It’s no secret that Europe in fall is the time to find real value, and this year there are more than a few new attractions. European resident and Peter Greenberg contributor Elena Strapkova shares all the exciting museums, restaurant, festival and other cultural activities going on across the Atlantic this fall.
1. BRUSSELICIOUS 2012 Brussels, Belgium
You definitely shouldn’t miss Belgium when traveling to Europe this year. 2012 has been announced as the year of gastronomy. Food festivals and events promoting Belgian cuisine, beers and “arts de vivre” are taking place all over the country. The spotlight is on Brussels with its all-year-long celebration of great food called Brusselicious 2012. Restaurateurs and chefs are coming together to share their expertise with locals and foreign gourmets. As part of the initiative, The Slow Food Meeting is taking place now in the third week of September. Chefs, food and drink producers, gardeners and local shop owners are offering special menus promoting good, clean and fair food of this eco-gastronomic city. One of the year-round attractions is a “Tram Experience” that will take you to see the most beautiful parts of Brussels while tasting the classic dishes of Belgian gastronomy modified by Belgium’s most famous chefs. Or you can go to see 35 monumental sculptures representing famous Belgian products such as mussels, cones of fries, beers, chocolates and of course Brussels sprouts, displayed in the Royal Park.
Modernist Painter Gustav Klimt might not seem new but 2012 would have been his 150th birthday. And because he was born in Austria, Vienna is celebrating his life and work with dozens of exhibitions and special events this year. Vienna’s Belvedere Palace, a masterpiece itself, is home to the world’s largest Klimt collection including legendary Kiss or Judith. This summer the “Masterpieces in Focus: 150 years of Gustav Klimt” opened in the Upper Belvedere. The exhibition will last until January 2013 and shows museum’s entire stock of Klimt’s paintings with two new pieces Sunflower and Family acquired from personal collector this year. Other works are displayed in the Leopold Museum, the Wien Museum and the Albertina. The Wien Museum is displaying its entire Klimt collection for the first. Now 400 drawings. including preparatory sketches for his best-known masterpieces, as well as studies from all phases of his lifetime work are open to the public. If you want to learn even more about Klimt’s life, you can visit MAK (Museum of Applied Arts and Contemporary Art) or Austrian National Library.
3. MUSEUM OF INNOCENCE, Istanbul, Turkey
One of the most extra-ordinary museums of the world and a must-see for all fans of novelist Orhan Pamuk has opened this year just on the border of Europe and Asia. The biggest dream of Nobel prize winner and most prominent Turkish novelist came true just a few months ago. If you read his books, you know that this is the museum he described in 2008’ s novel with the same title. In the story with 83 chapters wealthy businessman Kemal obsessively falls in love with lower-class girl Füsun who is 12 years younger than him. During 30 years of his desire for Füsun, Kemal collects everything that reminds him of her. And today, although the museum is based on fiction, you can see all of it in Istanbul’s neighborhood Çukurcuma. Besides that, you will find Pamuk’s notes, original copies of the novel and even unpublished chapters in the last room of the museum. If you own a book, you don’t need to buy a ticket – use the one inside of it.
4. ENZO FERRARI MUSEUM, Modena, Italy
Not only Ferrari fans are amazed by a new attraction in legendary Italian motor-town Modena. Enzo Ferrari House museum with a yellow roof shaped like the bonnet of a Ferrari will entertain any visitor passing through this region. The museum is located just next to Maserati factory and is built around Enzo Ferrari’s former house, where he was born in 1898. Part of the exhibition is dedicated to his life story ended with the blueprint of the last car he was projecting – Ferrari F40. A workshop belonging to Ferrari’s father, who worked for Italian railway is also attached to the museum. But don’t worry, you’ll see the actual Ferrari cars in the museum as well. In Competition Hall you can relive the great competitions of the past in presence of Ferrari single-seaters, sports cars and sports prototypes. The 500 F2 and Arno XI are displayed in Cittadella Ferrari. The Victories Hall celebrates 15 World Drivers’ Titles and 16 Word Constructors’ Titles of Scuderia Ferrari. The museum projected by famous architect Jan Kaplicky cost 18 million euros and is supposed to attract about 200,000 visitors each year.
5. THAMES CABLE CAR, London, UK
Have you missed the Olympics? Don’t worry. The Games are over, but the attractions stay. One of the newest ones is a cable car over river Thames opened just before the start of the Olympic Games. The 1-kilometer long gondola line built with the sponsorship of Emirate Airlines will take you from Greenwich to the Royal Docks. The first urban cable car in UK is able to carry up to 2.500 passengers per hour and crosses the river at a height of 300 feet. Although it is lower than the London Eye (443 ft), it still offers amazing views on England’s capital. Plus you can use London’s Oyster card (public transport card) to pay for the ride. Thames cable car provides crossing every 15 seconds.
6. TRENDY SWEDISH RESTAURANTS – FRANTZÉN/LINDEBERG, Stockholm and FAVIKEN, Järpen
Two new Swedish restaurants have made it on the St Pellegrino World’s Top 50. Frantzén/Lindeberg is currently “talk of the town“ in Stockholm. Located in Stockholm’s Old Town, the menu is full of surprises and humor. For example, escargots and caviar d’escargot is plated with cat grass, violets, pollen and rapeseed. Twelve-seat restaurant Faviken is a more difficult target. Located deep in the Swedish hinterlands, about an 8-hour driving from Stockholm, it is now consider the world’s most daring restaurant. It’s worth braving the neverending road to this place for specialties such as juniper embers, diced beef heart or duck-egg liquor. Book your table months in advance for an obviously unforgettable experience.
For more information on European travel, check out:
- Fall in France: Three Coasts, Three Cultures, Three Cuisines
- A First Time Guide to Understanding Turkey
- Daily Deal: 8 Days/6 Nights on Italy’s Amalfi Coast
- The European Travel Archives
By Elena Strapkova for PeterGreenberg.com