Let's Go / Best Bets
Stars and Stripes May 15, 2008
Neckar dealEvery year, the towns along the stretch of the Neckar River in Germany from Bad Friedrichshall to Gundelsheim organize festivals featuring entertainment and fireworks.
Partygoers attending the fest, known as Neckar 2000 and held Aug. 2-3 this year, can travel by ship among Bad Friedrichshall, Bad Wimpfen, Offenau, Bad Rappenau, Heinsheim and Gundelsheim. The shuttle ship is joined in the evening by a ship parade that lights up the river with music and illuminations.
Bad Wimpfen offers an overnight package for those who would like to join in the fun. It starts at 119 euros per person, double occupancy, and includes two nights’ hotel with breakfast, guided tour of Bad Wimpfen, weekend shuttle ship service, participation on the night ship parade, one meal and tax.
The offer is good Aug. 1-4. More details are at www.bad-wimpfen.de.
Hike in IcelandIcelandic Mountain Guides offers trips rated "easy" for those who would like to explore volcanic and glacial regions in the southern part of the country by foot.
The trip includes six-day trips with accommodations at the three-star spa hotel Laki. Each day, you are driven to the hiking site, with walks averaging between two to five hours.
Among the destinations are the Great Geysir geothermal area, Skaftafell National Park, volcanic craters of Laki, the forest of Núpstaðir, Jökulsárlón glacial lake with its picturesque floating icebergs, and the geothermal area of Reykjadalur. You may view and walk on some of the world’s largest glaciers, and see towering waterfalls, volcanic craters, thick forests and beaches.
Trips are planned for May 19-24, June 16-21, July 21-26, Aug. 18-23, Sept. 15-20, Oct. 6-11 and Nov. 3-8. The price June 1 to Aug. 31 is 129,000 Icelandic kronur (about $1,600) and 99,000 kronur (about $1,240) from Sept. 1 to May 1 (a minimum of five people required). The price includes guides, six nights’ accommodations, meals and transportation.
The company also offers day trips, winter trips, climbing and mountaineering expeditions and training. More details at www.mountainguide.is/English.
Save in MoroccoFrom July 1 to 31, the five-star Octogone Terre Resort & Spa, located in a palm grove about two miles outside of Marrakech, Morocco, is offering rooms at a $1-to-1-euro rate, a savings of more than 35 percent.
This means, for example, that instead of paying 120 euros, or about $190, per night for the junior suite, you pay $120. Other prices include $240 for an executive suite, $320 for a romance suite or $400 for a princess suite.
The Morrocan-style hotel is set on 12 acres of land with three restaurants, spa, pool, a tennis course, fitness center and access to a golf course.
The hotel’s Web site is www.octogonehotels.com/terre Reservations also can be made at (480) 503-8022 or (800) 915-4012.
Best BetsBelgium: Not only does UNESCO protect sites, it also protects cultural heritage, including oral traditions, performing arts, festival and craftsmanship — things known as "intangible cultural heritage." Meeting this criteria is Sunday’s Doudou festival in Mons, an event dating back more than 700 years and named for a popular song played during the festivities.
At 9:30 a.m., a procession leaves the Collegiate Church of St. Waudru in honor of the saint who, in response to the townspeople’s prayers, is credited with stopping a 14th-century plague. At 12:30 p.m. on the main square, the Lumecon begins. This is a medieval game symbolizing good versus evil during which a mounted St. George slays the dragon.
The day ends with a parade of military music at 4:30 p.m. at the Stade Charles Tondreau.
England: Only certain areas of London’s City Hall are open to the public during the week. But this weekend you can see more of the rounded-glass building on the south bank of the Thames, which houses the city mayor offices, London Assembly and Greater London Authority.
According to the London government Web site, among those spaces to be opened are the chamber for meetings and debates; London’s Living Room, a top-floor walkway with panoramic views; and the spiral ramp/stairs that leads to the open-plan offices, the mayor’s conference room and views of the Thames and Tower of London.
The City Hall is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you miss this weekend, you also can visit June 14-15, July 5-6 and Aug. 2-3.
Details at www.london.gov.uk/gla/city_hall/index.jsp.
Germany: On Sunday, bikers, skaters, joggers and walkers can enjoy the beauty of the Rhine River on a 15-mile stretch of the B9 secondary road between Oppenheim and Worms during the annual Rhein-Radeln. The road will be closed to all cars with the towns along the way — Oppenheim, Dienheim, Ludwigshohe, Guntersblum, Alsheim and Mettenheim — offering refreshments and entertainment at rest stops.
The event is free and runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Two other traffic-free events also take place that day: Neuwied to Niederbieber in the Wied Valley and Schweich to Cochem along the Moselle River. A good link to traffic-free days is: www.upi-institut.de/upi37.htm.
— Jayne Traendly