Posts Tagged With: Best cities to visit in Germany

Visiting Baden-Baden: A dreamy blast from the past

For the audio-story, please click here

Was that Queen Victoria of England just having a casual giggle while meandering along the gently flowing Oos-river?  That can´t be right…or can it? You rub your eyes incredulously. Maybe that coffee wasn´t such a good idea after all if it makes one of the most influential women in history suddenly appear out of thin air. What´s more: If you peer really hard into the distance, you can spot Dostoyewsky´s silhouette just at the end of the street, heading into the majestic Casino. What the hell? You try to shake it off – what are these shenanigans, you ask yourself quietly and slightly nerve-wracked,  just to turn to your left and find Tolstoy writing away on a napkin, right at the round elegant table next to yours. The great Tolstoy! Maybe you could quickly ask him a thing or two about War and Peace, or Anna Karenina? There´s gotta be some secrets to his magic writing sauce! How else could he come up with such meaningful phrases like

“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”
― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Entschuldigen Sie bitte?” (Excuse me please?) You slowly register a gentle voice with a quietly determined undertone. “Mmh?” you reply, only gradually coming back to yourself. You must have dozed off, that must be it, you tell yourself decidedly while glancing wide-eyed at the elegantly dressed waitress. “Entschuldigen Sie, aber wir schließen jetzt!” (Excuse me, but we are closing now!) , she explains slightly apologetic. “Ok, ok, kein Problem” (No problem) is all you can muster to say, while picking up your coat and purse and leaving a few coins Trinkgeld, tipps, on the black-and-white patterned table. “Bye Tolstoy”, you whisper ever so quietly and step out onto the imposing alleys of everyone´s favorite 19th-century German spa town. Well, maybe not everyone´s, but sophisticated Baden-Baden had its fair share of admirers among the rich and famous of the nineteenth century.

A spa-town like no other: Healing baths, cultural haven

Having been settled by the Romans, Baden-Baden had to brave a lot of obstacles throughout its history-  yeah, the school of hard knocks named life, you know what I mean. People go through it, cities go through it, countries go through it. And animals. Maybe even ants? Anyway, there´s a time for everything, so at the end of the 18th century, it was finally Baden-Baden´s time to shine, and what a shine it was, ladies and gentlemen! Baden Baden was truly the stuff stories were made of back then. Elegant, rejuvenating, luxurious stories, that is!

The spa-town in south-western Germany, located only 10 kilometers from the border with la belle France, was and still is famed for its mild climate, its pristine air, and its high acclaimed thermal springs. Baden Baden, a name which translates to bathing bathing (no surprises there) takes great pride in its illustrious list of visitors. Want some gossip? Good old out-of-this-world novelist, essayist, journalist and philosopher Dostoyewsky wrote his masterpiece The Gambler here…while gambling his money away at the town´s notorious casino. Maybe he was just doing some research? A writer/journalist gotta know what he´s writing about, after all! Other famous visitors who chose to vacation in bathing bathing include German composer Johannes Brahms or French composer Hector Berlioz.

Inspired by Napoleon III and Queen Victoria: Strolling around spa-town

You can almost sense their silhouettes gliding majestically over the pavement and through the spacious alleys of Baden Baden, passing by the many imposing mansions and villas as well as the serene and lush park-landscapes. Napoleon the III must surely have had a drink or two of pure spring water from the Friedrichsquelle at the Trinkhalle (pump house) Kurhaus spa complex in his days. His ghost might be surprised to find a tourist office in the commanding building nowadays. Queen Victoria and her entourage most certainly loved paying some visits to the world-class- rose gardens dotted around town – Baden Baden is  dubbed the Rose capital of Germany, after all!

