The Sound of Salzburg

hills_lgGrüß Gott! For those of you who have ever wondered if the scenery in The Sound of Music can possibly be real, the answer is a resounding yes! As a German student, I traveled with classmates to Germany and Austria in 2001. Salzburg was our last stop on the trip and it did not disappoint.

I was excited to reach the city, not only because the travel bug had bitten me, but also because I had been in a production of The Sound of Music in my hometown. Singing “Do-Re-Mi” in the vibrant Mirabel Gardens, with their incredible symmetrical flower designs, was a dream come true. In addition, we saw the abbey where Maria was a novice, the fountain in the Residence Square where she splashes on her way to the Von Trapps’ house, the Rock Riding School where the Von Trapps performed “Edelweiss,” and the cemetery at St. Peter’s where Rolf betrays the family.

Once that was out of my system, I realized that Salzburg was an amazing place even without The Sound of Music. The city, surrounded by the magnificent Alps and built up on the banks of the Salzach, is truly a gem. The city’s narrow streets with elegant signs and storefronts exuded charm, while the market square lent an Old World feel to the place.

All the while, the Hohensalzburg fortress, accessible by funicular, stands guard over the city. As an interesting side note, if you look down from the back of the fortress, you will see a house sitting all by itself, with no neighboring houses surrounding it. This lonely house belonged to the executioner and, because of his status, no one wanted to live near him! It was in this fortress that I had the incredible opportunity to listen to a string quartet perform some of Mozart’s pieces. During the intermission, I remember walking over to look out of the window; the sun was setting as the Salzach lazily snaked its way through the city. Perfection!

For anyone interested in escaping the city for a day, I would highly recommend visiting the salt mines. Not only are these interesting historically, but they also offer the unique opportunity to slide down into the mines on wooden slides like miners used to! In addition, the ride through the countryside presents some spectacular scenery.

Overall, I had a blast in Salzburg and I would love to go back. I guess all that’s left to say is “so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu!”

Annabelle Peake

Tour Communications Specialist
Academic Travel Abroad

Our Christmas in Salzburg Tour

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Academic Travel Abroad: Eggshells and Outreach

istock_000006390045smallThe yester-year era of solid pseudo-walls built around companies, big and small, where their inner workings were shielded from the very clients they catered to has come and gone.  The last few years have brought about a quantum shift in corporate thinking and new online outreach and networking tools have materialized in a way that could not have been foreseen. 

I walk from the metro to the office every day and witness a distinct majority of others pounding the sidewalks as they text, call and email their way into their work week before ever setting foot into their office via smartphones, laptops and PDA’s.  Online networking and communications are no longer corporate lingo, but rather a way of life and is growing exponentially every day.

Do you remember the vinegar and egg experiment from grade school?  Put an egg in a glass, submerge it in vinegar, and presto!  In a couple of days you have a see-through egg!  Without affecting the innate structure of the egg, the vinegar transforms the hard shell into a transparent form in which the “inner workings” can be seen.

As Academic Travel Abroad’s Creative Manager, I have been fortunate enough to have been given the task of pouring vinegar over ATA’s metaphorical shell.  As a company that prides itself on it’s luxury and educational travel experience and commitment to excellence in customer service and satisfaction, we have come to a fairly simple realization. In order to reach out to others who share our distinct passion for travel and a desire to learn about unique cultures around the world we need to become more “transparent” and reveal our “inner workings”.  We want to humanize our company in a way that helps others realize we really are a passionate group of travelers and not a “corporate” hard-shelled business.

By using online social networking tools such as this blog, our Facebook page, a Twitter feed, our presence on Gather.com and LinkedIn.com we hope to develop a community of travelers who like sharing their experiences abroad with both our staff and others.  Frankly, if you were to visit all these tools we have, you would see ATA as a “transparent eggshell”.   Our staff often write blogs about their recent travels abroad, our President writes her own blog and we encourage Facebook visitors to post their own comments and photos of their travels to share with our community.  We love interacting with other travelers and sharing ideas, experiences and resources.  Think of it… you could tell your friends and colleagues that you Twitter, blog, Facebook and more – talk about moving up the tech-savvy ladder!  You’ll be the envy of your peers.

So if you’re a world traveler and, out of sheer unbridled enthusiasm, simply can’t stop sharing your experiences abroad with others, we hope to see you “pour your own vinegar” and join in. 

Safe travels!

Steve Muth
Creative Manager

Academic Travel Abroad

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Educational Travel Abroad Professionals Bring Unique Experiences.

At Academic Travel Abroad, the term “travel professionals” only skims the surface of the overseas experience of our staff. Overall, we’ve been fortunate enough to travel to over 99 different countries across the globe, spanning all seven continents. Our most-visited destination is France, with Italy running a close second. England, Germany, Greece and China are not far behind as some of the most frequented destinations. We’ve ventured to these far-away destinations for a multitude or reasons including business, studies, vacationing and places of periodic residence. The diverse travel experiences of our staff helps us ensure that the tours we offer are rewarding, culturally rich and travelers can have their questions answered by someone knowledgeable and experienced with respect to the destination.

Within the Travel Services Department, almost every member of our staff has studied abroad in a variety of countries including: England, Germany, Greece, India, Peru, and Spain. We also speak 3 languages: French, German and Spanish, which makes a walk through the office seem like a visit to the UN. This wealth of knowledge is put to good use as our department assists travelers in preparing for their chosen tours so that their experiences are that much more rewarding.

Hardly a day goes by without a staff member recounting a unique travel experience or having the opportunity to connect with a future traveler on the phone about a past or future adventure abroad. With so many of our staff having been to the countries that we travel to, there is almost always someone around to make a recommendation as to what to do, what to eat, and where to stay.

When these unique qualities and experience are matched with our valued partners like Smithsonian Journeys, National Geographic Expeditions, Yale Alumni Association, American Museum of Natural History, the International Monetary Fund, the Brookings Institute and so many more, the educational and cultural travel experiences we offer are unmatched.

To learn more about our staff and read their individual bios, click here.

Academic Travel Abroad

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ATA Staff Travel Experiences

We’ve now added a new blog linked from our website (http://www.academic-travel.com) on the “Our Staff” page on which ATA staff who have recently travelled on one of our tours will now go and write a quick post about their experiences abroad. Check out this new blog and learn about our own recent experiences abroad!

Here’s the link: http://atastafftravel.wordpress.com

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