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Frankfurtē daudzas lietas ir nedaudz lielākas nekā citās Vācijas pilsētās - lidosta , banku kvartāls, izstāžu halles teritorija un, kas varētu šķist pārsteidzoši, arī "zaļā josta" ap pilsētu. Liels ir arī frankfurtiešu lepnums par viņu pilsētu, kur pirmajā vietā gandrīz visās jomās ir dzīves kvalitāte. Arī tad, ja runa ir par pilsētas siluetu ar tās iespaidīgajām augstceltnēm.

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Hamburga - vārti uz pasauli, skaistule, ziemeļu izcilākā pilsēta. Ne velti šī zaļā pilsēta pie ūdens tiek uzskatīta par vienu no Vācijas pilsētām, kuru noteikti ir vērts apskatīt. Pat citādi atturīgie hanzieši ar grūtībām spēj noslēpt savu lepnumu par viņu pilsētu, tās gaisotni un piejūras šarmu. Šeit ik dienu iespējams atklāt ko jaunu un lielisku - pie Elbas, Alsteres, "HafenCity", spīķeru pilsētā, zivju tirgū vai Rēperbānī.

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Minhene ir mūsdienīga, sirsnīga pilsēta ar senām tradīcijām. Minhenē nav pretrunu, viss ir tipiski - BMW un alus dārzi, māksla, kultūra, radošums un sapņaini nostūri, baroks un viss modernais. Bavārijas galvaspilsētā ir iespējams apskatīt tik daudz īpašu objektu, ka ir grūti aptvert, ar ko sākt. Tas nozīmē, ka svarīgākais, ko likt ceļasomā pirms došanās uz Minheni, ir laiks.

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Štutgartē ir daudz interesantu pretstatu - tautas svētki un ar kvalitātes zvaigznēm apbalvoti restorāni, automobiļu muzejs un zooloģiskais dārzs "Wilhelma", kūsājoša nakts dzīve un fantastiskas izstādes. Iegūlusi starp Vācijas lielākajiem vīnkopības reģioniem, Bādenes-Virtembergas galvaspilsēta sajūsmina ar tās lielisko atrašanās vietu, skaistajām ainavām, greznajām pilīm un dažādu arhitektūras stilu ēkām.

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Ja gribam būt precīzi, tad Ziemeļreinas-Vestfālenes galvaspilsēta Diseldorfa neatrodas, kā visi uzskata, pie Reinas, bet gan pie mazās upītes Diseles. Tiem, kuri dosies uz agrāko vecpilsētas centru, kas atrodas starp Lamberta baziliku un pils torni, noteikti izdosies atrast arī Diseli, kas ir noslēpusies starp "Liefergasse" un pils laukumu. Savulaik nebija iedomājams, ka šeit varētu izveidoties starptautiskas nozīmes ekonomikas, modes un kultūras metropole, taču tā patiešām atrodas pie Reinas.

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Vīzbādene, pilsēta ar luksusa šarmu, vienlaikus arī viena no lielākajām Vācijas lielpilsētām. Federālās zemes Hesenes galvaspilsēta, viena no Eiropas vecākajām un aristokrātiskākajām kūrortpilsētām, kura simbolizē kvalitāti, klasi un augstas prasības. Pusdienošana, slaistīšanās vai patērēšana - šeit viss ir augstākajā līmenī. Tas viennozīmīgi attiecas arī uz vīzbādeniešu atvērtību un prasmi dzīvot.

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Vācijas vēsturē viena no nozīmīgākajām pilsētām ir Augsburga, kas atrodas Bavārijas dienvidrietumos. Tā ir arī viena no Vācijas skaistākajām pilsētām. Pastaigājoties pa pilsētas senajiem ceļiem un nedaudz pielietojot fantāziju, ir iespējams uz mirkli sajusties kā renesanses laikmeta firstam vai vismaz apjaust, cik nozīmīga Augsburga bija laikā, kad pastāvēja Fugeru baņķieru un tirgotāju dinastija. Tolaik tā bija izcila vieta finanšu darījumiem, starptautiska tirdzniecības metropole un vieta mākslai.

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Bādenbādene ir sinonīms ekskluzivitātei, aristokrātijai un augsta līmeņa dzīves veidam. "Belle Époque" laikā Bādenbādene bija Eiropas vasaras galvaspilsēta un bagāto un skaisto tikšanās vieta. Mūsdienās Bādenbādene visā pasaulē ir zināma kā kūrortu un kultūras pilsēta ar augstākā līmeņa medicīnisko kompetenci, spožiem svētkiem un nepārspētu eleganci. Bādenbādenes piedāvājums vienmēr ir augstākajā līmenī neatkarīgi no tā, vai tas ir ārstniecības kurss vai kultūra, SPA vai aristokrātiskā gaisotne.