Following in Royalty´s footsteps, it won´t take you long to realize that this place really has a certain “je-ne-sais-quoi“, as the French say: a very particular something. It might be due to the laid-back pace of life, or it might be thanks to the superb quality of air that thousands of lime-trees, oaks, tulip trees, and chestnut-trees gift their visitors with. (Trees rock!) Or it might just be the mix of the alluring regal architecture, the luxurious and extra-spacious alleys, and the exquisite cuisine, that makes foodie´s mouths water…Spätzle, anyone? It´s probably all of the above and then some. And no matter whether you prefer to spend your time admiring cutting-edge contemporary art at the museum Frieder Burda or strolling along the peaceful Oos-river, there are some highlights that no visitor should miss!

And next time…

It would be my absolute pleasure to let you in on some more delights of the cultural and spa capital Baden Baden in my next post, where I´ll take you along on a visit to Friedrichsbad with its warm, bubbly, healing waters. Oh, and on a little getaway to the fairytale-like Black forest. Oh, and we might be indulging in the scents of hundreds of roses together. And, of course, tasting some fantastic, tastebud-infatuating regional cuisine. Are you up for that? I know I am!

Back to you, dear reader: Have you ever heard of Baden-Baden before? Or have you maybe been to a spa-town or some hot springs which you particularly enjoyed? As always, I would love to hear from you! Enjoy your week, wherever you may be, and thanks for reading:)

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , , , , | 76 Comments

Hamburg part 2: Exciting places and historic traces

How did you enjoy the taste of my entree a la Hamburg? Did it melt on your tongue, tasting of delicious seawater and tantalizing sweetness? I hope it left you wanting for more, because the secret recipe for today´s main meal is ready to be revealed! And I promise you, you are free to spit it out if it leaves you wanting… and you might wanna get a Fischbrötchen, a breadroll with fish, or a Rote Grütze, a typical Hamburg berry-compot with vanilla sauce, instead 😉

What´s on today´s menu, anyways? Let me, your designated waitress, chef and guide for this journey, have a quick look: As a main, inspiring discoveries in the world´s largest warehouse district await you. That´s cool, you say cheekily – while I can hear a quiet belly rumble from your side of the table – but what about the dessert? Ah, Geduld mein Freund, patience my friend, we´ll save the best or at least the naughtiest for last!

Main course: Meandering through the Speicherstadt

Whether you have a soft spot for nostalgic backdrops, a secret craving for architectural marvels or a longing for salty sea air, the Speicherstadt, the world´s largest warehouse-district, has got you covered. Meander along charming bridges, admire the one-of-a-kind red brick facades of houses built on a foundation of oak posts, or pause for a while and let your gaze wonder over the so-called Fleete (canals) of the district.

You might even try and whisper the canal´s names in your companion´s ear – the names are quite lovely, really, with one canal named Kehrwiederfleet, meaning come-back-canal in German. You might even be ready to add a “Ich liebe Hamburg” – I love Hamburg , who knows!

Be sure to check out some of the Speicherstadt´s highlights and cool photo-stops such as the Canal Castle on the Holländischbrookfleet Canal, or the Harbor Police Station No. 2, which can be found at the end of Kehrwiederfleet Canal.

Exotic scents and scary explorations in Hamburg´s world heritage site

But it´s not just the stunning architectural features and the romantic flair that the district exudes, there are also quite quirky attractions to be discovered when out and about in this Unesco World Heritage site! Follow your nose and it might lead you right away to… well, maybe a fish restaurant, but if not that then definitely Spicy´s Gewürzmuseum! This cute little find offers visitors a chance to smell and touch around 900 herbs and spices from all over the world, so get your hands dirty, ahem scented and enjoy sniffing around for a while. Maybe don´t bring your dog, though, he/she might get pretty confused…

If something slighty more action-packed is more down your alley, there´s nothing better than the Hamburg Dungeon, a place where actors lead you through the dark chapters of Hamburg´s rich and multilayered history in an interactive and pretty memorable experience! I visited the Dungeon myself ages ago, and what can I say…it´s not for the faint of heart! But I personally can´t even watch Game of Thrones, so don´t be too deterred by that statement. Visiting the dungeon is, well, in this case, absolutely fun, exciting and informative, there´s no doubt about that.

