Via Culinaria, a Gourmet's Roadmap
You can’t say you really know a place until you've tasted its local specialities, and dug into its regional cuisine.
Seven culinary pathways and 200 culinary addresses have been documented in SalzburgerLand. The popular Via Culinaria puts the variety of regional products front and center, weaving a SalzburgerLand vacation with the true gourmet's dream. Pick a theme -- or pick multiple themes -- and give yourself the most mouth-watering way of getting to know a beautiful piece of Austria.
Via Culinaria is a gourmet initiative that puts visitors on any of seven culinary paths throughout the SalzburgerLand. From fish to cheese to sweets, from internationally acclaimed restaurants to alpine huts and organic farms, the diverse year-round tips and recommendations are perfectly suited to travellers with ambitious gourmet tastes.
The paths (or themes) double as a great excuse to crisscross the city of Salzburg and SalzburgLand. Start on the "Pathway for Fish Fans" then switch to, say, “Cheese Freaks” or “Sweet Tooths” -- and gradually you're dining your way through the region. The order of your route, the season and the hours are all up to you, allowing you to design your trek around the amazing array of non-culinary attractions in the surrounding areas.
It certainly puts a new twist to ‘tasting your way around a country’.
Ach, aye – ye must come home!
An all-star concert is being scheduled to herald the opening of the Ryder Cup. There’s a huge flotilla to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge. Europe’s biggest brass band festival and a thrilling re-enactment of the Battle of Bannockburn are also on the line-up of spectacular events that will form Scotland’s 2014 Year of Homecoming.
Around 100 events have been unveiled, with hundreds more expected over the next few months. The five themes for Homecoming 2014 - active, food and drink, creative, natural and ancestry are all represented and visitors can look forward to brand new events such as the John Muir Festival in East Lothian to herald the opening of the John Muir coast to coast route and a spectacular Ryder Cup Opening Concert, as well as many existing events, including Hogmanay, Edinburgh Festivals and the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.
With around 50 million people around the world claiming Scottish heritage, diaspora and clan-related events form a key part of Homecoming. These include around 30 events, including the celebrations to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the Aboyne Highland Games, the Inverness Highland Meeting 2014, the 10th Clan Munro International Gathering, the Dunfermline Bruce Festival and Piping Live!
The world’s largest ice caves
The World of Ice Giants brings you into the largest ice caves in the world. One of the true wonders on earth, the caves are a wondrous underground world of natural ice sculptures and formations.
High above the village of Werfen, in Austria, amid the magnificent mountain world of the Tennengebirge, is the entrance to the world’s biggest explored labyrinth of ice caves with a length of almost 30 miles.
The World of Ice Giants , discovered in 1879 is a dynamic cave, meaning that the corridors and the crevices connect lower lying entrances to higher openings, hence making it possible for draughts of air to circulate – similar to the effect in a chimney. During spring melt water seeps through the cracks in the rock and when it reaches the still cold and frozen lower areas of the caves it freezes and turns slowly into the wonderful ice formations visible inside the caves.
Lamps are handed out before visitors head into the caves for the 1¼ hour tour. The first stop is the Poselt Hall, with the magnificent Poselt Tower stalagmite. There you can marvel at the greatest area of ice growth, the Great Ice Embankment, a massive formation rising up to over 75 feet. Stalactites in Hymir’s Castle created the so called ice organ. For an even more stunning effect, the ice formations are sometimes highlighted with magnesium lighting. The caves are open May to October and of course you will need to be dressed for the cold, even during summer months.
Saving the Ghosts of the Himalayas
The white blur of a swift snow leopard truly gives an illusion of a ghost passing by. How amazing would it be to see these beautiful shy creatures in their natural habitat!
Sadly, snow leopards are on the red list of threatened species and need urgent help to save them from extinction. According to a study, the estimated number of snow leopards remaining in the wild is 4500-7000 only.
These rare animals are found in the high reaches of the Himalayan Mountains and Ladakh is one of the last few refuges of the endangered cats. Several reasons are responsible for their declining numbers. The bones, skin and organs of large cats is used in traditional Asian medicines and although tigers are the most preferred species for this purpose, they are very rare in such high altitude regions. So snow leopards are the best available option and thus fetch huge earnings for the poachers.
With depleting natural resources due to human interference, the fragile mountain grasslands are damaged resulting in fewer animals reaching out to the snow leopard regions for grazing. This leaves the snow leopard with no choice but to prey on the domestic livestock. The unhappy farmers retaliate by killing these large cats.
The Snow Leopard Conservancy is just one of many organizations that are trying to help the troubled animals of the world. It has grown out of Dr. Rodney Jackson thirty year experience of working closely with wild snow leopards and their mountain habitat.
The Snow Leopard Conservancy’s range country educational activities are centered on simple teaching tools appropriate for remote rural areas where electricity is the exception and schools function under bare-bones conditions. They work through a network of local teachers, teacher-trainers and nonprofit organizations, to develop and conduct classroom and after-school activities to educate people on the importance of preserving their natural habitat and hence wild creatures.
In 2005, the Snow Leopard Conservancy developed a community-based environmental education program for rural Ladakh, focused on conservation of snow leopards and other wildlife of the local trans-Himalayan region.
Simple solutions are found which can go a long way in preserving the natural world, like building and maintaining predator proof corrals to keep their animals safe from snow leopards.
http://snowleopardconservancy.org/The habitat of these snow leopards in Ladakh is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Most people visit Ladakh for the culture, it popular festivals and the beautiful monasteries. Snow leopards are the hidden secret of Ladakh, but more adventure tourists now visit its difficult terrain in search of the snow leopards.
The development of snow leopard tourism is helping to save these animals from extinction. Snow Leopard Conservancy helps local people develop lodging for people who are traveling through snow leopard lands. Called home stays, these lodgings are rustic “bed and breakfast” accommodations where travelers can meet local people, learn about local customs, enjoy local foods, and hike with expert local guides who show them around the nearby countryside.
And there is always a chance the traveler will get to see a snow leopard! The money that local people receive for these services helps offset snow leopard depredation and makes the snow leopards an asset rather than a liability.
For more information on the conservation team in Ladakh…..