April 29, 2017

Six Reasons to Visit Badenweiler Germany

I love reading and enjoy books that whisk me off to wonderful places in Europe. If you’re like me, you’ve spent hours traveling through European cities in books like The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, London and Russka by Edward Rutherford or even Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know how much I love visiting Germany. So it was with great glee I purchased the book Badenweiler Waltz by SW Kroeker which is a book about a young woman diagnosed with a fatal disease who decides to spend her last days in Badenweiler Germany and also maybe find a cure in the spa village. While the book wasn’t a barn burner, I did enjoy visiting this small village in the Black Forest through the eyes of Elizabeth Kurz, the main character.

 

Panorama over Badenweiler Germany Black Forest

Panorama over Badenweiler by Wladyslaw wikipedia

I was enchanted by the people and sights she found in Badenweiler and decided to discover more about the village.

 

Here are six reasons I’d visit Badenweiler Germany!


  1. Badenweiler is a spa resort known for its curative treatments for tuberculosis, arthritis, osteoporosis and other cardiovascular diseases. Along with the main character in the book, the spa has been attracting the ill for a long time including Anton Chekhov who spent his last days here. The city’s spa, Cassiopeia Therme, is set in a wonderful garden which helps make the spa a great place to rejuvenate your body!

    Spa at Badenweiler Germany

    Spa at Badenweiler Germany by Jayjay P, on Flickr

  2. Wandering the streets of Badenweiler Germany visitors will find ruins of a Roman Bath and Castle plus a church which stands on the grounds of an ancient Roman temple. Today St. Paul’s Church is an example of neo-Romanesque architecture but its grounds have been sacred for many decades dating back to Roman times. The well preserved Roman Baths were discovered in 1784 and can be explored while the ruins of Baden castle, first mentioned in 1122, loom over the village and offer breathtaking views.

    Vestiges Roman Baths Badenweiler Germany Black Forest

    Vestiges Roman Baths Badenweiler Germany by Wernain S. wikimedia

  3. The Black Forest is a great place to hike and Badenweiler is no exception! There are short day hikes surrounding Badenweiler which bring you to wonderful forests in a very short time. If you’d like longer hikes, these can be found too.

    St Pauls Church Badenweiler Germany Black Forest

    St. Pauls Church from wikimedia

  4. The rolling hills surrounding Badenweiler are full of vineyards where visitors can explore wines of the region. You could opt to enjoy a hike through some of the vineyards or even a lovely bike ride. The orchards and vineyards in the area can also be explored by driving the Baden Wine Route
    Aerial view of Badenweiler Germany in the Black Forest
    Aerial view of Badenweiler Germany courtesy of Badenweiler spas and Touirstik GmbH / Erich Meyer
  5. Badenweiler is in a great location to not only explore more of the Black Forest but also neighboring countries. A quick 17 mile drive will bring you to Basel Switzerland and an even shorter 7 mile drive finds you arriving at the French border ready to explore the amazing vineyards and villages in the Alsace region Badenweiler is also only 19 miles from Freiburg Germany another quaint and wonderful city in the Black Forest.

    View over Badenweiler Germany Black Forest

    View over Badenweiler by Wenain S. wikimedia

  6. This enchanting village is known as a sanctuary for relaxation. Adding to the dream like feel of Badenweiler is the warm weather the area is known for. In fact, you may find that you come under the spell of Badenweiler and succumb to the most wonderful German tradition – Kaffee und Kuchen each afternoon!

 

What books have inspired you to learn more about a destination?

Wandering Freiburg

The wonderful picturesque town of Freiburg am Breisgau in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany has an honored location as the gateway to the Black Forest. The university town dates back to 1120 and is full of charm, culture, museums and great restaurants.  Freiburg is a wine center of the Rhine Valley and its historic old town has born witness to the varied history of the region.View from Tower Frieburg Germany

The best way of seeing Freiburg is by wandering the streets in the pedestrian friendly old town.  On this walk you’ll pass canals where medieval fisherman, tanners and other guild members once practiced their professions.  You’ll also have the chance to meet the people that helped shape Freiburg in the many statues honoring them.Along Canal in Freiburg Germany

Yes it is through the medieval facades, squares and streets where we meet the real Freiburg and since, in my opinion,  walking is the best way to experience Freiburg I’m sharing a few of the wonderful things I saw while wandering the streets its streets.

