Published: May 30, 2008
Those who live in the Kaiserslautern area just got another option for travel to London. On May 27, 2008, Ryanair announced its intent to launch a route between London Stansted and ZweibrÃ¼cken starting in October of 2008. According to Mappy.com, the distance to ZweibrÃ¼cken is some 61 kilometers vs. 105 kilometers to Frankfurt-Hahn.
To read the announcement in full, click here.
Published: May 23, 2008
You know youve been living in Europe a long time when you actually start to pay attention to events such as this one
This upcoming Memorial Day weekend coincides with the staging of the annual Eurovision Song Contest, a European tradition since 1956. On Saturday, May 24, 25 finalists representing their countries, having been whittled down from an original pool of 43, will belt it out in search of the title. Competitors will be both groups and solo artists. The country from which the winner hails will then have the honor of hosting the 2009 competition.
Published: May 22, 2008
It happens over and over again. You read about some kind of festival or event online, get all ramped up to attend, do your utmost to verify the dates, and then learn that it passed you by a week ago. Sometimes, an even worse scenario can play out you strike off to the venue, only to find you had the dates all wrong. What happened?
My most recent disappointment has to do with a Lemon Festival slated for one of the villages of Cinque Terre. In 2007, Monterosso al Mares big shindig took place on May 27so logically, I could assume that this annual event falls on the last Saturday of May right? Wrong. A little more digging reveals that the date of the Lemon Festival is actually tied in with the date of Ascension Day, and always takes place the following Saturday. The date of Ascension Day is not fixed, but rather falls 40 days after Easter, and always on a Thursday. In 2008, Ascension Day fell on May 1. What does that mean? Obviously, no lemons will be brightening my upcoming weekend.
Published: May 19, 2008
Suppose you have a friend or relative coming to visit this summer, and you have only a limited time off to devote to playing host. Is it worth it to pack the itinerary, or should you just show your guest a few of your favorite haunts?
On the odd occasion when a visitor comes my way, I prefer to have him or her spend the first few days with me and become acquainted with my way of life. That would include showing her the sights of local cities, the places I do my shopping, favorite restaurants and beer gardens, or maybe taking a day trip by bicycle. That which has become commonplace to me is met with a fresh take by my stateside cousins, and their enthusiastic comments often renew my own sense of appreciation. More independent guests often get a kick out of being left to make their own discoveries as their hosts go off to work.
Published: May 15, 2008
A recent spring weekend was spent biking along the banks of the Moselle River in the company of friends. The green of the newly budded trees along the steep hillsides, which in turn reflected in the waters of the river, was a welcome sight after what felt like endless months of winter gray. While the scenery was stunning, I cant give unqualified praise to the cycling itself. While most parts of the cycling path took us through vineyards or alongside the banks of the river, there were a few stretches directly alongside the busy main road. The speed of the cars bearing upon us to our right, coupled with the packs of lycra-clad, hard-core bikers with whom we shared the path to the left, made for harrowing conditions. I shudder to think of any families with young children who might unwittingly venture out on such a trail.
When we sat down to coffee in late afternoon and pulled out our biking map, we came to the realization that the parts of the trail that ran along the highway were clearly indicated by broken patches of red dots. This revelation dictated our choice of route for the remainder of the journey, and served to reinforce my long-standing notion that any map you happen to pick up is literally screaming at you with all-too-often ignored information.
Published: May 9, 2008
Did you ever struggle with word in a foreign language, finally get around to looking it up, and realize that the English equivalent leaves you equally baffled? Its been like that for me with the German words BÃ¤rlauch (bears garlic?) Sanddorn (sea-buckthorn?), the Russian brusnik (lingonberry?), kvas (bread drink?), and a host of others.
This was for me the case with the German word Pfingst, which, in 2008, falls on May 12. A peek in the dictionary informed me that the day is Pentecost, or Whit Monday. Pentecost, for anyone else not familiar with this term, commemorates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon a gathering of the apostles, Jesus family and followers that enabled them to speak different languages and spread the word of Jesus works. The event is considered the beginning of the Christian church, and apparently has been a big date on the German calendar for some time a New York times article dated June 14, 1859, gives a description of how the Germans in the New World marked the day and it sounds not unlike whats survived down to present times. Pentecost comes 50 days after Easter.
Published: May 8, 2008
The Berlin Airlift was launched on June 26, 1948, following a blockade imposed by the Soviet Union on the Western zones of the divided city of Berlin. To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the date, numerous events are in the works by both American and German organizers.
According to the Stripes article Berlin airlift ceremonies in works Frankfurt and Wiesbaden will lay on activities in June and the first half of July, whereas Berlin intends to stage its official commemoration in May 2009, coinciding with the anniversary of the lifting of the blockade.
Published: May 2, 2008
When you next walk through the streets of a major European city, spare a thought for all that might be lurking just under your feet. Beyond the obvious public transportation networks, electricity grids and water canals, you may well be strolling over bones of plague victims and buried artifacts. For a true change of pace, why not visit that underworld? Here are some cities that offer tours of what lies beneath:
Berlin The citys public transportation network now offers a night-time tunnel ride covering a distance of some 25 kilometers and acquainting passengers with the history of the Berlin metro. Helmets are mandatory, and you must be over 18 years of age. The tour costs 40 euros and lasts about two hours.