Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fun in the winter - Indoor sightseeing in Germany


Great inventors as they are, Germans have come up with a number of great ideas for indoor-activities and fun.
One of them is Tropical Island in Krausnick between Berlin and Dresden, Europe’s largest tropical indoor water party offering you the world’s biggest indoor rainforest, Europe’s largest sauna and spa area, a 650 ft long white, sandy beach and the perfect temperature all year long in an indoor space as big as eight soccer fields! Enjoy shows, good food and relax in this vacation paradise featuring Samoan, Thai, Balinese and African theme worlds. Overnights for every budget can be booked either in one of the hotels, holiday apartments or on a nearby campsite. 

The Heaven’s Gate in Munich is Germany’s largest indoor rock climbing center and also a perfect way to spend a day inside! The total area compromises 11,480 square feet with up to 100 ft high climbing walls. The center is suitable for beginners as well as advanced climbers and features different levels of difficulty. 

In Bremen you can uncover the miracles of mankind, the earth, and cosmos by using all your senses at the Universum Bremen. The Science Center has more than 250 different exhibits, experimentation stations, spatial installations and media installations you can explore and actually try out. Climb up the Stone Hill, play on the Earth Xylophone or learn why stars twinkle, explore the mysteries of light and shadow and much more.

For those desperate for snow there is an ideal place, as well: The Snow Dome in Bispingen near Hamburg is Europe’s most modern indoor ski venue comprising snow area of 77,100 square feet with 13 different snow guns producing fresh snow every day. Come for some fun in the snow!

There are so many indoor possibilities in Germany for you to explore, that fun is guaranteed no matter what the weather outside looks like!

And Nonstop Travel is your EXPERT to get you there and around.


Courtesy of the German National Tourist Office" www.cometogermany.com

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Pergamon Museum - Most visited in Berlin

The Pergamon Museum (Pergamonmuseum in German) takes its name from the Pergamon Altar which takes pride of place in the Museum’s main hall. Situated on Berlin’s famous Museum Island, the Pergamon Museum is the most visited Berlin museum.

The Pergamon Museum was designed by Alfred Messels, but he died before construction began in 1910. His close friend Ludwig Hoffmann supervised the construction of the Pergamon, to Messels’ design, and the building was completed in 1930.

Designed as a “Dreiflügelanlage”, a three-winged building, the Pergamon Museum today houses three separate museums: the Antikensammlung(Collection of Classical Antiquities), occupies the architectural halls and the sculpture wing, theVorderasiatisches Museum (The Middle East Museum) and the Museum für Islamische Kunst(Museum of Islamic Art). Apart from the priceless collections in each of these three museums, what has made the Pergamon Museum world-famous are its reconstruction of monumental archaeological building ensembles – such as thePergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus and the 6th century BC Ishtar Gate from Babylon including the Processional Way of Babylon, and the Facade of the Mshatta Palace.

There is a lot to see in the Pergamon and it’s not possible to cover it in one or two visits alone. The Pergamon Altar is of course the main attraction in the Museum. Dating back to the 2nd century BC, it was built on one of the terraces of the acropolis of the ancient city of Pergamon in Asia Minor.

Under a Masterplan for the Museum Island, the Pergamon Museum is being expanded to make it the centre of the museum complex and it will be connected to the Neues Museum, the Bodemuseum and the Alte Nationalgalerie.

The Pergamon Museum is open 7 days a week from 10:00 – 18:00 (up to 22:00 on Thursdays).

If you’re walking along Unter den Linden, the Pergamon Museum is easily reached on foot. The Pergamon is also easily accessible by public transport: U-Bahn (U6 -Friedrichstraße); S-Bahn (S1, S2, S25 – Friedrichstraße), (S5, S7, S75 – Hackescher Markt); Tram (M1, 12 – Am Kupfergraben), (M4, M5, M6 – Hackescher Markt).

Address:
Am Kupfergraben 5
10117 Berlin
Website


Find more Activities & Things to do in Berlin





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Monday, December 20, 2010

Weather Chaos in Europe continues – U.K., France, Germany and the Netherlands are among the worst

“I’m really disappointed to have disrupted so many thousands of people’s Christmas plans,” he said on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. “I couldn’t be more sorry, that’s the case.” Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, was forced into an embarrassing apology as he sought to sooth passengers’ fury.’

