Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg is the one major city in Germany that I have yet to visit. It is Germany’s second largest city, situated in the north-western portion of the country. Hamburg is over 1,200 years old and is loved for both its contemporary scene as well as its historical offerings. Hamburg is called “the green city on the water” due to its many spacious lawns and parks that are near the waterfront. The green of Hamburg gives its visitors many opportunities to relax, rest and play. Stadtpark (the city park) is the playing field for the whole city of Hamburg and the Planten un Blomen lets visitors enjoy its old Botanical gardens and tropical greenhouses. The central portion of the city is located on the Elbe River and has Europe’s biggest port, offering its visitors the opportunity to partake in various harbor cruises. The harbor also has 20 old-time ships docked in Neumuehlen in which visitors are allowed to tour each ship’s inside.
In addition to its waterfront and parks, the city has an elegant and cosmopolitan side. Hamburg is a city of lavish office buildings, international museums, extravagant promenades, and up-scale shopping malls. Hamburg is considered to be the most important musical city in the world behind New York and London. The city’s theaters offer something for everyone, ranging from ballets and operas to modern musicals and rock concerts. St. Pauli is area known as the melting pot of Hamburg with its diverse influences in trends and styles. The area was formerly known for its sex shops and prostitutes but, has recently been converted into the number pleasure-mile in Hamburg with tons of clubs, discos, pubs, bars, and cafes. Hamburg is a German city where the work boredom is unknown because it has a tremendous amount of offerings for every person's taste and pleasure.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Spa Resorts in Germany

Turn off your cell phone, close your eyes and simply relax. Let yourself fall into a realm where your senses are alive to every smell, sound, and touch. Your room looks out onto the beautiful landscapes that surround you like the Mecklenburg Lakeland or the mountains of the Black Forest. Every glimpse you take of your surroundings is adequate enough to instantly relieve any tensions that may still persist after your massage or hot bath.
Germany is a great country to visit to simply relax. My German relatives frequently go to spas in order to get away from the normal stresses in life and let nature take its course. Germany is a country that is home to over 300 modern health centers to help every vacationer relax and unwind. One can choose from more than 50 climatic health resorts, 48 seaside health resorts, 62 Kniepp hydrotherapy resorts and over 160 mineral spas and mud spas as well as a whole range of hotels offering wellness centers. All of these resorts are sure to cater to every individual’s relaxation, fitness, and well-being.

Germany’s climatic health resorts offer its visitors a breath of fresh air with natural surroundings where the air is pure. These resorts are the ideal place for long walks and cycling tours along the countryside to improve a person’s stamina training. The smell of the sea alone is enough to calm the senses of those who choose to visit a seaside health resort. The seaside climate, sea water, sea mud and seaweed are major therapeutic ingredients that will make ones complexion clearer and hair healthier. The North Sea and the Baltic are the perfect location to rest on the beach. Kneipp hydrotherapy resorts focus on five major principles: hydrotherapy, herbal therapy, healthy nutrition, exercise and discipline. This therapy is a holistic method that believes fresh water at various temperatures is enough to transform an individual’s human health. Germany’s mineral and mud spas provide a place where one is well and truly pampered. These spas offer a variety of sports, dietary and beauty programs for every individuals need. A visit to one of Germany's many spas and resorts is sure to make any vacationers relaxation dreams come true.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Berlin, The Capital

