Magical Estonian Maritime Museum, Seaplane Harbour

 

The Lembit submarine in the Estonian Maritime Museum, Tallinn.

The Lembit submarine in the Estonian Maritime Museum, Tallinn.

A museum must be a calm and sacred place. It must have many walls for numerous masterpieces: paintings, engravings, frescoes, mosaics…. It must have high ceilings to allow gigantic statues from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, or Mesopotamia to be placed here and there. You cannot run or jump in a museum, and of course you cannot touch its exhibits. Moreover, in some museums, you are not even allowed to take photographs. Right? Not always!

Would you like to:

  • let your children run and jump in a museum (and even fly in a flight simulator)?
  • visit a real submarine made in 1936?
  • look at an antique submarine which had a hand engine?
  • sit in a real navy anti-aircraft gun and even control it?
  • go down to the engine room of a real icebreaker that broke ice in the Baltic Sea from 1914, and visit several navy ships nearby?
  • drink a little champagne in a café surrounded by the sound effects of an air attack before inspection of the museum exposition?

If so, you should visit the Seaplane Harbour (Estonian Maritime Museum) in Tallinn, Estonia.

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Zell am See, Austria: Après Ski instead of Ski Pass

Après-ski (French: after skiing) refers to any form of entertainment, nightlife, or social event
that occurs specifically at ski resorts.

 Feeding of swans. Zell am See, Austria.

Feeding of swans. Zell am See, Austria.

I must admit that my wife and I are mediocre skiers, and in our winter travels, we always spend more time on après ski activities than with ski passes in the mountains. If, like us, you don’’t feel very comfortable fastened to a pair of thin strips of slippery plastic at an altitude of 2500 meters in mountains, it does not mean that ski resorts are not for you. You wouldn’’t believe how many people come to the Austrian Alps not for skiing, but for the comfortable and enthralling après ski.

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Hermann Göring’s Castle, Mauterndorf

 
Mauterndorf Castle. Lungau, Salzburg, Austria.

Every old castle would like to have its own ghost. You are boring without a ghost or dramatic history. The castle of Mauterndorf in Austria was not lucky. It never resisted a cruel siege and never had an imprisoned princess or mysterious lady. There was no murder or suicide inside its walls, and its owners were not famous people, except for one—Hermann Göring, Reichsmarschall of Nazi Germany. “OK. Why not?” the castle thought. “Let him be my ghost. By the way, I am almost 800 years old, and in such a ripe old age, it’s a shame not to have a ghost. What will tourists think about me?”

As usual, we decided to visit Mauterndorf Castle in the low season, in winter, to explore it without witnesses, and were right to do that. We enjoyed its Medieval atmosphere in solitude. Mauterndorf is a museum. It is inhabited by wax figures of Medieval traders, musicians, bishops, and knights. They come alive at night and share their daily impressions of the visitors to their castle.

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