Also known as Veste Coburg, this is one of the largest surviving medieval fortresses in Germany. With panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, the castle is a tank of a building. Besides its hilltop location, there are an impressive three layers of defensive walls and numerous watchtowers. It is both a military masterpiece, art gallery and historical attraction as the one-time refuge of the German icon, Martin Luther.
Father's day in Germany is the chance for men to act like boys, beer to be drunk by the Maß (liter) and for responsibility to take a vacation. Germany's Vatertag (also known as Männertag or Herrentag) is on May 29th this year, and men will be off imbibing on a pub tours (Männerrunde), exploring the city's biergartens and getting traveling by beer bike. However you celebrate, abide by the laws and drink lost of water. You only have 3 days to recover from the epic tangent that is "Men's Day".
Karl-Marx-Allee is one of Berlin's most important boulevards and a walk or bike ride along it reveals almost 2 miles (3 km) of extraordinary history. Walk between Alexanderplatz and Frankfurter Tor and discover the top sites from GDR history.
A visit to one of Ritter Sport's workshops provides the chance to design your own customized chocolate bar! On a recent visit to the shop in Berlin, we experimented with gold stars, raspberry and red peppercorn in the quest for the perfect chocolate. While we weren't altogether successful, we did consume our fill of choco knowledge and products. Visit the shop in Berlin, Waldenbuch or the pop-up shop in Hamburg to try your hand at being Willy Wonka.
I recently heard about a discount airfare option for the adventurous in Germany and am tempted. Have you ever booked a flight without knowing where you'll end up? Find out how to make a blind airfare booking for just 33 euros and a few tricks to get your top pick.
Rundfunk der DDR (Radio of the GDR) was once the size of a bustling small city, but almost fell into complete disuse. Recently revitalized, the studio is now open for tours and recording time and has served performers as varied as A-ha to Sting to the Black Eyed Peas. Take a look at the Bauhaus details, massive performance halls and authentic Milchbar (Milkbar) with beers and bites from the 1950s.
The Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial was not even marked on maps - it was that secret. While the DDR was in power, this prison complex was where people simply vanished.
Today, over 2 million visitors have toured the site that inspired the confession scenes of "The Lives of Others" (Das Leben der Anderen). Former inmates who opened the memorial act as guides and a dark corner of East Berlin's history is exposed to the light.
Get the details on how you can visit Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen in my latest post.
If you weren't raised in Europe, you have probably never heard of the Eurovision Song Contest. I certainly had no idea what I was getting into when I sat down to watch my first show. And oh my, what a show.
Eurovision can be described as a singing competition on steroids where competitors represent their nation in an Olympic throw-down of talent. Prepare to be amazed as the semi-finals happen this week with the big finale on Saturday, May 10th. Find out how you can watch and vote in "What is Eurovision?"
How exactly do you celebrate this bizarre Mexican/American holiday in the land of sausage and bier? And should you even try?
Find out more about this Mexican holiday adopted by Americans and celebrated by expats in Germany. Connect with other Cinco de Mayo fans in Germany, share info on the best Mexican restaurants and learn how to cook some quasi-authentic Mexican food my latest post, Cinco de Mayo in Germany.
May is full of festivals and the first day of the month starts it all off with a bang. Labor Day (Tag der Arbeit) is a national holiday in Germany with wildly different celebrations in the North and the South. Discover the differences in the new posts:
- May Day in Berlin - Labor issues have whipped Berliners into a frenzied Erster Mai (May 1st) since the 1920s. Celebrate peaceably - or not - at MyFest.
- May Day in Bavaria - In Germany's picturesque south, the villages of Bavaria erect a flowery Maypole (Maibaum) to welcome warmer weather (Frühling). The Maibaum and its set-up are an important point in Bavarian towns' spring traditions.