Let’s start in and around Rathausplatz where you will find not one but two Rathaus’ (Town Halls).  The Old Town Hall sits to the right of the New Town Hall and is now home to the Tourist Information office.   Both Town Halls were made by combining older homes – the Old in 1557 and New in 1896.  The New Town Hall was the original site of the university dating back to 1457. Most of the remaining parts of the square are taken up by a former Franciscan Monastery including its church which was built in approximately 1300. You will also notice a statue erected in 1853 honoring Berthold Schwarz, the inventor of gun powder and one of my guides during my stay in Freiburg!

Insel Area Freiburg GermanyMore Insel Area Freiburg Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you keep wandering Freiburg you will come upon many beautiful streets and buildings.  Konviktstrasse and the Insel area are two of the most beautiful and picturesque in the city. I loved them both and could spend hours just wandering.  As you’re wandering make sure to slow down to take notice of all the detail on the buildings!  If all your walking has made you thirsty a stop at the Roten Bären (Red Bear) may be needed.  This is Germany’s oldest pub and has been continuously serving since 1387.
Konvictstrasse Freiburg Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Historiches Kaufhaus or Historic Merchant Hall is one of the many beautiful buildings lining the Munsterplatz.  Dating back to 1520, merchants and officials governed and traded at this location during Medieval times.  Look closely and you will see sculptures of Hapsburg emperors. The Minster dominates Munsterplatz and should not be missed.  The Medieval Minster was completed in 1513 after 300 long years of construction.  Besides all the statues, gargoyles and relics found in the Minster, there is also a 381 foot high spire where you will be rewarded with wonderful views after climbing the many many stairs to top!Historiches Kaufhaus Freiburg Germany

As you have seen Freiburg is a beautiful city! There is much more to Freiburg and over the next few weeks we will explore more of this medieval beauty.Looking down from Minster Tower Freiburg Germany

If you haven’t seen enough pictures of Freiburg Germany, visit our Facebook page where you will find more!

 

This is my entry for Carnival of Europe hosted by DJ Yabis at Dream Euro Trip!  Take a look at all the wonderful European entries.

 

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people with the Freiburg Tourist Office!  If you need more information on Freiburg, please visit their websites.

A Little Friday Fun in Freiburg Germany

Welcome to Sunny Freiburg! Freiburg is the sunniest and warmest city in Germany, right?

Well not today!!

It rained. . . make that poured!More Rainy Freiburg Germany

So what to do when the weather isn’t cooperating?  This is what I did!

What would be better than soup on a cold blustery day? Not much. The beer was pretty good too 🙂Beer and Soup in Freiburg Germany

Then there was the famous grilled sausage with onions. I was told I had to have this and I always follow orders!Freiburg Sausage and onions in Freiburg Germany

I topped off the afternoon with a little cake and coffee. Hey I’m in Freiburg so I had to go with the Schwartzwald Kirsche Kuchen, right??!Cake and Coffee in Freiburg Germany

I really didn’t eat my way through Freiburg but those stories will have to wait till later. I’m on my way out to taste a little wine 🙂

 

What do you do when weather interferes with your travels?

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people with the Freiburg Tourist Office!

 

 

I’m Off to Explore Historic Germany!

I’m not indecisive but I have a hard time naming my favorite European travel destination, it just feels wrong to all the other wonderful places I’ve visited.  But if pressed, I would name Germany as my favorite destination in Europe and by that I would actually mean Bavaria.

Even though I’m bewitched with Bavaria, I’ve been feeling the need (and desire) to spread my wings and discover more of  Germany.  Now I’m being given the chance to explore more of the Historic Highlights of Germany!

Beginning Thursday morning, I’ll be spending 12 days criss crossing Germany.  Once again I’ll be using the very efficient German rail system to get me north, south, east and west in this Central European country.  Get ready for a fast paced trip in the land of my fore-fathers!

Freiburg Minster Germany

Freiburg Minster by Joachim Messerschmidt Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

First off will be a wonderful excursion in the heart of a German wine region and the gateway to the Black Forest, Freiburg. Known as the sunniest and warmest city in Germany, Freiburg also boasts a lovely medieval center, inviting cafes and taverns and a varied history that is all wrapped up in a laid back atmosphere!

Mainz Town Hall Germany

Mainz Town Hall by Rainer Kiedrowski Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

After exploring Freiburg, I’ll be whisked by Deutsche Bahn up to Mainz who sits alongside the lovely Rhine river.  I’ve been to Mainz before but there is much more to this city than I previously explored including Chagall blue stained glass windows, a Gutenberg printing press, Roman ruins and wine!

