5 Belgian Towns That Are Well-Worth Visiting

Dominating the town square, Aalst’s belfry is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Belgium is dotted with beautiful historic towns, many of them dating back all the way to the Middle Ages and even beyond. Although cities like Brussels , Bruges  and Antwerp are certainly destinations that should not be skipped, visiting some smaller and less-known Belgian towns is absolutely worth your time as well. Let’s take a look at five of those towns, all chock-full with historic ... Read Full Article

Discovering Berlin’s Bohemian Rixdorf

Welcome Sign to Richardplatz in Rixdorf

 It’s one of those crisp, grim Berlin days, the kind that makes you feel like you’ve walked into a refrigerator as soon as you leave the front door. I’ve decided to take a walk down Sonnenallee (sun alley) in the Neukolln neighbourhood, a busy strip lined with Turkish doner restaurants, Arabic groceries and Internet cafes. One of the last things you’d expect to run into at this point is an ... Read Full Article

A Fast Guide to Berlin’s Rapidly Transforming Neighborhoods

Landwherkenal, Kreuzberg

Of all Europe’s capitals, Berlin is one of the most geographically unique in that it doesn’t have much of a city ‘centre’. In its day, cutting the city down the line, the Berlin Wall created two separate hubs, depriving the reunified modern capital of an organic ‘downtown’. While a ‘centre’ has developed since the reunification years (in the form of the ‘Mitte’ district) it is arguably within the ... Read Full Article

Chocoholics Unite in Cologne, Germany!

You are spoilt for choices at the Cologne Chocolate Museum

Lovely pastel colored buildings and quaint cobblestone streets greet you as you pull into the charming city of Cologne, Germany on an AmaWaterways cruise of the beautiful Rhine River. Although Cologne may look like it dates from medieval times, much of the city was destroyed during WWII and restoration began in the late 1940’s. The famous twin-spired Cologne Cathedral, which took six ... Read Full Article

Luxury Hotel Barge Cruising on France’s Beautiful Burgundy Canal

Cruising on La Belle Epoque

I pedal leisurely along the towpath beside the Burgundy Canal, past neat rows of old oaks, maples, and poplars that form a tall, shady green cathedral along the flanks of the shallow canal. My bicycle’s tires crunch on the white limestone. Coming to a lock I stand on a small stone bridge that crosses over the canal. I’m waiting for La Belle Époque — the luxury hotel Barge that will be my home for ... Read Full Article

The Crazy Days! ‘Carnival’ All Over Europe

Carnival in Venice

The ritual of ‘Carnival’ has been a prominent institution of cultural life since well beyond the days of antiquity—Ancient Greeks and Romans honoured deities Dionysus and Bacchus with wine feasts and orgies; Germanic Tribes chased wild winter spirits during the smoky nights of the ‘Rauchnachte’; Christians continued on with festivities of their own, with countless offshoots of festive tradition ... Read Full Article

Spa Hopping and Beer Tasting in Germany’s Black Forest

Klaus-Peter shows us his office overlooking bairesbronn

The Romans had a terrible time marching through the dark masses of spruce, pine, and fir in the aptly named Black Forest. They said it was impenetrable and inhabited by wild beasts and barbarians. And sensibly they—like their fierce predecessors the Celts—seldom ventured far into its depths. But today, I’m pleased to report that although 81% of the Black Forest area is still covered with ... Read Full Article

Seligenstadt: SW Germany’s Undiscovered Gem

the small square turret on the second floor corner is decorated with two crests and elaborate acorn and leaf friezes. two faces and torsos are carved into its corners

Now and then, travel writers in Europe stumble across a unique place that has somehow remained undiscovered by the teeming tourist masses. So it was with my random visit to the small, perfectly preserved medieval town of Seligenstadt. Lying only 25 kilometers southeast of Frankfurt am Main, this intriguing town—with a population of only 20,000—packs more sights into a small area than you might ... Read Full Article

A Christmas Market River Cruise on the Viking Baldur

The Vienna Christmas Market set in front of the Vienna City Hall

My husband Bill and I were invited to take a cruise with Viking River Cruises and decided that a Christmas Market Cruise on the Danube could be a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. Our 7 day cruise started in Passau, Germany and ended in Budapest, Hungary. This was our first river cruise on Viking. A few weeks before the trip, our documents arrived along with our full itinerary, ... Read Full Article

Koblenz: Another Jewel in Germany’s Crown

The Munzplatz. Enticing aromas of pastries and coffee waft past my nose

Tucked into the ‘V’ where the arms of the Mosel and Rhine Rivers meet, the small town of Koblenz is yet another undiscovered German gem that packs plenty of touristic punch for its weight. Koblenz offers enough well preserved historic attractions to keep tourists entertained for a day or two of solid sightseeing. And for aficionados of all things medieval and renaissance, the historic part of town ... Read Full Article