Kvarner newsletter / no 28

Just like the old days…
Imperial days in Opatija

This April when the luxury Imperial Train from Vienna landed in Opatija-Matulji railway station, time seemed suddenly to have stood still – the magnificent replica of the Imperial Train, the ceremonial welcome and visitors from Vienna brought us right back in time to the golden era when Opatija was a favourite Austrian-Hungarian resort. However, this was just a part of the appealing Imperial theme that ran right through the month, but whose spirit can be felt in Opatija throughout the year.

When the replica of the Imperial Train entered the Opatija-Matulji railway station, it seemed that Opatija's golden era returned for a while – the era when Opatija's hotels were favourite holiday venues of elite society in the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. It was the time when Opatija Riviera was visited by emperors, politicians and cream of the society in Austria-Hungary. The aim of this "Imperial" tourism project is to evoke the atmosphere of that era.
In mid-April, approximately hundred visitors from Vienna came by the Imperial Train to Opatija. The aim of this programme is to promote Opatija's tradition to modern visitors. Opatija was at the time visited by many renowned musicians, actors, ballet dancers, writers. Some of these figures were interpreted on the streets of Opatija by actors who even danced Viennese waltz with the visitors.
The programme designed for the guests from Vienna and all other Opatija's visitors was really high-class and included several free concerts entitled "Starry Operetta nights", a gala concert by the Original Tiroler Kaiserjägermusik, and much more. Musicians and actors in 19th-century costumes were walking along the streets of Opatija, and the restaurants were offering special 19th-century menus.
Opatija's visitors thus had the chance to enjoy chocolate bread, Habsburger cake, Imperial cake decorated with gold, home-made noodles with lamb ragout, celery soup with smoked meat, pancakes with grape jam, angler fish in caper sauce, apples with honey, coffee cake, Imperial coffee, polenta and cherry cake, and many other delicacies.
For those who missed this programme, the good news is that the Imperial Train will return to Opatija next year!