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July 17, 2012

#FriendsTravel Germany Wine Tours JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Filed under: Germany — germanywithfriendstravel @ 10:51 pm

Welcome to the Ahr wine-making region, renowned for its red wines

The Ahr river twists and turns its way through a rocky landscape where lush vineyards cling to the bare stone. The ancient Romans appreciated the favourable climate of this wild, romantic valley, and were the first to cultivate grapes there. As well as pinot noir, the queen of the red grapes, the region’s specialities include the equally prized, early-ripening pinot madeleine. Great effort is required to product top wines on the steep slopes above the Ahr river, but it is more than repaid by the high quality of the wines.

The Baden region produces top-quality wines

Baden is a remarkable wine region. Shielded by the Odenwald hills and the Black Forest on one side and the Vosges mountains on the other, it enjoys the sunniest and warmest climate in Germany, with temperatures that are almost mediterranean. This balmy climate and fertile soil have given rise to some of the best vineyards in Europe. Outstanding wines, delicious food and a warm welcome are the hallmarks of the Baden experience. The region is a magnet for those with refined tastes.

The Franconian wine region: tradition with a modern twist

Franconia – a very special fusion of medieval towns and villages, scenic beauty and an almost mediterranean climate with a centuries-old tradition of wine making and people who fully appreciate all that the region has to offer. Würzburg wines from Franconia were Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s favourite tipple. At the same time, Franconia is the embodiment of a 21st century wine region with wines that win international awards and cutting-edge wine-making facilities.

The Hessische Bergstrasse wine region: quality not quantity

It was probably the Romans who first introduced vines to the strata montana, but the earliest records of viticulture in the Bergstrasse region are from the 8th century and relate to Lorsch Imperial Abbey. In 1971, Hessische Bergstrasse became an independent wine-growing region and today it is the smallest of Germany’s 13 wine regions. It consists of two separate geographical areas: Starkenburg, south of Darmstadt , comprises the towns of Alsbach, Zwingenberg, Bensheim and Heppenheim, while the ‘Odenwald wine island’ is the area in and around Gross-Umstadt and Rossdorf.

The Middle Rhine wine region: viticulture as world heritage

For the 120 kilometres between Bingen and Bonn , steep vineyard slopes join castles, glorious residences and the famous Loreley rock as the river twists and turns through a landscape steeped in history. The Siebengebirge hills and the Loreley divide the region into two distinct areas in terms of wine classification. The southern section, the Upper Middle Rhine Valley between Koblenz and Bingen, was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2002 for its outstanding, vineyard-sculpted countryside. Ample motivation for the growers to continue their sterling work on the steep, vine-clad hillsides.

The Moselle wine region: riesling at its best

The Moselle, Saar and Ruwer rivers twist and turn in narrow loops through countryside where the Celts and Romans first cultivated wine 2,000 years ago. As a wine region, the Moselle is the oldest in Germany and the largest with vines on steep slopes. Terraced hillsides and precipitous slopes, which face either south or south-west, create beneficial microclimates for wine grapes but also rare plants and animals. The sublime rieslings grown in these conditions in the Moselle, Saar and Ruwer vineyards rank among the finest white wines in the world with their wonderful mineral notes.

The Nahe wine region: a real gem

Lush greenery, romantic river valleys and dramatic rock formations are what lend the Nahe region in south-west Germany its distinctive character. Its mild climate ensures that grapes ripen early and develop a pleasing acidity. The 130km Nahe Wine Route links wine-growing villages, castles and natural beauty such as the Rotenfels rock face and the Trollbachtal Valley. The Edelschliff showcases what this region can do: a fine riesling, chosen by a jury, is presented in a designer bottle decorated with a gemstone from Idar-Oberstein.

The Palatinate wine region: top for riesling

The easiest and most breathtaking way to explore the Palatinate wine region is along the German Wine Route . Geared towards visitors, the scenic route links numerous towns and villages associated with wine between Bockenheim in the north and Schweigen on the French border. It is the oldest route of its kind in the world, and cycle and walking trail versions of the German Wine Route allow you to explore the vineyards between the Palatinate Forest and the Rhine on foot or by bike.

