"Great people are in great need of inspiration." — Giacamo Puccini
This Puccini quote is included with a statue of him on a park bench in the Tuscan town of Montecatini Terme, one of UNESCO's Great Spa Towns of Europe. (How about building your next trip to Europe around a spa town?) I loved my time staying in Montecatini Terme and exploring the surrounding Valdinievole region in Tuscany with this group of travel professionals pictured above from the U.S., Europe, and Africa. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so please visit the Nine Muses Travel Facebook and Instagram pages for gorgeous photos and cool videos of our Tuscan discoveries! Each night I'd post recaps of the wonderful, off-the-beaten-track places we visited; it helps me relax and wind down after a busy day, and I hope the posts delight and inspire you too.
2023 is my most-traveled year to date, and the trend continues when I depart Friday for my first trip to Austria! I was selected by the Austrian Tourist Office along with four other American travel advisors for an immersive, five-night study tour to Salzburg. I'm thrilled because for most people Salzburg is usually only a day trip from Vienna or as a Danube River cruise excursion, and I'm so fortunate to spend five whole nights there on a deep dive into all that Salzburg has to offer.
We're splitting our stay between two fabulous hotels: Hotel Goldener Hirsch, a Luxury Collection Hotel and Hotel Sacher Salzburg. Both are Virtuoso preferred properties, where I can VIP your stay when you come to linger longer in Salzburg too. Follow Nine Muses Travel on Facebook and Instagram as I'll post about my site visits and meals at Arthotel Blaue Gans and Hotel Sheraton Grand in Salzburg too. We have a great itinerary planned for us, and you can follow right along with me again on social media!
Before Salzburg, I arrive early to spend time in Vienna on my own. I've wanted to wander the streets of Vienna ever since the movie Before Sunrise. I saw it at THE perfect time in my life; months before I too would backpack through Europe with a railpass and romantic hope of finding my Ethan Hawke on a train. I was 20, about the same age as Jesse and Céline in the film. Before Sunrise is still one of my favorites. I rewatched it on the plane home last week and fell in love with it all over again.
In Vienna, I've arranged a private walking tour of the historic center of Vienna including the Mozarthaus as well as an expert-led, private tour of Schönbrunn Palace. I'll be staying at The Harmonie Vienna, a boutique hotel that's a 10 minute walk from the center of the city. It's named for the former Harmonie Theatre in the street of the same name and located in the Servitenviertel: Vienna's 9th district and a quieter cultural hub with narrow alleys, hip cafes, small boutiques, and many cultural institutions. Then who knows who I'll meet on my train to Salzburg. Although... I just remembered I booked the silent car!
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