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Michael Abrams

Vinocentral in Darmstadt is a popular place to grab coffee or meet up after work

It was the last day of business before the November lockdown was to begin. On a balmy afternoon, Vinocentral was as crowded as it could be with social distancing rules in effect.

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Draguignan days: There’s more to this city in Provence than the American military cemetery

The town of Draguignan in southeastern France is a little off the beaten track. While it is in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region — think St. Tropez and other popular Riviera destinations — hordes of tourists don’t make their way there.


Lorelei may not sing, but statue’s beauty is bewitching

The myth of a siren, the creature who lures sailors with her song to crash their ships upon rocky shores, is at least as old as Homer’s Odyssey.


With a favorite restaurant closed, husband makes anniversary dinner, dessert to remember

The coronavirus has forced the cancellation not only of crowd pleasers like March Madness and Oktoberfest, but of personal events like funerals, birthday celebrations and family gatherings.


Europe Quick Trips

Take an afternoon stroll through Frankfurt’s Wallanlagen greenbelt

The medieval city walls couldn’t keep the Black Death out of Frankfurt in the 14th century, nor could they stop the next plague about 250 years later. If they still stood, they wouldn’t protect the city’s inhabitants from today’s coronavirus, either.


UPDATE: Holland’s spectacular spring flower show is canceled

When 40 bulb growers from the Lisse area got together in 1949 to hold a flower exhibit at a 15th-century Dutch hunting estate called Keukenhof, they probably didn’t realize that their gathering would plant the seed of what was to become one of Holland’s biggest attractions.


Europe travel

Largest all-women surrealist exhibit in Frankfurt extended through July 5

“Fantastic Women,” the terrific new show at the Schirn exhibit hall in Frankfurt features 260 works of 34 artists from 11 countries, and is billed as the largest-ever exhibit dedicated exclusively to female surrealists.


Senckenberg Museum brings natural history to life

Dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years but they still fascinate people, young and old. Even dinosaur bones fascinate — or at least that’s the impression you get when you visit the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany.


Fuel for the long haul: Former truck stop near Darmstadt hides hearty, sophisticated fare

Those of you who commute from Wiesbaden to the Dagger Complex in Darmstadt every day may have noticed the fuel station soon after leaving the autobahn at Buettelborn. What you might not have seen is the fueling station of a different kind behind it.


Thirty years after its fall, Berlin Wall Memorial is a chilling reminder of the past

Thirty years ago on Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. Today the best place to see what life in the shadow of the Wall was like is at the Berlin Wall Memorial.


Hop to this Scotch bar in Wiesbaden

I am not a fan of scotch and soda. Scotch, yes; with soda, no. More of a neat type of guy. But when I heard about a gastropub called Scotch N Soda, I decided to give it a try.


Located on the Moselle river, Cochem is famous for its wine, vineyards, scenery

A journey along the Moselle river brings you past many sights worth seeing. One of them is the town of Cochem.


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Cars go electric at Frankfurt Motor Show

If there were clouds over the Frankfurt Motor Show two years ago, there could be a storm brewing over this year’s edition, which opens at the city’s fairgrounds this week.


Servicemembers mark 75th anniversary of often-overlooked WWII invasion of southern France

Operation Dragoon was planned to happen simultaneously with the Normandy invasion, but a shortage of resources — mainly ships — led to the operation being launched Aug. 15, 1944.


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Fist-bumps, blisters and beer: US servicemembers march 100 miles in four days in the Netherlands

There was some limping. There was a little stiffness and some pain. But mostly there was celebration and relief as hundreds of U.S. servicemembers finished the Nijmegen Four Days Marches on Friday.


Fresh, tasty Italian food awaits at Kaiserslautern’s Bistrorante Da Adriana

I first noticed Bistrorante Da Adriana while driving a colleague home from work. It was dark outside and the warm lights from inside the Kaiserslautern eatery looked quite inviting. It took a while, but I finally took up the invitation and I wasn’t disappointed.


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Explore history, see the sights, drink the wine in picturesque German spa town Bad Kreuznach

Looking for a place where you can squeeze in a hike, enjoy a spa and do some sightseeing all in a day? Bad Kreuznach, on the Nahe River, might be just the place.


Hundreds of US, French citizens gather to honor thousands who gave their all

Army and Air Force units from Germany take part in Memorial Day ceremony at the largest World War II cemetery in Europe to honor servicemembers' ultimate sacrifices.


europe quick trips

Germany’s Bundesgartenschau: Come for the flowers, stay for the art, architecture, leisure

There is a lot blooming in Heilbronn these days. The German city on the banks of the Neckar River is host to the country’s federal garden show.


Make Reims a pit stop on the way home from Normandy

Reims is in the middle of France’s Champagne country. Many of the bubbly’s makers have their headquarters here and vineyards surround the city. But Reims is probably best known for its magnificent Cathedral of Notre-Dame.


Rain delays Ramstein Carnival parade, but can’t stop the fun

Despite rain, clouds and wind throngs of costumed denizens lined the streets of Ramstein, Germany to celebrate the final day of the carnival season with the 68th Westricher Fastnachtumzug, as the parade is known locally.


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German exhibit gives an in-depth look at the life of an American icon

Who was Marilyn Monroe? A new exhibit at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz in Speyer, Germany, tries to answer the question with clothes, photos, letters and close to 400 items from her estate.


Europe Quick Trips

Take a trip to Frankfurt’s reconstructed Old Town

It might sound very cliche, but out of the ashes and the dust, a new Old Town has arisen in downtown Frankfurt.


Berlin memorial to murdered Jewish victims of Nazis an unsettling must-see

On Nov. 9, 1938, the paramilitary Nazi thugs of the Sturmabteilung attacked Jewish synagogues and shops across Germany. It was the first large-scale incident in what would lead to the death of six million Jews throughout Europe. To remember the dead, Germany created the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in central Berlin near the U.S. embassy.


Americans and French mark centennial of massive WWI offensive

With 1.2 million soldiers involved, the World War I Meuse-Argonne offensive was the largest involving U.S. forces. It began on Sept. 26, 1918, and lasted until the guns fell silent with the armistice on Nov. 11 of that year.


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Busy afternoon at Spangdahlem Air Base

It was a busy afternoon on the runway at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, on Thursday. And there were plenty of cameras to catch the action.


A nostalgic walk through the old Kaiserslautern High School, empty after more than 65 years

For the first time in more than 65 years, no Raiders will be walking the hallowed hallways of old Kaiserslautern High School.


europe quick trips

Fountain, church, monument among the sites on a stroll through Kaiserslautern

I used to say the only good thing about Kaiserslautern is that it is a stop on the express train to Paris. After a recent visit, I have to admit I might have been a little tough on this German city, nestled in the hills of the Palatinate Forest. There are some interesting things to see while walking through the downtown area of what Americans call K-Town.


Americans and French mark 100th anniversary of WWI offensive

French and Americans gathered at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in France on Saturday to mark the centennial of the Oise-Aisne Offensive.


europe travel

Sibiu, Romania: On the vampire trail to Dracula’s castle — and so much more

Sibiu is the place to start a journey through Transylvania, but there’s plenty more to discover wandering through the city.


Berlin Airlift hailed at 70th anniversary event as model of trans-Atlantic cooperation

Diplomats, politicians and military leaders gathered at Frankfurt airport Tuesday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift – a mission lauded as the greatest peacetime aerial supply mission in history.


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Ramstein airmen patch up Berlin Airlift Memorial planes ahead of 70th anniversary

Ten airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, volunteered their Saturday to do some extra repair work. Their mission: spruce up two vintage airplanes at the Berlin Airlift Memorial.


europe quick trips

Berlin Airlift Memorial honors Allied air forces who delivered food, supplies

On June 24, 1948, the Soviets, in one of the opening moves of the Cold War, blockaded all rail, road and water access to West Berlin. Two days later, what is sometimes called the greatest peacetime aerial supply operation in history began — the Berlin Airlift.


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Marines mark the centennial of the Battle of Belleau Wood

The Memorial Day ceremony also marked the centennial of the Battle of Belleau Wood, where Marines and Army troops fought a bloody battle against German forces in World War I.


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Visiting American WWI sites a century after conflict ended

A century after World War I, you can visit the places where the Americans fought and died. The landscape is still pockmarked with craters from artillery shells. Monuments honor those who fought. And white marble crosses and Stars of David, in well-groomed cemeteries, mark where many of those killed still rest.


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Find your groove and your instrument at the Musikmesse in Frankfurt

For those who are interested in music or play an instrument or are looking to buy one, the Musikmesse in Frankfurt is just about the center of the universe.