The Rheingau wine region: pure zest for life

The main grape varieties grown in the Rheingau are riesling and pinot noir. The Rheingau has a long tradition of wine-making, started by the abbeys many centuries ago. This reputation opened the doors to all the big stately homes for the Rheingau wineries as suppliers of premium vintages. The Rheingau also enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide as the home of the Centre for Viticulture and Oenology in Geisenheim.

The Rheinhessen wine region: innovation at the highest level

Germany’s largest wine-growing region, Rheinhessen is a welcoming and hospitable region on the Rhine. Everyone is amazed by what is being achieved in the triangular region between Mainz , Worms and Bingen, where a group of young vintners with great enthusiasm for wine, self-confidence, incredible dynamism and a great feel for fine wines is at work. Buzzing networks such as ‘Message in a bottle’ or associations such as ‘Grosses Gewächs Rheinhessen’, ‘Selection Rheinhessen’, ‘Ecovin’ and ‘Wein vom Roten Hang’ provide innovation, while Mainz and Rheinhessen represent Germany in the Great Wine Capitals international club.

The Saale-Unstrut wine region: charming and beautiful

The Saale-Unstrut quality wine region is characterised by unspoilt countryside swathed in vineyards, steep terraces, centuries-old dry-stone walls and romantic vineyard huts. The beauty of the river valleys and the landscape of terraced vineyards evokes an enchanting mediterranean charm. With its pleasant climate, specific soil type and yield regulations, and the experienced hands of its winegrowers, the region produces distinctive wines of the highest quality.

The Saxony wine region: one-off wines

Wines from Saxony are known as rare gems because the Saxony wine region is the most north-easterly and one of the smallest in Europe. People have been producing wine here on the river Elbe for 850 years. Special features include the vineyards divided into small plots that are cultivated by more than 3,000 small independent growers. Saxony has a broad range of grape varieties – including gold riesling which is only grown here. The majority of Saxony wines are drunk locally, a rarity in Germany.

The Württemberg wine region: many shades of red

The majority (80 per cent) of Württemberg’s wines are red, making it the biggest producer of red wine in Germany. A large part (71 per cent) of the area under vine is situated on slopes or steep hillsides, some of which have a 20 per cent gradient, making them more difficult to cultivate. Württemberg is characterised by a particularly broad range of grape varieties and is one of the few places where lemberger and trollinger are grown. Many of the new varieties that have become important to German wine-growing such as dornfelder come from Württemberg.

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Germany, more than beer. JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

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February 10, 2011

#FriendsTravel Germany Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Germany
(Photo: Thinkstock/Hemera)

Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Germany

Love can sometimes feel like a fairy tale, and there’s no better place to have a happy ending than in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The medieval town is located along the Romantic Road and is considered the best preserved city in Germany, with architecture dating back to the 12th century. You and your sweetheart can walk along the wall that encircles the charming half-timbered town, visit the year-round Christmas Village, or climb to the top of the Rothenburg Town Hall Tower for views of the surrounding countryside. Couples can also enjoy the many shops, restaurants, and guided tours available within the walls.

You can find all kinds of accommodations in Rothenburg from B&Bs to fine hotels, let us help you with your choice.

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June 30, 2010

#FriendsTravel Germany Bavaria Avanti Destinations JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Bavaria — by Avanti Destinations

June 28th, 2010 . by John Frenaye

Bavaria is Germany’s biggest state with an area of 27,000 square miles accounting for about a fifth of Germany’s total area.It’s in Germany’s south-eastern quarter and has a population of about 12.5 million people.

Munich is the capital city of Bavaria and is the third largest city in Germany.  Munich was the host city of the 1972 Summer Olympics and is a candidate city for the 2018 Winter Olympics. There’s much more to Bavaria, Germany than just the capital city.