He added that it “may well be” that BAA had to buy more equipment to deal with conditions like those seen in recent days.

Philip Hammond, the U.K.Transport Secretary, promised an inquiry into how stranded passengers were treated at the airport over the weekend, as he acknowledged public “outrage” over the disruption.

Snow, ice and freezing cold weather was hitting road, rail and air networks across northern Europe for a third consecutive day Monday, leaving hundreds of thousands of travelers stranded, retailers facing lower sales and airlines and airports facing big bills for the disruption.

The U.K., France, Germany and the Netherlands are among the worst hit by the freezing weather, which is set to continue until Christmas, according to forecasters.

Paris was one of the worst hit cities. Airport operator Aeroports de Paris (ADP.FR) said no flights landed in Paris Monday morning due to falling snow. Conditions improved in the afternoon although delays were likely to persist.

The city’s public transport operator RATP said about 40 out of 50 bus lines were suspended.

Train operator SNCF said national lines were functioning, but there were delays because of speed restrictions due to the snow. Some local lines, particularly in Normandy, were shut down, it said.

Eurocontrol, the umbrella organization for air-traffic control across 38 countries, said Paris Orly, Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Le Bourget had no flights Monday morning, while Frankfurt and Berlin Tegel in Germany suffered heavy delays.

Fraport AG (FRA.XE), the operator of Frankfurt airport, said about 300 flights were expected to be canceled out of the 1,300 flights scheduled Monday. About 900 of 2,700 scheduled flights were canceled Saturday and Sunday. Fraport had set up some 1,000 camp beds at the airport over the weekend so passengers could spend the night, and staff distributed snacks and drinks and employed clowns and entertainers to try and keep children occupied.

German railway operator Deutsche Bahn AG said its trains were running, though some had major delays due to the bad weather and speed limits. A spokesman said trains were extremely crowded, and passengers could get refunds for their tickets if they decided not to travel.

Many travellers, unable to take flights, have tried to continue their journeys by rail, and main routes between Hamburg and Munich, Berlin and the Ruhr area and between Cologne and Munich were particularly busy, the spokesman said.

London’s Heathrow, the world’s busiest international airport, was open Monday but airport operator BAA Ltd. said it would be operating a reduced schedule until 0600 GMT Wednesday and that further delays and cancellations were inevitable.

British Airways PLC (BAY.LN), which canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend, said only one of Heathrow’s two runways was operational as BAA continued to clear snow and ice.

“Based on current icy conditions and forecast of further bad weather, we expect this process to take some time. The airport is, therefore, likely to be operating at significantly reduced capacity for several days,” BA said.

The airline said it planned to operate as many long-haul flights as possible, but there would be some cancellations. It operated a small number of short-haul flights Monday morning, but canceled the remainder after midday.

“Customers who are travelling from Heathrow, whose travel is not essential, are encouraged to cancel their flight, in return for a full refund, or to consider changing their flight to another date over the next 12 months,” BA said.

All airlines were advising passengers to check their flights were still scheduled before setting off for the airport.

On its website, Eurocontrol described the situation at Heathrow as chaotic and air-traffic control authorities had been requested to work out a solution, including regulating the number of flights into the airport to 10 an hour.

Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond said the immediate focus was on maximizing the number of flights and that restrictions on night flights would be relaxed. However, he added: “Heathrow is likely to be operating at reduced capacity until Christmas.”

As bad weather disrupted travel for the second consecutive winter, Hammond said it was time to consider whether the U.K. was seeing a “step change” in weather that required adjustment. The government would be looking at whether it made sense to spend more on winter preparedness, he said.

Heathrow was at a standstill for much of the weekend as it struggled to clear snow and ice. Thousands of flights were canceled and passengers were left huddled under blankets in terminals. With more snow falling, the airport operator Monday closed Terminal One and Terminal Three buildings for new passengers until due to congestion.

