Oktoberfest: Bavaria’s Excuse to Party Large

Prost to Oktoberfest

Welcome to Oktoberfest! Imagine it: 460,000 roast chickens. 400,000 sausages. 70,000 pork knuckles. 116 oxen. Dirndls, lederhosen, gingerbread cookies, oompah bands, beer chants and pretzels, and heaving breasts as far as the eye can see. Six and a half million people drinking nearly 7 million litres of beer. This year, the Opening Ceremony officially kicked off at noon  when the ... Read Full Article

Neuschwanstein: The Secrets of Bavaria’s Fairy-tale Castle

Perhaps it’s best to visit Neuschwanstein knowing nothing of its history or the reason why it was built. Europe’s most famous castle is set in an impossibly perfect location – striking green hills rising to snow topped peaks to the south, descending into rich green fields and blue sapphire lakes to the north. The forests spread out down from the hills and obscure all but the tallest of the ... Read Full Article

King Ludwig’s Herrenchiemsee Castle in Bavaria

On a picture-book, sunny Sunday in early September, I was on my way to visit Ludwig II’s castle, Herreninsel, located on an island in Lake Chiemsee in the south of Bavaria, Germany. To get there, I boarded the Ludwig Fessler, the only paddleboat which runs as a ferry from Prien to the Herreninsel. The Ludwig Fessler is the flagship of the ferry company and does not run very often. It is mostly the ... Read Full Article

Pottery and Schnaps on Fraueninsel Island, Germany

You never know what treasures you might find when you travel off the beaten path in Bavaria. I was strolling around the quaint folklore museum in Prien am Chiemsee when I came upon a particularly beautiful and elaborate stove covered with tiles. As I was the only visitor at the time, the curator was happy to walk around with me. “This,” she said, “is a masterpiece from a pottery on the ... Read Full Article

Ofenwerk Summerfest and South Historic Car Rally

Nürnberg (Nurenberg) is a classic German city in the Franconian region of Bavaria. With a claim of a special bratwurst all it’s own, a host of fascinating museums and historic sites, Nürnberg has enough to fill any traveler’s itinerary. But each summer a special event gives insight not only into German traditions but also English, Italian and even American ones. It’s the Ofenwerk Sommerfest ... Read Full Article

Germany’s Picturesque Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Town hall in Picturesque Rothenburg

A few towns and castles in Germany vie for the title of Most Suitable Setting for a Fantasy Novel, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber just might take the crown with its combination of working fairy-tale  homes, alive-yet-dormant fortifications and its location on the hillside overlooking a wildflower-bespeckled valley and the sparkling Tauber River. When I was a kid, I took two trips here with my ... Read Full Article

Garmisch Partenkirchen on the Romantic Road

  I went to Garmisch Partenkirchen the first time with my father, a soldier in the US Army, and we spent a week wandering around the old market square of Partenkirchen and gazing up at the snowy peaks beyond Garmisch. The small, alpine twin-city on the romantic road in Germany was merged for the 1936 Olympics and after that one event, people from all over Continental Europe showed up to ... Read Full Article

Germany’s Beautiful Würzburg Residenz

Imperial Hall at the Residenz

  The charming Bavarian city of Würzburg is worth exploring for many reasons, but its most famous tourist attraction is the Residenz, an impressive Baroque palace nearly unrivaled in the country. The Residenz greatly captures the elaborate lifestyles of its inhabitants during the 18th Century as well as serves as an exceptional example of German Baroque architecture. Prince Bishop ... Read Full Article

Exploring the Museums of Nürnberg, Germany

Durer self-portrait

  The city of Nürnberg is considered to be the cultural capital of Franconia, a distinct region in the German state of Bavaria. While many tourists visit the city to frequent the Christmas market or have their photograph taken in front of the Schöner Brunnen fountain while turning the golden ring for luck, some of the best places to tour are any of the many museums. From historic houses to ... Read Full Article

European Beer: Tipple Across Europe on St. Paddy’s Day

In time for another of Europe’s favourite days for a tipple of beer - St. Patrick’s Day - here is a guide to five countries where you’ll get a history lesson with every pint (don’t worry, you won’t be quizzed). When you think European beverages, you probably conjure up French wine, Italian Limoncello, Russian vodka, or maybe Greek ouzo if you’re adventurous. European beer, although always a ... Read Full Article