The region begs to be explored and there are ten other cities most definitely worth a visit–each complete with an ornate castle, palace, or city hall, or sometimes all three!

Top 10 Cities In Bavaria

1. Nuremberg

German kings liked to build their palaces in Nuremberg, once the unofficial seat  of the Holy Roman Empire. Nuremberg’s Hauptplatz comes alive with Germany’s most  famous Christmas market in December. Locally made foods include Lebkuchen and the  Nürnberger Bratwurst. Explore the medieval Old Town (Altstadt), framed by city  walls and the glorious Imperial Castle (Kaiserburg). Then pay a visit to the  Reichsparteigelände, a massive open area where the infamous Nazi Nuremberg  Rallies of the 1930s were held.

2. AugsburgBavariaistock

Germany’s second-oldest city, Augsburg, lies roughly halfway down the Romantic  Road touring route. It came to prominence in the Middle-Ages under the lights of  Jakob “the Rich” Fugger, a worldwide baron in global banking and trading. Most of  Augsburg’s landmark buildings are the work of architect Ellias Holl. Chief among  them is the  monumental Town Hall (Rathaus) and its showpiece Golden Hall  (Goldener Saal). Another top attraction is the Fuggerei, the world’s oldest  social housing settlement.

3. Würzburg

Würzburg is a bustling university town on Bavaria’s northern border. Although  over 90 percent of the city was destroyed in World War II it has since been  lovingly restored. The city sits along the river Main and is the center of the  famous Franconia wine region. Würzburg’s premier residence is a baroque palace  aptly named the Residenz.

4. Regensburg

If you can picture an idyllic life in the Middle Ages, undoubtedly you would be in  Regensburg where the center of the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It sits  at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, the former straddled by the  humpbacked Stone Bridge. It’s one of the most-loved cities in Bavaria and an easy day-trip from Munich.Take a cruise along the river or explore the Old Town with its maze of intertwined alleys centered around the twin-spires of St. Peter’s Cathedral.

Bavariaistock (1)

5. Ingolstadt

Another age-old Danube city, Ingolstadt has some history from the tragic to the mysterious and to the futuristic. It was the birthplace of author Mary  Shelly’s, who brought a creature to life with her character Victor Frankenstein. Secondly, it was the birthplace of the real secret society known as the Illuminati, meaning “Enlightened”, which some theorize work a shadowy hand on the world’s governments and big business. Finally, Ingostadt is the headquarters of the Audi, the luxury car company–a factory tour is well worth it if you don’t pick up a car to take home with you.

6. Fürth

Fürth is often overlooked by visitors in favor of its big brother city, Nuremburg, given that the two are only a stone’s throw apart. Fürth was a totally separate entity for much of its 1000+ year history and boasts a flavor all of its own. Don’t miss the grand municipal theater (Stadtheater) and the  Jewish Museum. Little known fact: Fürth once had the biggest Jewish population in southern Germany.

JESS Kalinowsky
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7. Erlangen

Another city close to Nuremburg, Erlangen is best known for the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg–a college town with broad, tree-lined streets. Major sites to see include Erlangen Castle which today houses the university administration, and the botanical gardens.Erlangen’s annual Bergkirchweih is a 12-day mini-Oktoberfest that takes place around Pentecost in May or June. Erlangen is one of the more overlooked larger cities in Bavaria.

8. Bayreuth

Bayreuth is best known as the home of composer Richard Wagner, an artist worshiped by King Ludwig II and Hitler alike. The temple to Wagner’s works is the Bayreuth Festspielhaus and is the site of an annual showcase of the composer’s operas. Also worth a look is the expansive New Castle with an enviable collection of porcelain. But all in all, this is a top destination for classical music buffs.

