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Alpbach 2013: A Meeting of Minds

Alpbach 2013:  A Meeting of Minds

Slate-grey, dramatic storm clouds frame the ragged mountain backdrop. They fill the horizon and are also reflected in the funnel-shaped, ceiling-to-floor glass wall that plunges below a wide, paved terrace, where scores of smartly-dressed people mingle in the lively murmur of conversation between two sessions of the European Forum Alpbach (EFA).  Now in its 68th year, the […]

Stronach’s Test in Tyrol

There was one consolation for Frank Stronach in the regional elections in Tyrol on 28 April: His namesake East Tyrolean village of Iselberg-Stronach supported his “Team Stronach” with 17%, or 49 votes of its 617 inhabitants. With the first exit polls published at 17:00, it was clear that the remarkable result – Frank’s party came […]

Tyrol’s Cashless Payment

Tyrol’s Cashless Payment

A “Secure Shopping” smartphone app has been implemented in several branches of supermarket chain MPREIS. Shoppers pay for purchases quickly with the app by entering a PIN code, then pressing the phone screen against the checkout scanner. All that’s required is a Hypo Tirol bank account with online banking capability. Addressing privacy concerns, the company’s […]

Green vs. Greener in East Tyrol

Green vs. Greener in East Tyrol

Conservationist Wolfgang Retter walks on the shaded root-strewn path besides the upper Isel River. It’s a well-trodden route for the passionate Tyrolean ecologist. Not far from its glacial source, the river is shallow here. The water is milky with sediment, and it roars over the rocks that protrude from the gravel riverbed. But a metallic […]

Alpine Motorcycle Diaries

Alpine Motorcycle Diaries

O.K., so it wasn’t a motorcycle, we were on a Vespa. But let’s not begin by splitting hairs. Zigzagging through the Alps on two wheels is a humbling experience, whether on a Ducati or a small motorbike, what the Germans call a Zwiebacksäge a “Zwieback Saw”, for apparent reasons. I was sceptical when my husband […]

Book Review: John Leake’s Cold a Long Time

Book Review: John Leake’s Cold a Long Time

A Cover-Up in the Alps Three years ago, Vienna writer John Leake took a call from Bob and Lynda MacPherson. They told of the disappearance of their son, Duncan, and their frustrating, 20-year search to find out what happened to him. It was a Kafkaesque tale of bureaucratic obfuscation and obstruction that cost two more […]

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