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Archive for tourism

The Pied Piper’s Town

By Linda Tancs

Boasting magnificent Renaissance architecture of the Weserberg region, Hameln (Hamelin), Germany, is home to the legendary Pied Piper. As the story goes, in 1284 a man in multicolored (pied) dress promised to lure the rats out of Hameln but instead lured its children away. The folk tale is omnipresent throughout the city, from the open-air play (May through September) retelling the story to the mechanical Pied Piper Theatre in the Hameln Museum and the Pied Piper’s House (Rattenfängerhaus) right in the town center. You can even book the Pied Piper himself at the tourist office for a group welcome greeting or guided city tour.

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Ireland’s Savage Land

By Linda Tancs

When Oliver Cromwell ordered a survey of the area surrounding Ireland’s majestic Galway Bay, The Burren was described as “a savage land, yielding neither water enough to drown a man, nor tree to hang him, nor soil enough to bury.” Derived from the word “Boireann” (meaning “rocky land” in Gaelic), it’s true that few trees grow there, but a unique plant environment thrives, causing Mediterranean and alpine plants rare to Ireland to grow side by side. The result is a cascade of colorful blooms from May to August that lights up the savage landscape.

A Royal Visit in Santander

By Linda Tancs

Widely recognized as an emblem of the city of Santander in northern Spain, Palacio de La Magdalena was the summer residence of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia for 17 years. Situated on the highest point of the Península de La Magdalena (sandwiched between the historic quarter and El Sardinero, a famous beach), the English-style residence (evoking the Queen’s homeland) is surrounded by gardens and wooded areas, a popular place for relaxation among the 60,000 or so annual visitors. The palace also famously serves as the locale for summer courses of the International Menéndez Pelayo University presented by renowned faculty from around the world.

A Mozart Family Festival

By Linda Tancs

The Bavarian town of Augsburg, Germany, might not immediately come to mind as a town associated with Wolfgang Mozart, who is more famously connected to Salzburg and Vienna. But it is the birthplace of his father Leopold, an influential composer in his own right. Honoring both father and son, the city hosts a Mozart festival every May, performing compositions of both father and son with events for adults as well as children. This year’s festival continues through May 26. Augsburg is easily reachable from Munich by train or car.

Frankfurt’s Secret Sauce

By Linda Tancs

Frankfurt’s secret sauce (as the expression goes) is its green sauce. The German concoction is made of seven different kinds of herbs: borage, chervil, cress, parsley, salad burnet, sorrel and chives. Throw in some sour cream, yogurt, vinegar and oil, and the city’s culinary favorite is born. And, no, it was not invented by the mother of local son Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (although it might have been the renowned writer’s favorite hometown dish). Served cold over hard-boiled eggs and boiled potatoes, it’s the star of its own festival in May. Celebrated from May 11 to May 19 this year, the Green Sauce Festival takes place at Rossmarkt.

France’s First Flower Show

By Linda Tancs

King Francis I of France called the Erdre the most beautiful river in the country. Imagine what he’d think of the fabulous display of flowers along its banks during the international flower exhibition, Comité des Floralies. France’s first flower show, the event takes place every five years in Nantes. Running from today through May 19, the popular exhibition convenes more than 200 flower and plant experts from around the world to create stunning displays at the expo center along the banks.

A Czech Icon

By Linda Tancs

Founded in the 9th century, Prague Castle is one of the most important cultural symbols in the Czech Republic. Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ancient castle in the world, it comprises palaces and ecclesiastical buildings of various architectural styles as well as knockout views of the city from the Great South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral. The castle’s season opening is on May 11, when you can visit for free. Be sure to see the falconry show in the castle gardens throughout the day.

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