In 1996, a new Mondi Vacation Club Bellevue opened its doors, they say to the former splendour. I'll have to go back and check..."

"VIEW OF THE PARKHOTEL BELLEVUE - behind Christmas trees in February"

"MONEY EXCHANGE OFFICE on the right; probably lost its business with the Euro"

"BELLEVUE ALM LODGE, perched on the mountain overlooking Badgastein, is perhaps the most legendary of all mountain lodges in Austria's Salzburg Province. On Thursday evenings there is roast suckling pig. What are these lawyers doing up there, in such fancy costumes?"

"AT THE BELLEVUE ALM LODGE - Magnificent views"

"BACK TO BADGASTEIN BY CHAIRLIFT - «Aerial lift, which consists of a constantly moving loop of steel cable strung between two end terminals and generally over intermediate towers. Chairs, which here seat only one, are connected to the cable with a one-piece grip, which does not require any special springs, or clamps, hence the name "fixed-grip". The first known chairlift was created for the ski resort in Sun Valley, Idaho in 1936.» Nice overcoat and scarf to seat there..."

"DOWNTOWN - A mix of skiers and congresspeople"

"CONFERENCE CENTRE - Business people also need to have a break while they are working; that's why conference organisers come to Badgastein"

"MCE - INTERNATIONAL COMPANY LAWERS' CONFERENCE 1982 - MCE's mission is to improve their clients'ability to execute strategy. In Badgastein, I didn't notice... The delegation of Portuguese lawyers to this conference reached twenty (plus one spouse, also a lawyer...). Only Finland came closer, with fifteen lawyers, but they were of course running away from the cold and dark Winter days! The FAREWELL DINNER was the Highlight of the Conference, but I don't post the photo as I don't know if all pictured would agree: there were too many empty glasses on the table..."

"RETURN HOME VIA PARIS, and meet another Traveller"

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