London Stansted, also owned by BAA, said it was fully operational and was taking a couple of flights that would normally have landed at Heathrow. Some airlines operating from Stansted, including Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYA.DB), had laid on extra flights to help stranded passengers, a spokeswoman for the airport said.

Ryanair said it had laid on 20 extra flights Monday between Stansted and destinations including Dublin, Bremen in Germany and Salzburg in Austria.

The disruption was hitting the workings of government. A meeting between the U.K. government and banks to discuss bonuses and lending was postponed Monday because Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was having trouble catching a flight back to London from New York due to bad weather, a government spokesman said.

Rail services and the road network also were suffering severe disruption. The U.K.’s Met Office had severe weather warnings in place over much of the country for more snow or icy roads.

Eurostar, which operates passenger trains between London and European cities including Paris and Brussels through the Channel Tunnel, said it was suffering delays and speed restrictions and it has a number of trains and crew out of position. It said it would operate a contingency timetable with some cancellations for a number of days and it wasn’t selling any more tickets for trains up to Christmas.

In the Netherlands, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport was fully operational Monday, after canceling about 100 flights on Saturday and about 70 on Sunday due to the harsh weather conditions. However, a spokesperson said some flights were still likely to be canceled due to continuing problems in other countries, while the weather conditions in Amsterdam were causing delays to other flights.

Air France-KLM (AF.FR) said it expected only a “limited” number of cancellations on European flights leaving Schiphol, while almost all long-haul flights will take off.

During the weekend, up to 1,000 passengers got stranded at Schiphol. Passengers who couldn’t get a hotel from their airline were given camp beds by Schiphol, but the airport said only “dozens” had been used.

t must be a thankless task, operating the Twitter account for a major airport during a snowstorm – as the person behind @heathrowairport is discovering.

As thousands of increasingly irate passengers struggle to find information on flights and cancellations, they are often turning to the Heathrow Airport Twitter feed.

Unfortunately, it seems that the person behind the account has little more to go on than the frustrated passengers themselves, and is reduced to simply telling people to check with their airlines or visit heathrow.com.

“Best advice is to check with your airline before you fly or view our online departures at heathrow.com”, they tell @jsn0. “Live flight information at Heathrow is available at heathrow.com or via your airline”, @rizzelrose is informed. “You can check our live flight schedules at heathrow.com or contact your airline at qantas.com”, hears Australia-bound @davery1979.

This less-than-innovative approach to using social media is not meeting with universal approval. One Twitterer points out that “the British Airways website isn’t working so I can’t check”, while @keith1906’s airline has told him to check with the airport, who are now telling him to check with the airline, in a circle that looks tough to break.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The new SWISS business class with fully lie-flat bed from Los Angeles to Zurich

Enjoy ultimate sleeping comfort in the new SWISS Business, featuring a fully lie-flat bed with
innovative air cushion technology, onboard SWISS’ Airbus A340 service from Los Angeles to Zurich
starting February 2011.


Ultimate sleeping comfort:

  • fully horizontal lie-flat bed, 79 inches long

Revolutionary air comfort system:

  • individually adjustable air cushions allow you to adjust the firmness of your seat/bed

More personal space:

  • more privacy
  • better mobility within cabin; most seats have direct aisle access
  • more storage space

Entertainment – the sky is the limit:

  • perfect viewing with new large 12.1” high-resolution 16:9 screens
  • choose from a large selection of music, films, games, information channels
  • iPod and USB connections at every seat

As you know, Nonstop Travel has negotiated rates with SWISS, which can save money, when looking for airfare to Europe. Please contact one of our consultants at (800) 949-6362 or visit our website.