Out and about in the Hafencity: From museums for ocean lovers to concert halls for architecture aficionados

Another, more traditional cultural choice within the Hafencity- area is the International Maritime Museum with its impressive collection of model ships, art, and photographs. Located in Hamburg’s oldest preserved warehouse, this museum is a testament to Hamburg´s identity as Europe´s third-busiest port and the so-called “Gateway to the World”, as the “Hamburgers” call their port proudly. Check out the giant ship´s propeller at the museum´s entry – it weighs a whopping 15, 6 tons!

Other highlights that might tickle your fancy include the truly mind-blowing Miniatur Wunderland, a place that theoretically should only wow 5-year-olds, but in reality can blow the socks off of any too-damn-serious adult! Let your inner child out of its cage and explore an intricate and really very tiny world when visiting this extraordinarily popular exhibition.

Also, Hamburg´s newest landmark, the slightly pompous Elbphilharmonie concert-hall is well worth a visit – or even a look from the outside, as its postmodern architecture is a sight to behold. The hall is one of the largest and acoustically most advanced concert halls in the world, says Wikipedia, and Wikipedia knows best.


Wow friends, this main course has been quite filling, don´t you reckon? Let´s take a little time to digest this – the next post, the last one about Hamburg for now, will be entirely dedicated to the yummy desert-options a la Hamburg-style! Now my questions to you – what´s your favorite attraction or place to visit in your hometown? And why is it special to you? Thanks for sharing, write you soon!

Handy information part:

How do I get there? By public transport – take the U3 train to Baumwall station, the U1 to Meßberg station, or the U4 to Überseequartier station.

Tell me more about the museums? Aber sicher, sure: You can find Spicy´s Gewürzmuseum at Am Sandtorkai 34, 20457 Hamburg. It´s open daily from 10 AM to PM.

Hamburg Dungeon can be found at Kehrwieder 2, 20457 Hamburg. It´s open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Miniatur Wunderland is located at Kehrwieder 2-4/Block D, 20457 Hamburg, and has great opening times: Monday to Saturday 7 AM to 12 AM, Sunday 8 AM to 11 PM.

And if I wanna know more? Head to architecturally stunning Chilehaus, which hosts a World Heritage Info Point. It´s open daily from 10AM to 5PM.

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Moin, Moin, Hamburg: Exploring Northern delights

Oh Hamburg meine Perle – Oh Hamburg my pearl
Du wunderschöne Stadt – you utterly beautiful city
Du bist mein zu Haus – you are my home
Du bist mein Leben – you are my life
Bist die Stadt auf die ich kann – you are the city that gets me
Auf die ich kann – that gets me

Oh yes, Hamburg, you are loved by many. Despite your often grumpy skies, your famously reserved way of being and your sometimes impossible attitude (housing market, I am looking at you!) you are a power to be reckoned with, a glorious, wild yet sophisticated city that deserves to be seen, celebrated and cherished.

German singer Lotto King Karl, born and bread in Hamburg, is just one of your many admirers, as can be witnessed above by taking in the chorus of his iconic anthem to the Northern port-city with the telling name “Hamburg meine Perle – Hamburg my pearl”.


Germany´s second-biggest city is a place of countless canals, of willows along waterways and of oftentimes chilly, yet cosmopolitan people, a city with an intriguing and long history full of deep dramas and untold tales of bravery, and a city that draws visitors with its abundance of beautiful lush parks, world-class museums, spectacular musicals and, of course, its exorbitant, wild and raunchy nightlife.

Hamburg also happens to be the city I was born in on an early spring morning sometime in the decade of questionable fashion choices, and the city I´ve lived in the longest from the seven cities I´ve lived in up till now. All in all, it´s definitely a place I can quietly whisper a lot of stories into your ear about: funny ones, sad ones, exciting ones, and forbidden ones. But hey, we gotta start somewhere, right? So let me tell you about my favorite places to meander in, dream about and have deep belly-laughs with when in Hamburg-town!

