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Posts Tagged "Germany"

Activity breaks to keep you fit

Activity breaks to keep you fit

It is about the middle of January that the New Year’s resolutions made are first broken then forgotten. Most common among the broken resolutions are those involving keeping fit, being more healthy or exercising more. Mid-January is also the time of year when we begin thinking about the where and what of our travel plans. Perhaps, for the reasons above, you are looking to be a little more active on your holiday. Alternatively you might be an active person looking for something a little different in an activity break. I have researched and discovered a few activity breaks that appealed to me and thought you might like to share them with me. Some are to far flung and unusual places and others are gentler and easier to get to. For those who hesitate to take an activity break fearing it…

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5 German Christmas Markets

5 German Christmas Markets

Here in Southampton we have a German Christmas Market. Across Britain there are numerous other cities with their own faux German Christmas Markets. Just like the ubiquitous Irish or British pubs you find abroad they are only a shadow of the real thing and are overwhelmingly kitsch. To really experience a Christmas Market of the German variety you need to visit…, yes, Germany. Deciding on which one to visit is a task I hope I will be able to help with. There are so many German Christmas Markets it is hard to make a choice. In this post I have picked a few that may whet your appetite and point you in the right direction. In many cases the German cities with the best markets are also easily accessible from Britain by a choice of airlines and a few such as…

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European city breaks by rail

European city breaks by rail

In the plane vs train stakes the train often wins hands down, or should that be wheels down, when it comes to total travel time from city centre to city centre. For journeys beginning in London this only applies to the cities nearest to the Channel Tunnel. Places like Brussels, Paris, and Amsterdam immediately come to mind. However, Cologne, Strasbourg and Lyon can be reached in little more than it would take to fly there. When the issue of comfort, no baggage fees or restrictions (within reason), high speed city centre to city centre journeys are taken into account travel by train becomes a far more inviting option. I have travelled on the high-speed Eurostar, TGV, ICE and Thalys trains across some of the European network and have chosen 6 cities worth considering for a rail break. Paris and Brussels are Eurostar destinations…

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7 Christmas Markets to visit

7 Christmas Markets to visit

It is the time of year when we begin thinking about a short break to one of the many Christmas markets across Britain and Europe. I have chosen seven Christmas market experiences to consider from the many that are available. Choose one of these and you will not be disappointed Winchester When we think of Christmas markets we usually think of other parts of Europe but we have some very atmospheric ones in the UK. One of my favourites is the one in the shadow of the magnificent Winchester Cathedral. Once the capital of England and home to Alfred the Great it is a very atmospheric city at Christmas time. The Market surrounds an ice rink in the Cathedral’s Inner Close. There are a great many arts and crafts mostly from the UK in the wooden chalets huddled in the…

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Cafe Review: Chocolat Grand Cafe

Cafe Review: Chocolat Grand Cafe

Chocolate Week sadly has come to an end for another year. So to ease the pain I thought it might be an idea if I wrote about something chocolatey. I could have written about Brugges, Brussels or Biarritz, all famous for their chocolate. Bordeaux could be on the list too as it was the port where cocoa from the French colonies was brought into France and where several chocolatiers have plied their trade for decades. Switzerland might well have featured too. I decided however, to opt for Cologne instead and the Chocolat Grand Cafe. Usually when I review a cafe it is the coffee I go in for. This was not the case on my visit to Cologne though. The museum is located in a modern complex that tastefully incorporates two of the old buildings on the wharf beside the…

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Romantic Cologne

Romantic Cologne

This post originally appeared last year. It has been re-posted here with some changes to ensure it is up to date. The most romantic spot in Cologne is Europe’s busiest railway bridge.The bridge which takes suburban, regional and high speed ICE trains across the Rhine from Cologne’s busy hauptbahnhof has become the de riguer spot for lovers. Thousands of padlocks engraved with messages of love are fastened to the railings that separate the pedestrian walkway from the tracks. Lovers lock their padlock to the fence as a sign of their undying love for each other and then toss the key into the Rhine below. When the state railway Bundesbahn indicated that they wanted to remove the padlocks public opinion forced them to backtrack. Now the bridge is festooned with tens of thousands of padlocks. Walking from Cologne’s iconic cathedral across the bridge…

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Berlin: A tale of two coffee bars

Berlin: A tale of two coffee bars

I had about 12 hours to spend in Berlin between arriving from Wittenberg and flying out  to London. Having visited Berlin on a couple of occasions recently and taken in most of the iconic sights I set myself the task to check out the local coffee scene. Berlin’s coffee bars came highly recommended from resident blogger Yvonne Zagermann of justtravelous.com. Armed with the recently acquired iPhone app Beanhunter, which gives the location of coffee shops near your location, I headed out of Berlin Hauptbahnof in search of coffee and some of the lesser known sights. Beanhunter indicated there were 16 coffee bars in Berlin (and one in Sydney, Australia called Cafe Berlin). I picked just two. Oliv, Munzstrasse 8, 10178 Berlin Oliv has a modern interior with walls that reminded me of the brutal concrete architecture of the 1960s. Plenty of…

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