9. BambergBavariaistock (2)

One of the most stunning smaller cities in Bavaria, Bamberg is often called the “Franconian Rome” for its seven-hills. It also has a similarity to Italy’s Venice with a network of canals and streams complete with tourist laden gondolas. A stroll up through the old town, past the town hall island to the magnificent  cathedral and Neue Residenz will have even the most jaded travelers craning their necks in awe. And before leaving town, be sure to have a taste of their famous Rauchbier (a beer) which is a hearty ale with a bit of a bacon flavor–sounds gross, but it very good!

10. Aschaffenburg

They don’t call this town the “Bavarian Nice” for nothing. Replete with Mediterranean gardens, long alleys and a sunny climate perfect for tropical plants. Aschaffenburg is tucked away in the area’s northwestern corner and is a short trip to Frankfurt. As far as Bavaria goes, it is probably the most remote city of the region. Things to see here include the Schloss Johannisburg castle and the Pompejanum, a replica of a Pompeian palazzo built for King Ludwig I.

JESS Kalinowsky
Professional Travel Consultant
JESS@FriendsTravel.com
AVANTI@FriendsTravel.com
GERMANY@FriendsTravel.com

July 15, 2009

#FriendsTravel Germany Bavaria JESS Kalinowsky JESS@Friends Travel.com

Filed under: Uncategorized — germanywithfriendstravel @ 11:47 pm

Breathtaking Bavaria

Exciting Destinations

As the plane pierced through the Munich skyline on a clear spring morning, I found myself struck by contrasts. Only here do mountains lie in such perfect proximity to cityscape. The snow-capped Alps gently bow to red roofs, domes, and spires amidst an odd handful of skyscrapers. The following six days of travel would reveal how such contrasts – between old and new, between untouched and man-made – shine through in perfect coexistence. Beyond the city lights and its towering monoliths of both modern times and antiquity, one can find countryside a stone’s throw away. Folkloric palaces, decadent Baroque churches, cavernous beer halls, and storybook cottages adorned with hand-carved wood and whimsical pastel colors, stand nestled in brilliantly green, fog-laden hills. Outside of Bavaria, one would be hard-pressed to think of many such places where stunning natural beauty lies alongside human progress so gracefully.

Beyond the mere aesthetics of surroundings, although the most obviously captivating feature, it is the people of Bavaria that truly make you fall in love with the place. Curious, warm, and eager to laugh, they greet you with a hearty Gruß Gott! (Good Day!). For every town or city visited, wonderful German guides met us as cultural ambassadors, each seeking not only to reveal the landmark sights and sounds of the area, but also to share his or her own unique tales. My most poignant such experience occurred the day we arrived in Schwangau, situated between mountains, crystal lakes, and the castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.

After a day meandering inside the walls of these drafty, mysterious giants, complete with the anecdotes of our eccentric guide/hostess, Erih, we prepared for an evening excursion by bus to the alpine hut Saloberalm in Alatsee. Standing lakeside at the bottom of a steep, unpaved road whose top knew no visible definition, the twelve of us (now joined by Erih’s husband Renne and their border collie) began boarding the shuttle when Erih stated decidedly that she would rather hike it. Renne and the pooch agreed. Not to be outdone by a woman over twice my age, my silly pride made me say “Hell, me too.” “You’re crazy,” exclaimed a colleague as the bus took off in a cloud of dust.

We walked and walked, sneaking glimpses over the glass-smooth waters of Lake Alat through the occasional breaks in the tree line. Renne began unfolding the local legend of two sisters who were eternally spellbound to the lake many centuries ago, and that the only thing that could break the curse was the kiss of a young man. “But nobody has or will because–” he continued as we hung silently on the words of this woeful story, only to pause, now out of breath and starting to giggle uncontrollably, “they are too ugly!” We all burst into unexpected laughter, timed perfectly with our summit of the trail, where we stood looking over unimpeded pink and silver mountains under a radiant, darkening sky. Behind us was the alpine hut, housed on a pristine piece of farmland, a mere 20 feet from the German-Austrian border.