Friday, December 3, 2010

10 Tips For Travel In Germany

Interested in 10 tips for travel in Germany? Germany is an eccentric country rich with history and art. There is something for everyone to see in Germany, from the rolling country side to the lively cities. Here are 10 travel tips for Germany.
  1. Try non traditional lodging. Europe has numerous options for place to stay. Germany has some of the world's best hostels. Staying at a hostel can save you tons of money for lodging. Some perks include free breakfast and WiFi. Other cool options to check out are castles and bed and breakfasts.
  2. Take the train. Because cities in Germany can be pretty spread out, the easiest way to get from point A to point B is taking the train. German rail tends to run numerous specials and discounts, so check out their website before you purchase your tickets.
  3. Use cheap airlines. If your time is limited in Germany, spending hours on the train can derail your itinerary. Check out EasyJet for deeply discounted airfare in Germany and many other locations in Europe. Alternatively choose the car to get around!
  4. Go Green. If you're visiting Germany during the warmer seasons, why not rent a bike and be your own tour guide. Spend time biking around different areas and taking in the sites, all while getting a true taste of Germany. Maybe you'll find a mom and pop restaurant to stop in for lunch, creating an authentic German experience.
  5. Visit a museumLike many destinations, Germany is steeped with history. Many cities have great art museums to get lost in. If art museums aren't your things, check out one of the many churches. Many designed with gothic architecture and different historical styles.
  6. Pick up "City Welcome" cards. Many cities in Germany offer the "City Welcome" card. This card offers guest discounts on historical sites, concerts, zoos, museums, and sometimes free or reduced transportation.
  7. Manners. If you are visiting Germany and are invited into someone's home, it is proper for a guest to bring a gift such as a good bottle of wine. If you are staying for dinner, eat everything on your plate or they will think you didn't enjoy your meal.
  8. If you become ill. Pack any medicine you may need while in Germany, like anti diarrhea tabs or pain pills. If you're staying at a hotel, they may have medicine available for purchase at the front desk. If you need emergency medical attention, dial 112.
  9. Try Wurst. No trip to Germany would be complete without tasting authentic Germany cuisine. From pretzels to wurst, Germany has a funky taste palette to try.
  10. Beer. Germany is also known for it's beer. If you missed out on Oktoberfest, fear not. Ask the locals where the best place to grab a drink is, and while you're at it, ask which local beers to try. You won't regret it, although you might the next morning.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wunderbar in Winter: 10 Things to do in Germany

Germany is deservedly famous for its Christmas markets. However, there’s a lot more for cold-weather travelers than just this.

Germany offers great outdoors in winter, with quirky attractions and things to do that will warm both body and soul. German travel experts from GermanyisWunderbar.com introduce 10 things to do in Germany during winter.

Ski Bavaria
Germany is only a little brother to the big siblings France or Austria when it comes to skiing holidays. This, however, makes it an insider’s tip for skiers open to something different, less crowded, less commercial and more cosy. 

Bavaria features the widest choice of slopes, with the Zugspitze in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany’s highest mountain. In south-west Bavaria, the Allgäu with villages like Oberstdorf and Oberstaufen is Germany’s largest skiing area with 500km of slopes, cosy mountain huts included. And there has already been lots of early snow this year!

Christmas markets
Germany in winter is Christmas market country. From the end of November up until Christmas, it’s all about sparkling lights, Christmas trees, handicrafts, hearty food, sweet treats and mulled wine. One way to explore a variety of markets is a Christmas market cruise. On the Rhine, visitors can sample one or even seven markets in Cologne or make a short trip to Heidelberg, home of Germany’s oldest university where the market spreads across five different little squares. Christmas market cruises on the Danube start near Nuremberg, arguably Germany’s most famous Christmas market, but also well known historic cities like Regensburg and Passau on the Danube, both beautifully preserved, make enchanting picture perfect Christmas market settings. Check here for some great itineraries visiting the German Christmas Markets.


Want to cook some German Holiday Specialties and afternoon delights? Here is a list!

Black forest gourmet heaven
Everyone feels more hungry in winter. Baiersbronn in the Black Forest is a real treat for every food lover, featuring seven Michelin stars divided up between three restaurants. Foodies will also enjoy the abundance of home-made products such as Black Forest hams, schnapps and honey or a visit to the local chocolate factory. Baiersbronn is also a top winter destination for skiing or hiking on a wide variety of special winter trails.

Breweries of Bavaria
Here’s an idea: warming up in winter while sampling beers in Bavaria. Many breweries in the south of Germany have been turned into destinations for visitors, offering brewery tours and providing accommodation.

