In 1415, the Roman Catholic faith had sunk into complete moral and political collapse. With no answers for more than a century of famine, plague, pestilence, and nonstop warfare, the church authorities instead exhausted themselves fighting over the meagre spoils of a civilization gone rotten. Three different Popes […]
Liechtenstein, the world leader in false teeth, gaudy postage stamps, and a whole lot of black money. We’re assuming it’s pure coincidence that they speak so odd and unintelligible an Alemanic dialect of German here, but it hardly fits with one’s image of the second-richest country in […]
In 1931, the future Nazi director Leni Riefenstahl found film work as a seriously terrible actress in a seriously goofy comedy, Der Weisse Rausch (The White Thrill). The movie featured Hannes Schneider, a ski instructor in St. Anton am Arlberg, as a daredevil racing and jumping down one […]
There’s no pergola where Rolf promised to protect Joanna and the Baron declared his love for Maria. The modest main staircase is a creaky Austrian walnut without a hint of a grand spiral. The main sitting room would never accommodate more than a few dozen of Hollywood’s most […]
In the 19th century, the tiny village of Braunau am Inn on the Austrian-German border gave the world the classic Christmas carol Stille Nacht (Silent Night), written by Franz Xaver Gruber for the guitar and sung by mournful German troops in the World War I trenches. In […]
In 2000 years, the only invaders to cross the middle Rhein River were Caesar’s Romans and Napoleon’s French. Then on the afternoon of 7 March,1945, Sgt. Alex Drabik, a Polish-American from Toledo, Ohio, led his squad in a lunatic sprint across the creaking Ludendorff Bridge under withering German […]
Molière, Eugène Delacroix, Georges Bizet, Frédéric Chopin, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Gertrude Stein, Colette, Edith Piaf, Marcel Marceau, Richard Wright, Yves Montand, and Jim Morrison all slept here… And still do.