Exhausted but exhilarated, we were greeted by steins of beer and the congratulatory applause of those who had taken the less strenuous way up. “oh and, by the way, that’s Switzerland over there,” Erih pointed. Musing over how only the day before I had been basking in a markedly different, urban experience, and now standing casually in the wild at the merging of three countries, it occurred to me that this place was magical.

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July 27, 2008

#FriendsTravel Germany Castle Gardens JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Germany’s Castle Gardens with FriendsTravel.com

I have had a chance to wander through some of Germany’s castles and their gardens. The only problem was that I visited as snow was falling. Now spring has sprung and the gardens are coming to life again.

This handful of castles and their gardens is only a beginning to scores of German palaces and castles surrounded by spectacular botanical grounds.

Germany’s castle gardens are spectacular and represent a vast diversity of styles including French baroque and English landscape. The historical gardens in Germany are clustered geographically usually associated with the culture of one of the great German dynasties. Great for visitors: Almost all of German’s best gardens open early and are mostly free of payment.

Only one hour south of Berlin, the Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by Prince Franz of Anhalt- Dessau in the 18th century, its incredible English landscaping, palaces and sculptures make this a worldly gem. The larger lake and channels make the Garden Realm an exceptional example of landscape design and planning from the Age of the Enlightenment.

Sanssoucci, in Potsdam close to Berlin, is since the 18th century the former summer palace and garden of Prussia’s King Frederick the Great. It is renown for its palaces and Schinkel buildings and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The baroque garden, which had gone out of fashion in the meantime, was redesigned in the style of a landscape park under Frederick the Great’s successors and was expanded by Frederick William IV with famous structures such as Charlottenhof Castle, the Orangery and the Roman Baths created famous architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s.

Situated on both sides of the German and Polish border, the garden landscape of Bad Muskau Park is a special gem of eastern Germany and recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, a nobleman, travel writer and landscape gardener designed this garden and park in the beginning of the 19th century, one of the most beautiful in the world. Covering an area of around 830 hectares Muskauer Park is made up of a number of smaller parks. All have different features depending on which side of the border they lie on. Pückler based the gardens around his stately castle on the English Regency style common in the early 19th century.

The famous Royal Gardens, built in the 17th century, in the district of Herrenhausen in Hannover have various styles. The most important styles and genres of landscape design are authentically represented here: the baroque garden in the French style, the English landscaped garden and the botanical garden. There is also the historic grotto, where the arches have been transformed into a unique artwork by artist Niki de Saint Phalle. Every year there is a fantastic fireworks competition.

The spa town of Bad Kissingen, in northern Bavaria, is amass with blooms. For centuries the town has been a getaway for famous guests such as Prussia’s chancellor Otto von Bismarck. In the 20,000 square mile Kurgarten the visitor can see flower arrangements that change continuously. The 35 year old linden trees that border the footpaths add to the symmetry of the park. The Luitpoldpark is an “English style” landscape garden with wonderful lawns. Native and exotic, young saplings and 100 year old trees give this spacious park plenty of elegance and flair. The Rose Garden does not just have sweet smelling roses to offer, a magnificent fan shaped fountain is proudly situated in the center.
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JESS Kalinowsky, Managing Partner, FriendsTravel, was stationed in Germany while in the Military. Jess was ‘bit by the wanderlust bug’ while serving his country. He started going to cities and towns in Germany, then branched out to adjacent countries to Germany, and one by one eventually entered into a love affair with Europe! Jess has been to every ‘Eastern European’ and ‘Western European’ Country. Jess has been to 133 countries around the world, and counting!

 

 

#FriendsTravel Germany Castle Resorts JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Germany’s Castle Resorts with FriendsTravel.com

After living in Germany for a half-dozen years I will never forget the dramatic castles rising on mountain tops, presiding over riverbends and tucked between majestic mountains. Many of these castles have been restored and turned into luxury hotels that can fill any medieval or royal fantasy.