In 1994, I was fortunate enough to visit Berlin with my family. I remember seeing portions of the wall still intact throughout the city, but knew little about the Cold War efforts that brought about the separation of the city into East and West. It’s hard to imagine how a wall can separate a city into two parts for more than 28 years. Only four years prior to my visit, this wall still stood in its place until it was mostly torn down in 1990, as Communism collapsed and the Cold War ended. Berlin was once less than half a city to many and now it has twice the appeal as most other Continental capitals.
Berlin is the largest city in Germany and is situated in northeastern portion of the country. It is known for never standing still and its ability to constantly evolve. Even though the wall is gone, Berlin is still considered to be divided among its inhabitants by the glitz of the West and the shabbiness of the East. Berlin is still thought of as a fascinating city year-round to visit with its richness in culture, atmosphere and history. The capital city has numerous attractions for its visitors to see, such as:
The Brandenburg Gate
-A triumph arch and the symbol of Berlin, Germany
-Built in 1791 as a sign of peace under Friedrich Wilhelm II
-The gate is located on Pariser Platz which led directly to the former royal residence
-The largest prison and death camp in Eastern Germany under the Nazi regime
-Currently houses a museum that documents the tragic history of the two totalitarian regimes
The Potsdamer Platz
-One of the busiest traffic center in Europe, attracting 70,000 people a day
-The area houses Daimler-Benz, Sony’s European headquarters, and various prestigious businesses and law firms
-It has a top shopping area, three movie theaters with more than 40 screens, a film academy and a film museum
The Juedisches (Jewish) Museum
-The largest Jewish museum in Europe
-It celebrates the achievements of German Jews and their contribution to culture, art, science, and other fields
The Reichstag (Parliament) Building
-The building opened in 1894 and housed the Reichstag until 1933; it later became the seat of the German Bundestag (Parliament) in 1999 after its architectural reconstruction
-Most visited attraction in Berlin, gives an impressive view over the city
A New Wall
-A partial wall constructed by the German government as a memorial to those who suffered during the time of the Berlin Wall
-It stretches for 70 meters (230 ft) along Bernauer Strasse (street) and Achkerstrasse

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Skiing in the German Alps

Skilaufen (skiing) is a favorite winter hobby of mine and I have always wanted to ski down the powdery slopes of the German Alps. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, the Alps is the name for one of the great mountain ranges in Europe, it stretches from Austria and Slovenia in the east, through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west. The German Alps are situated in the southern portion of Bavaria, near the country’s Austrian border. Garmisch Partenkirsche at the foot of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, and Oberstdorf not far from Lake Constance, are Germany’s two main international ski and snowboarding centers that offer high altitudes, a variety of slopes, and host international downhill, ski jumping and cross country competitions. The Black Forest is another favorite among winter sport enthusiasts. The skiing season in these areas kicks off in late November and ends sometime in April.
  • Garmisch Partenkirchen
  • lies in the middle of the Bavarian Alps, an hour drive south of Munich. In 1936 it was the site of the Winter Olympic Games. The area is a favorite spot for skiing, snowboarding and hiking, with some of the best skiing areas in Germany. All this and much more are available in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which sits before the wonderful sight of the Zugspitze and its surrounding mountains that rise nearly 3,000 meters high. Whether you are a beginner or a racing expert, you are sure to find your favorite ski slope. There are a total of 118 kms (73 miles) of downhill runs of all difficulty levels, including the world famous "Kandahar", Germany’s only downhill run with a World Cup License.

  • Oberstdorf
  • is situated in the beautiful Allgau region of southern Germany. The town is conveniently located between Munich, Stuttgart and Lake Constance. The German ski resort of Oberstdorf is one of smaller skiing areas in Germany, but still offers 44km of downhill slopes above 2000 meters high. It is also known for having Germany’s longest downhill slope, at 7.5 km (4.65 miles) long. The area is especially good for intermediate to expert skiers, while beginners are severely cautioned. Oberstdorf consists of two ski areas, the Fellhorn and Kanzelwand, which are located 8 km outside of the town. These skiing areas are known for their “Zweilaender” (two countries) chairlifts because they can lead you to either German or Austrian trails. Oberstdorf is known for being one of the most extensive and challenging ski areas in Germany as well as a rival of Garmisch Partenkirchen.

  • The Schwarzwald
  • (black forest) is located in the wooded mountain ranges of Baden-Wuerttemberg, in the southwestern portion of Germany. The Black Forest is typically known for its wooded surroundings, Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake), and the traditional cuckoo-clocks they sell. However, carefree hiking and stimulating winter scenery are ranked as favorites of those who visit the Black Forest, making it a cradle for skiing. The oldest ski club in Germany dating back to 1895 still exists in the area today. The area offer 100 km of hiking and skiing to its visitors.
    A winter spent in Germany offers its visitors plenty of opportunities to take advantage of, especially those who enjoy the outdoors and hitting the slopes.