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Lured by Eastern Europe

By | August 10, 2009
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A journey through Eastern Europe takes you along ancient trade routes which have existed since prehistoric times, linking the Baltic region to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. The great powers of Europe -- Prussia, Austria, Russia and France --have clashed here throughout history, altering borders by changing allegiances, devastating cities and countryside well into the 20th century. With the fall of the Communist system and the rebuilding and restoration of the many cities on our tour, we can experience their past glory, magnificent architecture and extraordinary art collections.

This entire region has nurtured some of the greatest of European arts, architecture, music and literature: having traveled extensively in these countries, I am passionate about sharing my fascination with its many riches.

These cities and landscapes evoke many musical and visual memories - whether it is sitting in St. Katjan, a baroque Church below the Hradčany, Prague’s Castle Hill, listening to a concert on a baroque organ and trumpet with the sounds soaring into the painted heavens, or wandering through the romantic gardens of Zelazowa Wola, Chopin’s Birthplace outside Warsaw, with one of his haunting Nocturnes drifting from the concert hall.

In Krakow resides one of my favorite paintings, Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Lady with an Ermine’ in the Czartoryski Museum, and in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum the wonderful ‘Brueghel room’, in the extraordinary collections of the Habsburgs.

The Old World coffee house culture is very much alive in Krakow, Budapest and Prague, with many coffee houses retaining their Fin-de- Siècle atmosphere and authentic Art Nouveau furniture and decorations. In Vienna, at Zuckerbäcker Demel’s, one of the 19th century coffee houses, people share an ‘Apfelstrudel mit Schlag and a Grosser Brauner’, watching elegant Viennese walk by.

Where is your favorie cafe? Share below.

Click here for travel to Eastern Europe.

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Ursula Rehn Wolfman

Ursula Rehn Wolfman is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Born in Steinfeld, Austria, Ursula was educated in Germany, England, France, and the United States. As an independent scholar who formerly worked with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, her particular field of interest is the relationship between the arts, literature, painting/sculpture, architecture, and music. She has lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad on French literature and its relationship with the arts. She received the Diplome Superieur from the Sorbonne in Paris and completed her graduate studies in the United States at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a doctorate in French literature and philosophy and a minor in art history. Ursula has led tours for the Smithsonian throughout Europe.

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