THE BAVARIAN ALPS ~ MUNICH

Munich, the gateway to the Bavarian Alps, is a city with a great many historical associations—past and present—a city with an atmosphere completely unspoiled by bustling modernity. Lying midway between Strassbourg and Vienna, it is the most important town in southern Germany, also one of the largest European towns to be situated at so high an altitude. Founded in 1158, Munich was for centuries the capital of the independent kingdom of Bavaria, and in more recent times the birthplace of Nazidom. A heavy ring of munitions factories built by the Hitler regime made it an important target for allied bombings in World War II; however its protected location prevented much of the devastation suffered by other large German cities. After the Americans liberated Munich in 1945, the Temple of Honor, a memorial to the 16 Nazis killed in the “beerhall putsch,” as well as other remnants of Nazi rule, were destroyed. Today, Munich has regained much of its former prominence as a cultural center of world fame. This is a city rich in museums, art collections and exhibitions, theaters and concert halls. Especially famous are the Munich Opera, the art treasures of the Old Pinakothek and the Deutsche Museum. Every year the inherent “joie de vivre” of Munich is expressed in three typical festivals—the Munich Carnival, the bock beer festival held each spring and “Oktoberfest” in the fall is one of Germany’s gayest festivals


Finland and Helsinki

Heart of HELSINKI the lively, modern capital of Finland, is Senate Square, or the Great Square. Since most of the buildings surrounding it were designed in the early nineteenth century by the same architect, the whole square forms a remarkably homogeneous and attractive sight. Architecturally it is Empire, with its neoclassical slanting roofs over bright-colored buildings. The north side is dominated by the magnificent Great Church of Helsinki, with its beautiful columns and minarets, while the old Helsinki University Building is on the western side. The only exception to these Empire buildings is the mansard-roofed Sederholm Residence, built in 1750. On Mannerbeim Road, the main boulevard, is the impressive, modern Eduskuntatalo (Parliament House) of red Finnish granite and the Kansallismuseo (National Museum), with its tower, incorporating the facades of a palace, a castle and a church. Just oft this road is the railway square, with the famous Rautatie Asema (Railway Station), one of the most beautiful public buildings in Finland; Ateneum Art Gallery and Kansallisteatteri (National Theater).

The Mannerheim Museo, a conspicuous yellow wooden house, was the home of C. G. Mannerheim, Marshall of Finland, and is now preserved as a museum with all his trophies and relies. Since the Finns are great sports-loving people, there are a number of stadiums in the capital, but the most important is Olympic Stadium, built for the 1952 Olympic Games. The top balcony of the stadium tower commands a wide view of the city, coastal islands and dense forests of the interior. Suomcnlinna, the Gibraltar of the North, is a group of fortified islands with ramparts protecting the approaches to Helsinki. This island fortress has had a long and stirring history, and the special atmosphere of former centuries can be felt even today. Visitors should also make the trip to Korkeasaari Island Zoo, rich in northern fauna. Seurasaari island, with its open-air museum and a village made up of original old wooden farm buildings from various districts, is a fine natural park and a popular swimming place. Folk dancing and an open-air theater take place during the summer. The most famous of all Helsinki festivals is the Sibelius Festival, held in early June in the Festival Hall of Helsinki University, in honor of Jean Sibelius, Finland’s native son….

The tourist cannot help being struck by the profusion of lakes in Finland, and no one should miss taking a cruise through one of the important watercourses on a white passenger steamer. In this way, travel to AULANKO NATIONAL PARK, the number one lake resort near Hameenlinna, Sibelius’ native town. Here you can enjoy the excellent beach, a traditional sauna (Finnish steam bath) or a restful afternoon by the idyllic swan lake Former Finland Travel” capital TURKU …. second largest city in Finland, dating back to about 1150, grew up round its famous Cathedral. Its archipelago is considered the most beautiful in the country, and the Turku Castle an outstanding landmark. . . . Unique experiences are provided by a thrilling rapid-shooting trip in the north, demonstrations by lumberjacks of their hazardous skills in several log-rolling contests or a trip to KILPISJARVI, in the heart of the vast, barren arctic expanse north of the Arctic Circle, where herds of reindeer are tended by colorfully costumed Lapps.


Asolo Theater, America’s European Theater in Sarasota

German antiquarian, Adolph Loewi, had the foresight to purchase the Asolo Theater at that time for storage in his private collection.  A. Everett Austin, Jr., who served as the first director of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, saw the theater in Loewi’s collection and it was love at first sight.  Austin purchased the theater and it was brought to Sarasota in the late 1940s.

Today, the Asolo is the only 18th century theater on American soil. During a recent renova­tion, completed in 2006, the theater moved to a new location on the museum grounds and under­went an extensive cataloguing, cleaning and conservation of the pieces, which were in desper­ate need of repair. “The theater is historic. You step into it and look to the past. But when it came to Sarasota, it brought possibility and promise and represented a future,” says Dwight Currie, associate director for museum programs at the Ringling Museum.  The Historic Asolo Theater was the birthplace for a lot of the theater and music that we enjoy today in Sarasota. It’s not just a dead museum piece. It’s very much alive and forward looking.” What was once a playhouse fit for royalty is now a theater worthy of iconic status in Sarasota’s rich arts community.