First, I´ll treat you to an entree of delightful things to experience while visiting the so-called “Tor zur Welt” (door to the world) today – and to a fabulous main course and mouthwatering desert in a few weeks. Sounds good? Then “los gehts” (let´s do this)!

The entree – die Vorspeise: Watery relaxation à la Hamburg

Hamburg´s essence is deeply connected with its two rivers: the Elbe river, the main waterway that connects the city to the North sea, and the Alster lakes, central spots for Hamburg beings to walk around, bike around or sail, row and paddle on.

What better way then to start dipping your toes into Hamburg´s true watery essence than to explore everything that these two mischivious water ladies have to offer? Let´s focus on the mighty Elbe river for now.

Shenenigans on and around the Elbe river

Without further ado, let me introduce you to a piece of the Elbe lady´s story – because what else defines a powerful woman like her better than her equally as powerful story! Put simply, it´s thanks to the Elbe´s mighty ways that Hamburg is the economic powerhouse it is today.

The Elbe river hosts Hamburg´s impressive port.
Image by klaushh from Pixabay

Located at about 100 km from the North Sea, the Elbe has been Hamburg´s gateway to the world since the days of the Hanseatic League, a clever commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Northwestern and Central Europe formed in the late 1100´s (yep, that´s how old hunky Hamburg is!) So yeah, Hamburg decided early on that it wanted to be a multicultural and worldly hub, back when that was not even a thing for most places. As would be expected, such a trendsetter has a lot of cool things to offer – such as

Cruising the Elbe river for next-to-nothing

Take an HVV- ferry from the Landungsbrücken Piers at the harbor and you´ll get to mingle with locals on this regular public transport mode of transportation. For the price of peanuts, HVV- ferries take visitors to the industrial port as well as the picturesque Elbe river beaches and the famous musical theatres on the south bank – keen on the Lion King musical, anyone?

Enjoying Hamburg´s urban beach-setting

Mingle with locals at urban beach hangouts

Pack a picnic, get off at Elbe beach if the weather allows and make a leisurely day of it. While you´re at it, make sure to check out the trendy urban beach club “Strandperle” close to the Övelgönne ferry stop! When living in Hamburg. I used to absolutely love hanging out at the other beach clubs close to the port, such as Hamburg City Beach Club, fancy Lago Bay, Hamburg del Mar, and the more laid-back StrandPauli. Have a “Rhabarberschorle” (rhubarb lemonade) or an “Astra” (Hamburg beer) while you are there and indulge in some good old people-and river-watching.

Venture underground at the Old Elbe Tunnel

If you are a fan of out-of-the-ordinary experiences, you´ll love exploring the old Elbe tunnel. Constructed in 1911, it prides itself in being the first river tunnel on the whole European continent and a true standout of civil engineering. Hop underground for a quick and cool photo session or explore the tunnel on foot or by bicycle.

The Elbtunnel at night, image by Chris Frenzel from Pixabay

Head there on weekends, when the tunnel is closed to traffic, and do consider exploring up-and-coming neighborhood Wilhelmsburg on the other side of the tunnel.

View trendy Wilhelmsburg from a former bunker

In Wilhelmsburg, you´ll be able to enjoy a young, urban vibe, picturesque river nature and cozy pubs and restaurants. Hop on bus line 13, which bears the intriguing name “Wilde 13“(the wild 13) and allows you to check out all the major sights of Hamburg´s largest hood. For a little something different, visit the “Energiebunker“, a former WWII bunker that now serves as a power plant, dispatching renewable enery en masse. Here, you can enjoy the stunning view over Wilhelmsburg that the bunker´s cafe, located at 30 metres height, has to offer.

One of Wilhelmsburg´s surprising sights, the windmill Johanna.
Image by Spudaitis from Pixabay

Hamburg being the cosmopolitan home to over 1.8 million people it is has so much to offer that it would probably take me hundreds of articles to cover them…but I hope this serves you as a delicious little entree to the endless meal-options that the port-city has to offer! Now it´s your turn: Have you ever been to Hamburg, or to other places in Germany? What did you like best about it, and what surprised you most?

