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In Europe

34 Things To Do In Germany: Travel Tips From A German Transplant

This list of 34 things to do in Germany was compiled to give travelers like yourself an easy, digestible overview of what unique and popular sights you can find across the country complete with the occasional clip from my time as host of The Germany Travel Show (click here for more on that). To go more in-depth, follow the links below, watch the videos, and check out the off the beaten path guide. If you’re interested in something more literary, you can read a few chapters from my upcoming book on moving to and living in Germany. Have more questions about traveling to Germany? Contact me to set up a consultation.

Now, let’s get on with these 34 things to do in Germany.

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In Essays/ Europe/ There Must Be Order

Heimat: There’s No Place Like Home

Hiking In Germany Neckarsteig

The following is a chapter from an upcoming memoir on moving to and living in Germany. Read more here.

German is known for its long, confusing string of nouns mashed together like some kind of fusion dish gone wrong. Things start to click as you get on with the language, like a novice palate learning to appreciate the flavors of the aforementioned dish. But upon initial observation, it looks like nonsensical garble. An orgy of vowels and consonants pronounced like Hitler in the middle of one of his spasmodic speeches, his arms flailing about like a Looney Tunes villain.

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In Europe

A Dying Tradition: Beach Fishing from the German Baltic Sea

I traveled to Usedom for this story with Christie Dietz (ASausageHasTwo.com) as a guest of Usedom Tourismus (visitusedom.com). As always, all opinions are my own.

“My name is Uwe Krüger. I’m a sixth-generation Ahlbecker fisherman. From being a little boy to becoming an older man, I’ve experienced everything here on the beach. We opened our fishing hut 28 years ago – it’s called Uwe’s Fischerhütte. It’s a small restaurant where and we catch the fish ourselves.”

Both sides of Uwe’s family come from fishing families, going back generations. It was his grandfather that introduced him to the craft.

“When I was five, I started going out fishing with my grandfather and enjoyed the sea air. I can still remember the smell of the fish we caught as children. Whenever we fish for European smelt or have one in a net, it makes me remember my grandfather and my childhood.”

People like Uwe are a dying breed. The beaches used to be filled with fishermen. But when we joined them in July at four in the morning, they were the only ones preparing to head out to sea. Continue Reading →

In Africa/ Trailblazers

Trailblazers Q&A: Sophia Musoki Shines A Spotlight On Ugandan Food

Sophia Musoki A Kitchen In Uganda

Trailblazers, checks in with creatives from around the world to share their story. On this edition, we welcome Sophia Musoki of A Kitchen In Uganda.

Sophia Musoki, A Kitchen In Uganda

Sophia Musoki is a Ugandan though currently living in the Caribbean. She’s enjoyed working with her hands for as long as she can remember, crafting things and sewing clothes. In 2012, she started blogging, focusing on Ugandan food from 2014 onwards at A Kitchen In Uganda. Her work has since been featured on CNN and she was a finalist in SAVEUR Magazine’s 2018 Blog Awards. Continue Reading →

In Europe/ Outdoors

Mosel, Germany: Trains and Trails from Burg Eltz to Trier

Moselle River

I’ll admit that I’d been mentally preparing myself to be underwhelmed by Burg Eltz thanks to its Instagram ubiquity. If you follow multiple German Instagram accounts, as I do, you see it rather constantly. There it is, in the fog. There it is from afar, in the fog. There it is, with a woman in a flowing dress standing on the bridge, in the fog.

With that in the back of my mind, I set off hiking from Moselkern, picking up a grassy trail I found on Komoot that eventually led to trail shared between the Traumpfade and the 365-kilometer Moselsteig. It was the first of November with the weather to match; crisp fall air circulating above the orange, brown, red, and yellow leaves covering the trail. And yes, fog. Fortunately, the quick ascent in elevation provided all the warmth I needed.

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In Essays/ Travel

On Americans Traveling As Canadians

Americans Traveling As Canadians

Photo by AnneLaure Artaud, probably not an American traveling as a Canadian

In my years of travel, I’ve anecdotally noticed a disconcerting trend: Americans traveling as Canadians.

I’ll admit off the bat that I haven’t the slightest clue just how big of a trend this is. I suspect it’s small (hence I only have anecdotes to offer), but large enough that CNN and The Atlantic have covered the phenomena with the latter noting a Washington Times report on a company selling a “Going Canadian” kit so that Americans questions about politics during their vacation can say, “I’m on vacation. I don’t want to talk aboot it.” (The kit was reported on in 2004, during the thick of the Bush White House years, which likely had a thing or two to do with it.)

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In Trains/ Travel

OBB Nightjet: An Overnight Ride From Düsseldorf to Vienna

OBB Night Train Drink

I traveled courtesy of WienTourismus. As always, all opinions are my own.

I felt like a total newb when I boarded.

Why isn’t anyone checking my ticket? Is this compartment with three seats mine even though I’m supposed to be alone? Can I move the fold-out, iron board-looking dining tray out of the way so I can stand up without smacking my shins against things?

It became clear rather quickly that compartments are adjusted based on the ticket purchased. The fold-out tray can be moved, but you’re better off disconnecting it entirely rather than leaning it upward against the window as I did. Because when the train comes to a sudden, unexpected stop after leaving the station, it might come crashing down when you have a complimentary mini bottle of Più Vivo Frizzante Bianco in your hand. When you try to stop the crash with your fist (because you’re holding the bottle and that’s what’s closest to the falling tray), it’ll set off a bottle tap reaction, the bubbly will come shooting out all over you and the compartment, and you haven’t even made it 10 minutes out of the station.

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In Europe/ Outdoors

A Sauerland Jaunt: Hiking Two Stages of Germany’s Rothaarsteig

Hiking in Germany Rothaarsteig

Germany is home to lots of Steigs. I should know, I’ve now hiked portions of four or five. The latest addition to my Steig-repertoire is the Rothaarsteig — a 97-mile (156-kilometer) trail running south from Brilon in the Sauerland region. I had hiked in Sauerland before, a loop along the Drei-Türme-Weg out of Hagen, which is more or less the gate into the Sauerland region coming from the west. The hike left me with fond memories of dense forests and actual elevation, a gift not to be forsaken coming from rather flat Düsseldorf. Needless to say, it left me longing for a return to the region and I was pleased to find yet another multi-stage trail in the Rothaarsteig.

With an upcoming empty weekend, I reached out to the folks who manage the trail, asking for a stage with the best connection to public transport but still a challenging hike. They recommended starting from the beginning in Brilon, hiking 20-plus kilometers to Willingen and another 20-plus to Winterberg the following day. Indeed, these were excellent choices in terms of public transport, with both Brilon and Winterberg within two-and-a-half hours of Düsseldorf and just one transfer in Dortmund.

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