On Christmas Eve morning my sister and I would awaken to find a large bed sheet covering the entrance to our living room. “No peeking” my mother would say. “You want Christkind to come, don’t you?” Not wanting to risk losing out on presents, we’d try and occupy ourselves with play—that was tough to do when we were bursting with excited anticipation. According to my parents, the angels were working their magic in preparation for the arrival of Christkind (Christ Child), the bearer of Christmas presents.Continue reading
I’d been steamed, cleaned, brushed and creamed. My nakedness no longer fazed me as an attendant led me to a door for Step 16. He stopped, solemnly turned to me and put his index finger to his lips. What happened on the other side was the apex of an extraordinary experience.
This article was published in Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper. You can continue reading there, or keep going here. I have included photos in the blog post (not mine except for exterior photo) to help convey the grandeur of the place. Continue reading
“You have no reservations!” exclaims the friendly women at the Neustadt an der Weinstraße tourist information centre. “You realize that Germany’s largest wine festivals are taking place along the Deutsche Weinstraße (German Wine Road) right now. There’s a giant parade here in Neustadt on the weekend for the crowning of Germany’s Wine Queen.” She sees the overwhelmed looks on our faces, arms us with information and brochures and gently recommends that we head to the town square where we can figure out what to do over a nice kaffee und kuchen. Continue reading
After a rest day in the wonderful city of Trier, our cycling journey continues along the Saar River Radweg (bike path) in southwestern Germany’s Saarland. We ride the 115 km leg from Trier to Saarbrücken over two days. Saarland has had an interesting history, jumping back and forth between French and German rule four times since World War I. While this region can’t compete with the Mosel or Rhine for fairytale charm, it has some unique and unexpected highlights. And, unlike the riding along the Rhine and Mosel, we have the Saar bike path to ourselves. Continue reading
I’ve had lots of questions about how we went about planning and executing our recent Germany cycling trip. Well, this post will answer those questions. This was our first overseas do-it-yourself (DIY) cycle tour, and while I think we did a darn good job, I don’t claim to be an expert. My recommendations are based on our experiences along the Rhine and Mosel cycle routes in mid-late September. They are geared to fairly easy-going, non-camping trips that are heavy on sightseeing and enjoying local food and drink. Please take a look at my posts on the Rhine Cycle Route and Mosel Cycle Route for descriptions of these gorgeous rides. Continue reading
It’s not a place that’s on the itineraries of many visitors to Germany. Google top tourist attractions in Germany, and Trier is often absent or way down the list. Berlin has the cool factor, Munich has Oktoberfest, and Heidelberg oozes romantic charm. Perhaps it’s a branding issue. Trier’s unique features should place it much higher on Germany’s must-see lists, especially for history buffs. During our cycle trip, we spent a “rest day” in Trier and discovered a city with remarkable history, incredible monuments and laid-back joie de vivre. Here are some of the amazing things we learned about Trier. Continue reading
We call it the fairy-tale route. The Mosel Cycle Route meanders past some of Germany’s prettiest landscapes, best wine regions, cutest towns and most impressive castles. As the crow flies, it’s only 95 km between Koblenz and Trier, two of Germany’s oldest and most charming cities. But traveling along the cycle path more than doubles the distance as the route hugs every swan-graced curve of the Mosel. This is a very good thing. Most of the roughly 200 km journey is like being in a feel-good Disney film with a really fine wine by our side. Continue reading