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Trier – the beauty of German-Roman ruins

Imagine yourself around 2000 years back. You are dressed in a traditional Roman tunic and when looking down, you realize you are wearing the type of sandals you vaguely remember from the movie “Gladiator”. Therefore, you are quick to tell yourself that you could very well be in Rome, the epitome of power, wealth and glory in those long-lost days. Clearly, you arent, though – the chill on your skin indicates that you gotta be in a quite different location, a location which bears the rare honor of being named after the Roman emperor and which could definitely use some warmer temperatures, dammit!

2000 years back, you would have found yourself in Augusta Treverorum, a city which nowadays is better known as Trier and lays claim to be the oldest city in good old Germany. Augusta Treverorum might have been more of a hotspot for budding Roman signorinos and stylish Roman signorinas in their sexy tunics. But fear not, Trier is still a place more than worthy of your time and attention! Points in favor? No worries, let me take you along to my top 3 experience-Trier spots, places I was fortunate enough to experience on a whirlwind road trip from Germany to Spain a while ago:

Travel back in time – visit the Porta Nigra

Don´t you just love those very special places that conjure up images and feelings of long-lost tales of hope, promise, challenge, and endeavor? Places that almost effortlessly transport you out of yourself and right into a totally different world. Well, to me, the Porta Nigra in Trier is definitely one of those magical hotspots! Built in grey sandstone just before the year 2000, it is formally known as the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps.

Informally, it simply rocks to explore the several stories- high building and its distinct vibe – who knows, maybe that´s the presence of the ghost of greek monk Simeon, who lived as a hermit in the Porta Nigra after 1028 (up to his death in 1035) and very rarely descended from his contemplation-spot. Or it might just be the ancient sandstones whispering tales into your ear about those long-lost days when the northern entry gate to the Roman city got turned into a church…

Recharge and reboot – experience calm at Trier cathedral

For lovers of calm, Christianity and churches, head to Trier Cathedral, the oldest bishop’s church in Germany, built smack in the middle of Trier’s city center. Take a tour and check out the remains of the first Early Christian assembly room north of the Alps from the late 3rd century. Alternatively, explore more pieces of ancient Rome in Trier by visiting the Roman central section with the original walls rising up to a height of 26 meters. Art worshippers will be delighted by the variety of artwork and architecture from more than 1650 years that can be found within the impressive building.

Disconnect and reconnect – take a stroll along the Moselle river or the city center

Trier is an astoundingly picturesque city, to say the least: located in the beautiful Moselle wine region, not far from the border to Luxembourg, it offers an enticing melange of well-kept Roman remains, beautiful architecture and stunning surrounding scenery. If you are as much into reconnecting with mother nature as I am, head to Moselle river and listen to the soothing sounds of the water stream, soak up the soft green of the rolling hills and enjoy an invigorating walk. If you prefer the hustle and bustle of the city center, head to Trier marketplace (Marktplatz in German) and check out the many eateries, shops and gorgeous houses all around. Or, carpe diem to the max and just enjoy both, nature as well as city life!

What´s your preference, dear readers – nature or cityscapes? And why? Read you soon!

Handy information part:

  • So, what´s the gist regarding Porta Nigra? – It probably won´t have moved anywhere so far, so head to
    Porta-Nigra-Platz, 54290 Trier, and you´ll find it there 🙂 Opening times are –
    April – September: daily 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    October and March: daily 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    November – February: daily 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Admission is 4 Euros per adult, 2 Euros for kids.
  • And what about Trier cathedral? You´ll find it at
    Liebfrauenstraße 12, 54290 Trier! Opening times are –
    April – October: daily 6:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    November – March: daily 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m Admission is 6 Euros per adult

Photography: All rights reserved @A gypsy at heart

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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