These luxury castle hotel resorts allow visitors to experience pure luxury and enjoy fantastic spas, great cuisine, preserved nature, spectacular views and, at some noble residences, first class golf courses. The German National Tourist Office provided this list of a handful of castle resorts than can get any wannabe king or queen started on a regal vacation. There are more spread throughout the country waiting to be discovered.

Situated in the beautiful Alps, 3300 feet above sea level in a secluded alpine hideaway of magical beauty lies Castle Elmau. A stay here is a sensuous experience combining nature, luxurious spas, high culture and modern architecture for spa aficionados, gourmets, families and global nomads. Relax in spacious rooms, suites, lounges offering the luxury of diversity, space and privacy. Revitalize in four luxury spas and enjoy sophisticated cultural soirees. Some of the Alps’ best skiing slopes and a challenging golf course are just minutes away from the castle.

In the middle of Germany close to Frankfurt, luxury, royal tradition and history is combined at the Castle Kronberg. The Castle Hotel Kronberg was built in the year 1889 by Empress Victoria, Queen Victoria’s daughter and wife of Friedrich II. Empress Victoria lived in the castle until 1901 and made this place a center of hospitality with her charm and her liberal attitude. This magnificent spirit is preserved until today and gives the Castle Hotel Kronberg its unusual atmosphere. No matter if you want to have a unique meeting, wedding or just enjoy your leisure time, this castle hotel is an appropriate location for any occasion.

Another historic villa provides a luxurious and interesting overnight. The historical Villa Rothschild, also near Frankfurt, was built for the financier Wilhelm Carl von Rothschild. Since 1949 it has been called the “birth place of the Federal Republic” because of the meetings held that led to the foundation of the GFR after World War II. Villa Rothschild continues to be a popular meeting place in the 21st century. With 22 rooms, three function rooms and one Michelin star decorated gourmet restaurant, this castle is one of the most fascinating places in the Taunus region with a breathtaking view of the River Main.

Far north on the Baltic Sea, not far from Berlin, at Castle HotelTeschow you can enjoy a game of golf, spa treatments, cuisine and an unrivaled way of life at one of the most beautiful golf-and wellness hotels in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. On an area of 288 acres including a castle park and a golf course, this hotel offers you an extraordinary ensemble of adventure and recreation of golf and pleasure. Enjoy the gorgeous landscape at the Lake District right next to Lake Teterow. With four restaurants Teschow is also a culinary highlight offering high class Mediterranean, French and Thai cuisine.

Also in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania just one hour away from Berlin, the luxurious Castle Fleesensee is surrounded by the charming landscape of the Lake District and the Mueritz National Park. Today’s Radisson SAS Resort Schloss Fleesensee was built in 1842 and known as the “Bluecher Castle,” after the Prussian general who beat Napoleon. This outstanding castle combines traditional and historic style with modern classiness. Fleesensee’s 184 rooms and suites within both the historic part and the elegant newly built side wings offer guests the perfect surroundings for a wonderful vacation. After playing one of the three 18-hole or two 9-hole golf courses in “Land Fleesensee,” horse riding or cycling, you can relax at the “Golden Spa.”

These are only the tip of Germany’s castle hotel and resort iceberg. FriendsTravel will provide scores of other castle hotels throughout the country. Some nestled along riverbanks and others in spreading park lands. And as long as the royal inclination is intact, head out to other castle hotels across Europe. Britain and Ireland are replete with castles and palaces. Portugal has a series of Pousadas and Spain has a complete collection of restored castles in their acclaimed Parador system.
EMAIL Germany@FriendsTravel.com for your Germany Vacation, German Rail Pass, Europe Rail Pass, Germany air travel reservations, Germany’s hotels, resorts, and famous Spas.

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Germany with Friends Travel JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

#FriendsTravel Germany JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Filed under: Germany — germanywithfriendstravel @ 11:09 pm

#FriendsTravel Germany JESS Kalinowsky JESS@FriendsTravel.com

Germany Tours, River Cruises, Hotels, and Resorts JESS@FriendsTravel.com

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