Travel & Leisure Tips
A potpourri of articles on leisure activities and some very-visit-worthy European destinations. Lots of tips and info on where to go, where to stay, what to eat, how to get there . . .
Dynamikum Science Center - Pirmasens
Tinkering, experimenting and lots of fun
Don't touch? Not in Dynamikum!
Who hasn't been to museums where you're requested to walk through quietly and are only allowed to observe the exhibits from a distance?
In the Dynamikum Science Center in Pirmasens, it's very different! Here you are encouraged to explore the 160 exhibits hands on to your hearts content and experience the fascinating phenomena of science and technology.
The overriding theme is "movement" - whether it be in the sense of to set something in motion or simply to move. Consequently there's a lot of great things to discover in the 4,000 square meters of exhibition area: Who wants to run a race with an elephant? Ever tried to roll a ball uphill? How would it be, to find yourself in place of the sun at the center of our solar system?
For more info: Dynamikum
Heidelberg is known to tourists for its famous castle, for Germany’s oldest university and for lanes in the Old Town that are steeped in history. It is also a modern scientific and economic center with an international reputation and a most lively and varied cultural scene. This attracts people from all over the world, some 3.5 million guests per year.
Heidelberg's castle ruins have been famous for centuries as romantic ruins, so they’ve not been fully restored. Yet this is one of the most evocative castles you might visit in Europe. Inside is a wonderful Pharmacy museum, as well as the world’s largest wine barrel (a vat having a capacity of 195,000 liters or approx. 51,514 gallons.) There is a wine bar inside the palace, and a small cafe outside where you can get a drink or eat a light meal.
More about Heidelberg
The West Coast of Scotland
This year’s hot destination?
When I mentioned at a party that I had just come back from a short trip to the West of Scotland, slightly to my suprise three different couples told me that they had been there too this year, in very much the same area. I hadn't heard of Kentallen until one of my brothers suggesting arranging a family get-together at the Hollytree Hotel in Kentallen. It turned out to be a perfect destination. Read on ...
Red Wine and White Truffles
On the gourmet trail in Piemonte
People who like to eat good, rather traditional food and to drink full-bodied red wine, will enjoy a visit to the Piemonte region in Northern Italy in the autumn. The best time for the greedy (or discerning) gourmet is from the end of October through the beginning of December. That’s when the best fresh white truffles (tartufi bianchi) are available and it’s also a good time to visit some of the many excellent and mostly friendly vineyards that produce some of the best red wines in the world. read on
Mainau and Reichenau - Two Islands on Lake Constance
The two islands of Mainau and Reichenau lie in the crystal blue waters of Lake Constance, known as Bodensee in German. Reichenau Island is famous for its abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Mainau, the "island of flowers" is known for its stunning gardens. Read on ...
Good times in Provence
Even just two or three days in the Provence area of south-east France is well worth the journey, as they say in the Michelin guides. Especially if you are an art lover and particularly if, like me, you enjoy classical modern art, Picasso, Matisse, Fernand Leger, Joan Miro, Alexander Calder. In the area around Grasse, you can combine two of my very favorite activities: hiking in beautiful countryside and visiting art galleries. No, make that three activities. I also love to eat and Provençal cuisine is delicious and also healthy. What more could anyone want? read on
With a population of around 1.7 million, Barcelona is big enough to have lots going on, but small enough that you can explore the city center on foot. Take very comfortable shoes though; by the third day even my tough hiker’s feet preferred to wear sneakers. The combination of hot temperatures (86°F plus at mid-day) and city sidewalks can be killing. Luckily, there are many tempting places to stop, sit, drink a coffee or eat an ice cream, and watch the world go by. The city council has even provided seats and benches on the sidewalk if you don’t need or want to use a cafe."
Easy access - Barcelona International Airport is just a few miles from the city center. Traveling with hand luggage, it took our reporter less than 30 minutes from her plane landing to arriving by taxi at the hotel. Barcelona is Spain’s second-largest airport after Madrid, and it is easy, and not too expensive, to get there from many destinations. Air travel and city-hopping in Europe has become much easier and cheaper over the last decade. read on . . .
A capital city with only 450,000 inhabitants but an astonishing amount of history and culture, Edinburgh is well worth a visit. Known as Auld Reekie, as well as Athens of the North, Edinburgh is a city of contrasts. Auld Reekie, or Old Smokey in English, because before the Clean Air act of 1956 the smoke from coal and wood fires made the city dirty and smelly (as well as cold, rainy, windy). read on . . .