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Archive for germany

The City of Squares

By Linda Tancs

An old pop song exhorted that it’s hip to be square. They’d undoubtedly agree in Mannheim, Germany. Known as the “City of Squares,” Mannheim has exactly 144 of them. Lined up between the palace and the Neckar River, they stretch between the water tower (a beloved landmark) and Kurt Schumacher Bridge. Amidst these squares Mozart gave piano lessons to children, but the squares’ greater renown is perhaps the largest Baroque palace in Europe after Versailles. Designed to highlight the important role of the Palatine Prince Electors in the Holy Roman Empire, its grand interior includes a ceremonial staircase and knights’ hall. Guided tours in English are available by prior arrangement; audio tours are offered in English, French and German. The palace is located on Bismarckstrasse, just ten minutes away from Mannheim’s central station.

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A Museum Goes to the Dogs

By Linda Tancs

It’s been an ambassador for Bavaria, a hunter’s indispensable partner and a friend to nobility. We’re talking about the dachshund (“badger dog” in German), a popular dog breed worldwide. And now the first museum devoted to the breed awaits your visit in Passau, Germany. Dackelmuseum sports the 4,500-strong collection of two enthusiasts, showcasing the beloved pet’s role in history and culture. Not surprisingly, dogs are welcome visitors.

Wine and the Rhine

By Linda Tancs

Wine and the Rhine. One might say they go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s a combination that can’t be beat, which is why the annual Rheingau Wine Festival is one of the highlights in Wiesbaden, Germany, part of the Rheingau wine growing area. Taking place between city hall, market church and parliament from August 10 to August 19, the famous festival features tastings of still and sparkling wines at over 100 stands. The event also includes sumptuous catering and a varied musical program, promising a convivial experience for all.

Munich’s Portal

By Linda Tancs

Among Europe’s biggest city parks, the English Garden in Munich, Germany, rivals New York City’s storied Central Park. An outstanding example of a classical landscape garden, it comprises woodland, meadows and water. Its network of pathways includes bridle paths and over 100 bridges and footbridges. Extending from the Court and Finance Gardens at Odeonsplatz into the open countryside far to the north of the city, this inner-city playground begun in 1789 counts more than 5 million visitors annually. A popular meeting point is the Chinese Tower, where a 7,000-seat beer garden is one of the biggest in Bavaria.

Queen of the North Sea

By Linda Tancs

Part of Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, Germany’s island of Sylt is the largest North Frisian island and the fourth largest island in the country. Referred to as the Queen of the North Sea, its popular holiday resorts (Morsum, Keitum, Rantum, Hörnum, Kampen and List) make it an attractive summer destination. Known for its tranquil beaches, a visit would be incomplete without a stop at the aquarium in Westerland, boasting a fabulous collection of North Sea and tropical fish. See more marine life in its natural habitat via a guided boat trip at the Wadden Sea, the largest unbroken area of mudflats in the world. The Hindenburg Causeway joins the island with the mainland.

City of Dragons

By Linda Tancs

Bavaria’s Furth im Wald is the site of the Drachenstich (Slaying of the Dragon), the oldest traditional folk festival in Germany. Dating back 500 years, the spectacle includes a re-enactment of the slaying of a mythical dragon that threatened the town in the Middle Ages. And what a dragon it is. The four-legged walking robot measuring nearly 50 feet is the biggest in the world (recorded in the Guinness Book of Records), spewing fire and ambling amongst costumed locals, horses and medieval knights. The festival begins tomorrow and ends on August 20.

Steel, Beer and Coal

By Linda Tancs

Dortmund, the largest city in Westphalia, lies on the eastern edge of the Ruhr in Germany’s historic Hellweg corridor. Once home to a thriving steel and coal industry, its industrial heritage is barely evident in the thriving tech-driven city seen today. That small army of industrial workers also meant there was plenty of thirst to quench; Dortmund became one of the largest beer producers in the world. Visitors can learn all about the triad of industrialization in the region by visiting the Brewery Museum on Steigerstraße 16.

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