Published: August 31, 2010
Ever wonder about the history of the village you currently call home, or that of your favorite destinations for a Sunday drive? If so, make a note of European Heritage Days, which take place throughout 49 European countries every September. On these dates, many buildings and historical sites generally closed to the public open their doors to visitors. Organized by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, the days aim to raise awareness among European citizens to the richness and cultural diversity of their own and neighboring countries.
In Germany, this day is known as “Tag des offenen Denkmals,” or Day of Open Monuments, and the theme changes slightly from year to year. In 2010, the topic to be explored is “Culture in motion – travel, trade and transport” and some of the landmarks open for exploration include waterways, rail networks, roads, post stations, guest houses, toll houses, warehouses, harbors and marketplaces.
Published: August 26, 2010
Germany has countless wine festivals, and dozens of auto-free days when the car stays home and the bike comes out. But how often do you get to combine the two? Well, that chance comes around at least once a year. Mark your calendar for Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010, when Erlebnistag Deutsche Weinstraße, or German Wine Road Day, comes around. This is an annual event, always held the last Sunday in August. The German Wine Road is in the Rhineland-Palatinate, and is easily reachable by train from Mannheim, Heidelberg and Kaiserslautern.
From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., an 85-kilometer long stretch of pavement stretching from Bockenheim in the north to Schweigen in the south will be closed to auto traffic, and cyclists will come out in droves. Last year, more than 300,000 people turned out to enjoy the beauty of the vineyards and the many idyllic towns along the route, not to mention the wine and munchies. If the weather’s fine, expect crowds this year as well.
Published: August 24, 2010
Perhaps we have grown used to the idea of NBA and NFL teams taking on their European counterparts in friendly outings. But did you know that the NHL gets into the act as well? Several teams will be taking on some of the best of Europe’s local talent in preseason games prior to the 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere Challenge. Furthermore, the 2010-2011 season marks the fourth straight year the NHL will begin the regular season with games played overseas. If a trip to Eastern Europe or Scandinavia has always appealed to you, here’s yet another reason to think about heading in those directions this autumn.
Germany-based fans of the San Jose Sharks have an even shorter path to follow. They can just head on over to Mannheim on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010, when the Sharks will face off with the local team, Adler. Tickets are available for as little as 12 euros at the time of this writing through the SAP Arena box office. VIP packages are also offered. For example, 1,500 euros will get you a “Logenpaket” – seats for 10 persons, three VIP parking places, and food and drink service.
Published: August 19, 2010
If you’re in Germany and in the mood for a fest, you are in the right place at the right time. The last two weekends of August see all manner of festivals in full swing throughout the land. Here are a few:
Wiesbaden’s Rheingau Wine Festival is entering its second and final weekend. This upscale event showcases the wines, predominantly whites and some mighty fine Rieslings among them, of the Rheingau winegrowing area, at some 100 stands. While it’s a great gathering for sipping, nibbling and people-watching, I can’t help but think that it wouldn’t be a whole lot of fun for children. Stop by and taste the wares now through Aug. 22.
Published: August 12, 2010
Is a visit to Rome on your agenda anytime soon? Late summer can be a fine time to see the Eternal City. The weeks around Aug. 15, otherwise known as Ferragosto, make for an opportune time to visit, because many of the locals have high-tailed it out of the city and the place has a more spacious feel to it. Here are a couple more reasons to plan a visit to Italy’s capital city in the weeks to come:
For seven straight Saturday nights beginning August 21, visitors will have the opportunity to tour the Colosseum by night. According to Pierreci, a cooperative tasked with promoting art and culture, guided tours led by archaeologists will showcase fragments and statues from excavations of the site, an exhibition highlighting the games played by the gladiators, the underground rooms, and the arena itself. English language tours are offered at 9:20, 9:40, and 10:30 p.m. at a cost of 15 euros per person. Booking a tour is required, and this can be done at the Colosseum’s ticket office during the day or just prior to entry, should there be space available. Tours are limited to a maximum of 40 visitors.
Published: August 6, 2010
Do you ever feel frustrated in not knowing where to go to take a cool refreshing dip? There are plenty of swimmable lakes and countless pools scattered about the German landscape, but you may be at a loss as to how to find them.
Your basic road atlas is as good a place as any to start. Lakes that allow swimming are marked on most maps by a square with a wave inside it.
Suppose you want to know more. Is there an admission cost? What are the lake’s opening hours? Is there a beer garden? Do I need to wear a bathing suit?
If these questions shape your decision-making, visit the Web site www.seen.de. True, it’s all in German, but you can probably glean some useful tidbits. The site allows you to hunt for lakes by region, zip code, or specific properties, such as places that are good for families, lakes with camping areas, or those catering to those who prefer the FKK way (in the buff). If there's a website for the lake in which you are interested, a link to it is provided. If your German isn't perfect, you might prefer to use the clickable map, which allows you to search for lakes by state.
Do you prefer the more pristine nature of a swimming pool? If so, there are resources for you as well. The website www.schwimmbadcheck.de has many listings, including a database that is searchable by city.