Erfurt Cathedral & St Severus Church Erfurt Germany

Erfurt Cathedral & St Severus Church by Toma Babovic Thuringer Tourismus

Then I’ll be going east to Erfurt where Martin Luther studied and lived.  This city of towers and spires has enough churches to be called “The Rome of Thuringia.”  Erfurt is home to one of the best preserved medieval Old Towns around and Europe’s longest inhabited bridge!

Sanssouci Palace Potsdam Germany

Sanssouci Palace Potsdam by Torsten Kruger Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

Continuing east, my next stop will be Potsdam.  You know how much I love palaces and castles; well Potsdam is home to some of the most beautiful and famous castles and palaces!  Add in the amazing history and I am excited to visit this city!

Old Quarter Rostock Germany

Old Quarter Rostock by Joachim Messerschmidt

Next, I’ll be zipping up north to the Baltic Coast where I’ll spend time exploring Rostock!  Ever since I wrote “Off the Beaten Path in Rostock Germany” I have wanted to see the unique brick architecture and now I’ll get to!  I’ve never been to the northern coast of Germany so one of my goals is putting my tootsies in the Baltic!

Wiesbaden Fountain Germany

Wiesbaden Fountain by Torsten Druger Deutsche Zentrale fur Tourismus

The last leg of my trip takes me south to Wiesbaden where I’ll spend my last few days.  As I mentioned in “Wiesbaden- Worth A Second Look?I’ve spent a short amount of time here but now I will get that second look!  So I’m looking forward to wandering this elegant spa town enjoying its architecture, museums, shopping, and Viennese style cafes.  Maybe there will also be more wine in my future 🙂

Keep reading, as I’ll be sharing all my adventures with you all!  Follow along using the #exploregermany hashtag or watch our Facebook page!

By the way, I’m not cheating on you Bavaria, just seeing more of your wonderful country.  I’m sure I’ll be back but for now I’m off to explore different corners.  I hope you understand. .  .

 

Let me know any “must sees” I shouldn’t miss while in Germany!

 

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to all the sponsors!

 

Picking a Favorite

Do you ever get asked what your favorite destination in Europe is?

I do.  People ask me regularly what my favorite place is and as I’m about to reply I start thinking what about location A or what about location B?  It’s kind of like asking me to pick my favorite child!

Berchtesgaden Bavaria Germany by Eric Sorenson

Berchtesgaden Germany by Eric Sorenson

I could easily say my favorite place in Europe is Bavaria. I find myself drawn to this part of Germany time and time again.  But by picking Bavaria, what does that say about all the other wonderful places I’ve been?  I mean who couldn’t love the French Basque region? Or Normandy? Or what about InnsbruckLast summer I visited Innsbruck and fell in love. So just because I haven’t spent as much time there means it’s not my favorite?  How do I know it wouldn’t become my favorite if I spent more time there?

 

View of Innsbruck Austria

View of Innsbruck Austria by Leo-setä, on Flickr

And by picking a favorite, where does that leave all the places I dream about visiting? Dordogne, Croatia, Costa Brava and Black Forest are just a few of the places I long to visit.  Will one of these replace my current favorite?

Dordogne river france

Dordogne by Jos Dielis, on Flickr

What makes you label a place as your favorite? Is it the people?  The food?  The scenery? Or is it a sense of peace you get just by being there?  Like love, no words need to be spoken you are just filled with an overwhelming sense of comfort.  Just like an old pair of shoes, this special place fits you like a glove.

Peaceful Lautersee Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Peaceful Lautersee above Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

If I’m honest, that is exactly how I feel when I visit southern Bavaria. I love the people, the food, the scenery and the ambiance.   It just seems to fit me like a glove and makes me feel warm and comfortable.  This part of Bavaria is also a sentimental favorite since I spent most of my time here during my very first European trip.  So . . .

Grounds of Linderhof Castle Bavaria Germany

Grounds of Linderhof

If I asked you right now to name your favorite place in Europe, what would it be?

Decision Time: France or German?!?

At this point in my life, for better or worse, my travels are limited to vacations throughout the year.  Much to my chagrin, my “job” dictates the time I have for travel.  We all saw in my post title Bucket List – European Style, I have quite a few items on my list of European dreams so this year I will cross at least one off the list.

Loire Valley France Wildflower

Wildflowers 1 by celesteh, on Flickr

 

In looking at our calendars for the year, we only have 10 – 14 days for our “vacation”.  In talking, the hubby and I really want something a bit on the active side and have boiled it down to two options: either bike riding in the Loire Valley with some time at either end spent in Paris OR hiking in the Black Forest combined with driving, hiking and/or biking in the Alsace Wine region.

Upper Black Forest Views Germany

Upper Black Forest by GNTB: DZT/Honeck

Oooh even as I am reading my choices I get excited and unable to pick one!

Colmar Alsace Region France

Colmar Alsace Region by Calips

Neither of us has been to the Loire Valley and would really enjoy spending time riding along the river, stopping for wine, enjoying a picnic lunch in some idyllic spot, seeing castles, learning about the history, visiting the small French villages. . .  Plus it has been a couple years since I’ve been to Paris and there are some sights I have not visited and more I’d like to revisit.

Blois Park Loire Valley France

Blois Park by celesteh, on Flickr

Germany is one of my favorite places and one that pulls at my heart and always calls to me, so why should this year be any different? Wanderin ohne Gepack (Hiking without Luggage) has been something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.  Add in cuckoo clocks, tradition, farm houses, lakes, forests, beautiful villages, history, great food, wine, beer and schnapps; well  you’ve created something that is just plain hard to resist! After all that,  we would cross into France and spend a few days wandering through more small, beautiful villages sampling Alsatian wine and  maybe even spend a day or so riding bikes or walking through the vineyards!

Black Forest Germany Tradition

Black Forest Tradition from Baden-Württemberg, Tourismus Marketing GmbH

So my dilemma is deciding which option to enjoy this year? 

Azay Le Rideau Loire Valley France

Azay Le Rideau by Ranvig

I’ve got more work to do and will share what I discover about each region that leads us to make this decision.  Until then, tell us. . .

 

How you decide where to visit on your vacation?

Europe’s River – The Danube

Dunav.  Donau.  Duna.  Dunarea.  Dunaj.  Dunai.  Danube.

Ah the Danube.  From its beginning deep in the Black Forest of Germany to its outlet at the Black Sea, the Danube has inspired people without end.   Along with the other great rivers of the world, the Danube links together many countries and, in fact, ties together the European continent.

Traversing through 10 countries, the Danube provides millions of people with food, drinking water, power, and fun.

Bratislava. by stefanweihs, on Flickr

Bratislava by stefanweihs, on Flickr

The Danube flows over 1,770 miles and runs through 4 European capital cities – Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade – more than any other river in the world.

belgrade by scropy, on Flickr

Belgrade by scropy, on Flickr

Traveling the Danube will take you through hills, wild canyons, forests, National parks, farmland, historic cities and more.

There are many ways to enjoy the Danube.  One of which is viewing it from a great vantage point with a  glass of wine but other options include:

  • Take a scenic cruise on the Danube from Melk to Krems or vice-versa.  During your cruise you will float by beautiful Baroque abbeys, medieval castles, the Wachau Valley a UNESCO World Heritage Site, vineyards climbing the hills along the river, and 1,000 year old villages.  I will be enjoying this cruise this summer during my visit to Austria.

    Wachau Valley Austria

    Wachau Valley Austria by jay8085, on Flickr

  • The National park, Derdap, is located in eastern Serbia on the border of Romania.  In this park you will find natural beauty and archeological sites dating back 8,000 years.  In the park is the Djerdap Gorge or better known as the Iron Gate.  A narrowing river and rising cliffs make for impressive views.

    Danube Iron Gorge Serbia

    Danube Iron Gate from wikipedia

  • Visit Great War Island in Belgrade.  Belgrade is home to the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers and this is where you will find Great War Island.  Of strategic importance to Belgrade, at least since 1521 when the Turks attacked, today you will find over 196 species of birds along with local flora and fauna.  Great War Island is a great place to find a piece of nature that has awesome views of the city too!
  • A wildlife lover’s paradise can be found in the Danube Delta.  Another UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, the delta is 2,200 square miles of rivers, canals, marshes, islands and lakes.  Days can be spent just bird watching.  Cormorants and white tailed eagles are included in the over 300 bird species inhabiting this area.  Other animals can be found too including fox, wolves, deer and fish.

    Danube Delta by katesheets, on Flickr

    Danube Delta by katesheets, on Flickr

  • There are 250 miles of bike paths from Passau (Germany) to Vienna (Austria).  The Danube Bike Way runs parallel to the river on both sides.  There are many bridges or ferries along the way so you can cross from side to side.  In medieval times this trail was used by horses that would pull barges or ships traveling on the river.  You can stop along the way for a night or two enjoying some of the many small villages.

Although the Danube is no longer blue, it was forever immortalized in Johann Strauss’ waltz “An der Schonen, blauen Donau”  (On the Beautiful Danube).  If you listen carefully, I bet you can hear it now!

 

Have you spent time on the Danube?

Tell me about your experience. . .

Fabulous Friday – Gengenbach Calling!

A couple months ago I told you that pictures talk to me in a post titled Hallstatt Calling.  Today I am being called by another town – Gengenbach!

Gengenbach is a wonderful town in the Black Forest area of Germany and has been described as “a pearl among the cities of the half-timbered houses.”

As you will see, this bucolic village is a site for sore eyes.

Aldstadt Gengenbach Black Forest Germany

According to the Gengenbach tourist office “History breathes from every street, where the past meets the present: the preservation of traditions and customs is a responsibility its inhabitants readily and lovingly embrace.”

Indeed, Gengenbach has been around quite awhile.  The first settlement dates back to 73 AD and the town hall was built in 1784!

Gate in Gengenbach Black Forest Germany

Tradition is king here.

Christmas Market Gengenbach Black Forest Germany

There are many festivals held each year and the surroundings teem with fresh produce, rivers full of trout and vineyards.

Folk Costume parade Gengenbach Black Forest Germany

Yes there are culinary traditions to be had in Gengenbach accompanied with a variety of locally produced wine.

Schnaps Gengenbach Black Forest Germany

Gengenbach is surrounded by valleys, hills, lakes and rivers making this area a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts.

Deer Farm Gengenbach Black Forest Germany

After looking at these photographs provided by the Gengenbach Tourist Bureau, tell me Gengenbach isn’t calling you too?


 

 

Springtime Yearnings

I guess the winter cold has got me longing for the warm sun and outdoor activities because all I want to do is get outside and be active! This has got me thinking about 4 activities that have been on my list for awhile.

Wanderin ohne Gepack (or Hiking without luggage) in the Black Forest

The Black Forest has long been an area of Germany that I want to visit.  This land is full of rolling green hills, waterfalls, cuckoo clocks and farms.  Wanderin ohne Gepack sounds like a great way to really see the sights all while being active. 

Walking in the Black Forest Germany

Walking in the Black Forest by Haxxah and KraZug, on Flickr

You can choose to spend a week or more hiking or shorten it to 3 or 4 days.   Each days hike is only about 12-17 miles and all you carry is a little bag because the hotel sends your luggage to your next night’s lodging!  All of the trails are well marked and safe to hike plus there are restaurants and farm houses along the way for refreshments.  Once you arrive at your accommodations, you can sit and enjoy beer or wine and then a wonderful dinner before sleeping in preparation for the next day’s journey.   Sounds wunderbar to me!

Beer and Biking through Bavaria’s Land of Beer

This ride is probably a stretch for me but it still sounds like great fun!  What could be better than experiencing wonderfully romantic towns full of history, drinking beer, exploring another amazingly picturesque town (Bamberg) where almost the entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, drinking more beer, riding along the river Regnitz river, drinking more beer . . . Ummmm, I think you get my drift!

Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Bamberg Town Hall from Bayern Tourismus

Just because some of these rides are 112 km (approximately 70 miles) and I’m not a bike rider, that shouldn’t deter me – should it?  I would definitely need to break these up into smaller sections but I am so up for it!  What an adventure.

Wine and Biking along the Moselle River in Germany

So I had to throw in a ride that included wine just so you would know that I am an equal opportunity drinker! 

Scene on Moselle River Germany

Moselle River Germany

The Moselle is a very beautiful river in Germany that branches off the Rhine in Koblenz.  This area, from Koblenz to Trier, is full of Roman history and many, many charming villages and vineyards.  You could spend a week or just 3-4 days riding along the river.  The villages are close enough together that the daily rides are between 12-24 miles each.  Don’t forget to drink some German wine!

Village along the Moselle in Germany

Village along the Moselle in Germany

Canoeing on the Dordogne River

The Dordogne Valley in France has been on my radar for quite a few years and I want to spend at least one day of my visit floating down the Dordogne River.  This area is full of castles and villages made of stone.  There are also the prehistoric caves, medieval castles and Roman ruins. 

Village along Dordogne River France

Dordogne by Jos Dielis, on Flickr

The Dordogne is a wide and slow moving river which makes it a great way to see the incredible scenery and enjoy a picnic during your journey.  If a picnic isn’t for you, then stop at one of the many villages for lunch or snack.  Make sure you taste some of the amazing red wines from the region!

Gorges de la Dordogne River France

Gorges de la Dordogne by OliBac, on Flickr

Are you longing for spring?  Have you enjoyed any of these active journeys? 

 Tell me about it. . .