Visiting breweries in Bavaria also comes with the added benefit of exploring some of Germany’s oldest and prettiest towns such as Bamberg where the Fässla brewery has been going since the 17th century. Just in case you’re worried, all of those places have lovely Christmas markets as well.

Stollen sampling in Dresden
Stollen and Christmas in Germany go hand in hand. You could buy this special cake at your local Lidl but it’s much better sampled in Dresden where it was invented more than 500 years ago, its shape symbolising the baby Jesus. As things are done properly in Germany, there’s an official association of Stollen bakers and all of the 150 bakers are based in the Dresden area. 

The city on the Elbe is full of historic attractions and in winter, live revolves around the Striezelmarkt, one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets. Or experience the city while cruising on one of the old paddlesteamers run by Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt who offer tours throughout winter.

Narrow-gauge railways in the Harz
Criss-crossing the Harz, the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen railways connect the cities of Wernigerode, Nordhausen and Quedlinburg in proper vintage style. The narrow-gauge railways are Europe’s longest historical rail network and feature steam locomotives for some good old huffing and puffing up the mountains.

The trains provide a year-round service for the local communities and a trip in winter through the snow covered Harz mountains makes for a special travel experience. Just thought we’d mention it, Quedlinburg is not only a UNESCO world heritage site full of half-timbered houses but also features a delightful Christmas market.

Nürburgring racing circuit and motorsport adventure land
This is something for the family (ok, for the boys): The Nürburgring in the Eifel, one of Europe’s most famous motor-racing circuits, has been transformed into an all-year motorsport themed adventure zone in recent years, perfect to animate those dark winter days. The ring°werk is a mixture of science/theme park and museum; there’s a cart track, backstage tours of the racing circuit are offered, and a number of hotels right next to the Nürburgring provide accommodation.

Most importantly, racing enthusiasts can have a go for themselves on the Nordschleife circuit open to the public.

Industrial tourism in the Ruhr area
The Ruhr area is Europe’s unlikely Capital of Culture 2010 and trailblazer of industrial tourism. Germany’s former industrial heart has turned its obsolete blast furnaces and coal mines into spectacular visitor attractions. The most dramatic of the conversions is Essen’s elegant Zeche Zollverein coalmine, a UNESCO site attracting a million visitors per year. In the run-up to Christmas the site invites visitors to experience a special Christmas atmosphere: Industrial architecture meets seasonal events and a traditional Christmas market.

Coffee & Cake
The German tradition Kaffee & Kuchen is experienced at its best in winter time when cosy cafés invite visitors to spend long hours indoors, drinking coffee and eating cake. Cafés come in different styles, some more old-fashioned, others very trendy. There are some famous and old-established ones like Café Niederegger in Lübeck or Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum in Leipzig. Some are local favourites in smaller towns to be discovered by the discerning travellers. Rest assured, sooner or later you’ll end up in one.

Winter city breaks
Germany's cities are perfect for avoiding winter gloom with stylish hotels and restaurants, world-class museums and great shopping. In Berlin, seasoned travellers could go for a lifestyle tour to explore the trendy side of the capital . Couples looking for a romantic break will find Heidelberg a rewarding destination. And youngsters with little to spare can benefit from stylish budget accommodation anywhere in Germany. Last but not least and suitable for everyone: The Christmas markets. Just in case, you’d forgotten.


Call us for more ideas and itineraries and take advantage of the low airfares during the Winter time.


Want to cook some German Holiday Specialties and afternoon delights? Here is a list:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas in Germany - including traditional Christmas Markets & Recipes

There are so many wonderful things to see and do in Germany at Christmas. Stroll through festively decorated streets and explore the enchanting Christmas markets with their seasonal music and choir singing. Listen to the sounds of bells and trumpeters and attend one of the many concerts from classical to gospel in the churches and on outdoor stages. Adorned with decorations and festively lit, the pedestrian precincts and shopping centres offer everything your heart could desire. The arts and entertainment scene also takes a seasonal turn in December: in Germany’s major cities, you’ll find everything from plays, operettas and musicals to spellbinding readings. In addition, theme parks are open throughout Christmas for their winter seasons – take the whole family to magical Europa-Park Rust, a winter wonderland in white brimming with thrills, spills and surprises. There are also numerous winter sports you can get involved in and high-profile events such as the New Year ski jumping in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. You see, it’s not just Christmas trees and twinkling lights, Germany has something for everyone during the festive season. Click here for more information on the best 10 things to do in Germany during Winter.


