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Hotel at Frankfurt-HahnGot an early flight from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in Germany? Don’t want to take the early bus or force a friend to take you at the crack of dawn?

You might want to look into spending the night before your flight in the new budget B&B Hotel directly across from the terminals.

A single room begins at 41 euros (about $57), a double at 49 euros and a family room at 59 euros. Breakfast (not included) begins at 4 a.m. and goes to 10 a.m., so you can check in across the street and return for something to eat while you wait.

The Frankfurt-Hahn hotel telephone number is (+49) (0) 6543-8180-0.

The chain has 185 hotels in Germany and France. Its Web site is

Crater museumNördlingen, Germany, sits in the middle of a meteorite crater, and for those interested in knowing how the crater got there, the Rieskrater Museum is the place to go.

According to the museum, about 15 million years ago, a 1-kilometer-wide meteorite crashed into the Alb Plateau close to the present-day city in what is now Bavaria. The museum calculates that the impact speed was so great that the stone was driven some 3,000 feet into the earth, discharging a powerful blast of energy. The result was a crater about 15 miles in diameter.

During the process, a new rock type was created, a mixture of molten rock and shattered crystalline rock, called Suevite.

Throughout the next 2 million years, geological changes created a geology-rich area for researchers. In fact, in 1970, NASA’s Apollo 14 astronauts visited the crater for field training for their geological work on the moon. The Apollo 17 crew did the same.

In the museum, you can learn about the meteorite and how the landscape has since evolved. A church in the town has a nearly 300-foot-tall steeple made of Suevite, and from its top there is a good view of the crater.

The museum Web site is (in German).

Free Spanish podcastsLearning Spanish? Want more practice in listening skills? Check out the free online podcasts from the language magazine ECOS to load onto your MP3-Player.

Each week the magazine uploads interviews, discussions on themes from Madrid to Mexico and language exercises.

The address is

International spa finderIf you’re in the market for spoiling yourself with a spa day or vacation, you should see what the Web site has to offer before deciding where to go.

The site groups international spas under 10 categories, including the type of resort and location. Under each spa, you will find a description, contact information, customer reviews and articles.

The site also has links for gift certificates, spa specials and events, spa blogs, tips on the spa lifestyle and publications covering spa activities.

Best BetsAUSTRIA: If you’d like to see something about Austrian traditions, head to Salzburg’s Old Town where the annual St. Rupert’s Fair is going on through Monday. The fest, held in honor of the city’s patron saint, includes beer tents, farmers and crafts markets, fashion shows of national outfits, music and theater presentations, fair booths and carnival rides. Saturday is Bavaria Day and focuses on that region’s food, beer and customs. Sunday features fireworks above the fortress at 8:45 p.m. The fair is open daily on the Alten Markt, Residenzplatz, Domplatz, Kapitelplatz and Mozartplatz. For information, see the Salzburg Tourist Board’s Web site,

GERMANY: Saturday is the opening of the world’s biggest beer festival: Munich’s Oktoberfest. First held in 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, today’s festival is a lively and crowded scene of beer tents, carnival rides, entertainment and food. At 11 a.m. Saturday, the publicans ride on their colorful floats pulled by horses along Schwanthaler Strasse to the festival site in the Theresienwiese. There the city mayor will tap the barrel at noon and officially open the festival. At 10 a.m. Sunday, a traditional Bavarian parade marches through the streets to the grounds. The festival opens at 10:30 a.m., with beer tents and rides closing at about 11 p.m.

Ronneburg’s fortress is the site of a festival honoring the Holy Grail this weekend. On the program are medieval musical entertainment, knights on horseback, jugglers, magicians, theater, food, beer and a large medieval market. The festival is open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is 10 euros for adults, 6 euros for children 5 and older. Family tickets are available. Details at (in German).

— Jayne Traendly


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