The Swiss legend of William Tell, set in the Alps more than 700 years ago, tells the story of the expert marksman who defied the bailiff Hermann Gessler by refusing to bow before Gessler’s hat, which hung on a pole.

As punishment, Tell was ordered to shoot an apple off the head of his son, Walter. With one arrow, he performed the task, and told Gessler that a second arrow in his quiver would have been for Gessler if he had failed and killed his son. Arrested and sent by ship over Lake Lucerne to Gessler’s castle, Tell escaped and eventually shot the bailiff. The shooting sparked a rebellion that eventually led to the formation of the Swiss Confederacy.

All the emotions of the colorful legend inspired German playwright Friedrich von Schiller to write his play "William Tell" in 1804. The work is still staged today, with one of the more famous productions at the 2,300-seat open-air theater in the Rugen woods near Interlaken, Switzerland. The play includes a cast of 180 characters in medieval costume as well as authentic 13th-century scenery. The evening and afternoon performances (in German) run on specific dates between June 19 and Sept. 6. Ticket prices are 26 Swiss francs (about $25), 32 and 38 Swiss francs for adults, half-price for children 6 to 16. Children under 6 are not admitted. Free backstage tours are offered at 6 p.m. Find more details at

All things Napoleon

In 1817, after her banishment from France, Hortense de Beauharnais, sister-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte and mother of Napoleon III, fled to Castle Arenenberg by Lake Constance in the Swiss canton of Thurgau. There, she rebuilt the castle and surrounded it with a park. Now open to the public, the castle is home to the Napoleon Museum. The exhibition "Napoleon III – the Emperor from Lake Constance" is on display there until Oct. 10 to celebrate what would have been the emperor’s 200th birthday. It focuses on Napoleon’s childhood at the castle and the years before he became the French emperor.

The museum is open 1-5 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from mid-April to mid-October; it is closed on Mondays the rest of the year. Admission is 10 Swiss francs (about $10).

Find details at, which includes an English version.

Best BetsBELGIUM: Jazz lovers will be gravitating toward Brussels on Friday through Sunday for its annual jazz marathon, featuring jazz, Latin, funk, rock and blues. About 160 free performances will be taking place outdoors on the Grand Place (Grote Markt), the Sablon Square (Sablon, Zavel), the Sint-Katelijne Square and the Fernand Cocq Square, and indoors at clubs and cafes.

From 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, free shuttle buses will carry listeners around the various sites.

Find details at www.brusselsjazz

DENMARK: Founded by Vikings in 770, Århus celebrates the culture of its founding fathers this weekend with a Viking market, organized with help from period specialists at the nearby Moesgård Museum.

The festival will be held in the old town between the river, where Viking ships will be moored, the market place on Bispetorv Square where the Vikings first settled and the Store Torv main square.

Events include a Viking parade, battles outside the cathedral, a colorful market with Viking wares, a variety of entertainment and a new exhibition opening at the museum.

See more details at

ENGLAND: There are about 400 vineyards in England. Due to the cool climate, the most common grapes grown are the whites — Müller Thurgau and Reichensteiner from Germany and Seyval blanc from France — although some reds, especially pinot noir, are also popular.

To give customers a taste of what they have, vintners are sponsoring an eight-day English Wine Week countrywide Saturday through June 1. Wineries will offer tours, tastings and specialty-food promotions.

Find details at www.englishwine

GERMANY: Starting Thursday and continuing through the weekend, the Rhine River town of Rüdesheim will be filled with Harley-Davidson bikers and fans for the annual Magic Bike Rüdesheim am Rhein festival.

The fest will include Harley trade stands, a U.S. car show, historical and modern bike shows, a stunt car show by a Hamburg police team, food, drinks, concerts and parties.

On Saturday, a parade of Harleys will make its way along the river to Eltville and back. A day ticket costs 7 euros (without entry to the two major concerts) with multi-day, concert and festival package tickets also available. Look for details at

The clash of lances will echo in Königstein Castle in the Taunus Mountains at the annual Knights Tournament on Friday and through the weekend. Medieval entertainment and a market with Middle Ages food and crafts will set the stage for battles among the Knights of Königstein. The market opens at 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. on the weekend. The tournaments take place Friday at 9 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. and on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Admission is 10 euros for adults, free for children up to 16 accompanied by an adult, and 5 euros for unaccompanied children.

See details at (in German).

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