Some of the German Specialties Recipes for the Holiday Season:


Christmas baked apples:


Ingredients: 4 large, tart apples 10g (1 tbsp) butter 4 tsps raisins Flaked almonds Honey-water mixture To prepare: Wash the apples, then remove the stalk, the core and the pips with an apple corer. Make a horizontal cut around each apple so it won't burst. Place in a greased shallow ovenproof dish then fill with raisins and flaked almonds. Sprinkle with cinnamon and pour honey-water mixture into the top. Bake on a low shelf at 200°C for approx. 30 mins. Leave the apples to cool, then serve.


Glühwein - mulled wine:


Ingredients: 1 litre dry red wine 1 unwaxed lemon 2 cinnamon sticks 3 cloves 3 tbsp sugar Cardamom to taste To prepare: Heat the red wine. Slice the lemon and add to the hot red wine together with the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and sugar. Heat for approx. 5 mins. then remove from the heat. Cover and allow to infuse for 1 hour. Reheat and pass through a sieve before serving.


Gingerbred men:


Bake our gingerbread men at home using this easy traditional recipe. Melt together 50g clarified butter, 300g honey and 100g sugar - do not boil, allow to cool slightly. Work 300g flour, 2 eggs, salt, 150g ground almonds, 15g mixed spice and the honey mixture into a dough - cover and allow to stand at room temperature for at least 48 hours. 1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 tsp. baker's ammonia - mix each with 1 tbsp. of water and work into the dough. Roll out the mixture, cut the shapes out and decorate. Bake for 10-15 mins. at 180 degrees C and allow to cool.


Spritz cookies: 


Ingredients: 200g butter 200g sugar 3 eggs 500g flour 1 packet vanilla sugar To prepare: Beat the butter until foamy, then add the eggs and the sugar mixed with the vanilla sugar. Stir everything together well. Stir in the flour. Using an icing bag, pipe different shapes onto a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Bake for around 10-12 minutes at 175°C.


Marzipan Potatoes:



Ingredients: 200g marzipan 100g icing sugar 2cl brown rum 30g cocoa powder To prepare: Knead together the marzipan, icing sugar and rum well, then make into a roll. Cut off equal-size pieces and shape into oval balls. Using a skewer, make irregular indentations in the "potatoes" to resemble the "eyes". Then dust the marzipan potatoes with the cocoa powder until well coated.


Dresdner Christstollen:


Ingredients: 750g flour, 275g butter, 90g sugar, 75g yeast, 185g tepid milk, 500g raisins, 75g chopped sweet almonds, 20g chopped bitter almonds, 70g candied lemon peel, 15g candied orange peel, grated peel of 1/2 lemon, 1 pinch of salt, 1/2 vanilla pod, 1 pinch of ground cinnamon, 1 pinch of ground cardamom, 1 pinch of ground mace. Preparation: Sift some of the flour onto the work surface and make a well in the centre. Break up the yeast, add a little of the milk and sugar and mix to a loose dough. Dust with flour and leave to rest for approx. 15 mins. Next work to a firm dough adding the rest of the flour and milk and the butter cut into pieces. Leave the dough to rest in a warm place for approx. 20 mins. in a bowl covered with a tea towel. Mix the other ingredients well and knead them into the "stollen" mixture. Allow to rest for another 20 mins. then shape into a "stollen" and make two grooves lengthways. Place on a greased baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees C for between 35 and 50 mins. Once cooled, spread generously with melted butter. Leave for 2-3 weeks and then dust with icing sugar before serving.


Pharisäer:


Ingredients: coffee, a swig of rum, whipping cream (100g) and a teaspoon of sugar Make a strong black coffee in a tall glass and add the rum. While the coffee is brewing, mix the sugar with the cream and whip until stiff. Use this to crown your drink and then sit back and enjoy.




2011 Christmas Markets & Fairs: