Like most destinations, tourism in Germany is so much more than ticking off the major sights. Venture almost anywhere off the beaten track with a pair of hiking boots or a bicycle (preferably both!) and you are pretty much guaranteed a holiday or short break to remember.
You see, we had no particular reason for choosing the Ahrtal, in Rhineland Pfalz, as the destination for a short camping holiday. Sure, it was only a few hours away from our home in Luxembourg, we hadn’t been there before, and it seemed to have a few half-decent campsites, but this could also be said for perhaps a dozen other regions of Germany. However, I had read some good things about the local cycle path, so we rather spontaneously set up camp in the buzzing town of Altenahr, pumped up the bike tyres, and got ready to explore.
(Spoiler: It was WONDERFUL!)
Continue reading “Cycling with kids in the Ahrtal, Germany”
This is going to sound familiar…
Once upon a time, a kind and beautiful princess lived in a handsome castle in Germany. Her mother died when she was still a girl, and her father remarried shortly afterwards. But the stepmother was a vain and manipulative woman, favouring her own children over her adopted stepdaughter. Inevitably, the relationship snapped; the princess fled away from her family, over great hills and through deep forests. Eventually she settled and lived in exile in a community of dwarfs working in the local mines.
The princess (well, Baroness, technically…) was Maria Sophia Margaretha Catherina von Erthal. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? But you have almost certainly recognised her already as “Schneewittchen” from the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale: or, in English…
Continue reading “Lohr am Main – The Snow White town”
A spontaneous camping trip to a quiet corner of Haute-Marne, Champagne allowed us to discover castles, gardens, a magnificent church… and a ridiculously quirky museum.
It’s an architectural masterpiece, widely considered one of the most important National Trust properties in the UK AND its extensive grounds have been designated as an “Area of Special Scientific Interest”. We discovered that Castle Coole in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, is a rather special place indeed.
Not many tourists know this, but access to the Giant’s Causeway is absolutely free of charge. Here’s how we skipped the crowds and enjoyed the very best of Northern Ireland’s natural masterpiece… for the price of a bus ticket.
Travel isn’t about ticking off beautiful places; it’s about gaining new experiences, stepping outside your everyday world and seeing things from a different perspective. So for my village-reared country kids, Mannheim was a source of wonder and amazement.
In the mid- 1950s, an entire photo exhibition went “viral”. And it is still going strong today, permanently displayed in a handsome castle in Luxembourg. So what did my kids make of it?