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What travellers from around the world are saying

Zwinger Palace

O Chateau de Versailles de Dresden

O Zwinger Palace é um dos melhores exemplos da arquitetura barroca tardia na Alemanha. Construído entre 1710 e 1728 pelo arquiteto Pöppelmann, o Palácio Zwinger foi usado para grandes festas e torneios. Hoje, o complexo barroco de pavilhões, galerias e pátios interiores é a casa de grandes museus e obras. A Madonna Sistina de Rafael você encontrará lá. O acervo de Porcelana tambem é belíssimo. O Arsenal também é muito interessante se você curte trajes e armas. Se você não quiser entrar em nenhum museu, vá pelo menos para andar pelos jardins e admirar o "Kronentor", que é o portão com a coroa.

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martinha@viajoteca.com

Asisi Panometer

Deesden : 1945

Setenta anos depois do bombardeio de Dresden, na Segunda Guerra Mundial, um panorama de 360 ​​graus que mostra a cidade destruída foi revelado na cidade. O artista Yadegar Asisi criou uma imagem circular de 100 metros de largura e 30 metros de altura que mostra Dresden após os devastadores ataques aéreos dos aliados. Entre 13-15 fevereiro de 1945, apenas alguns meses antes do fim da guerra, os bombardeiros britânicos e norte-americanos destruíram mais de 90 por cento do centro histórico da cidade, matando cerca de 25.000 pessoas. Mais de 3.900 toneladas de bombas de alto poder explosivo e dispositivos incendiários dizimaram marcos importantes do barroco em uma cidade que é considerada "a Florença do Elba". O panorama, Dresden: 1945, fica aberto de 24 de Janeiro à 31 de maio de 2015, no gasômetro Panometer. http://www.asisi.de/en/panoramas/dresden-1945/photo-gallery.html

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martinha@viajoteca.com

Frauenkirche - Church of Our Lady

A Lady de Dresden

A Igreja da Nossa Senhora de Dresden é um espetáculo de linda. É a igreja que vai te impactar no primeiro minuto que você entrar e ver uma igreja branca, super luminada. Se há um lugar cuja história pode mover-lo às lágrimas, será n'a Igreja de Nossa Senhora. Durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, a igreja foi bombardeada e ficou em escombros até 1994, quando um programa de restauração foi iniciado. Hoje, é um lembrete dos dias antes da guerra e um dos lugares que você vai ter uma história imparcial sobre a Segunda Guerra Mundial.

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martinha@viajoteca.com

Christmas Markets in Cologne

Christmas in Germany

Christmas may be over, but 11 months from now the season will be upon us and you should spend 2015 in Germany! Why? The Christmas season is in Germany is like no other. There is no other place in the world where you can experience countless, and famous, Christmas markets that will without a doubt, put you in the holiday spirit. While the markets are open all day, it’s best to visit at night. Many towns across Germany have decorated the streets and market squares with evergreen-lined stalls, twinkling lights and religious (and not so religious) statues to kick off the holiday season as festively as possible. If you are a foreigner in Germany at this time of year, it's difficult to miss home when Germany puts on an excellent show at Christmas time. No matter what German city you are in, you can find families and friends of all ages, walking around shopping for unique and traditional gifts, sipping on mulled wine and indulging in delicious German food. You will hear laughter amongst the Christmas carols that will make you forget about your toes and fingers tingling from the cold temperature at this time of year. It’s truly a traditional delight for all of the senses. No trip to the German Christmas markets is complete without trying a class of glühwein, which is a combinations of red wine, spices and sugar. This traditional drink will keep you cozy and happy. Hungry? No problem! There are many stalls that sell traditional German Christmas Market food and snacks for you to enjoy such as bratwurst, mutzen, schmachtlappen and reibekuchen. In a world where Christmas present shopping consists of the latest technology and thoughtless gift certificates, it’s nice to be able to find traditional hand carved gifts at several stalls. Not to mention, mountains of oranges and nuts, the original gift that St. Nicholas gave to people hundreds of years ago at this time of year. While many countries around the world celebrate Christmas, no other place does it like Germany. So, if you feel that this time of year has been lacking in holiday spirit, take a trip over to this European country and be reminded what Christmas time is all about.

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hopscotchtheglobe@gmail.com

Canadians First Time at a Traditional Co-ed Spa

Visiting a co-ed spa was a foreign concept to me, being born and raised in Canada. Nudity in my culture is reserved for your own home where some have issues looking at themselves in the mirror. The gym change room is another publicly acceptable nude room, many of us have mastered the art of undressing by using a towel without exposing our private parts. My wife, Kristen, and I walked into that spa and let go of our Canadian mentalities. I undressed in the co-ed change room next to a woman in her 60s. She had kind eyes, a warm smile and no knowledge of nude shame as she stripped down without embarrassment. Kristen and I entered the spa, dropped our towels and were liberated, free for all to gaze upon! There were adults of all ages and body type, casually conversing as if being nude was more comfortable than being clothed. I had to constantly remind myself that people are not judgemental of bodies here, something I have never experienced in North America. Nudity is very much a part of the culture here. This German spa was the first place I have experienced harmony and equality among class, age, sex. Nobody knows whether you walked in with an Armani suit or a ripped t-shirt, you are all equal, beautiful and free. I immediately felt unjudged and part of the community. The architecture and decor of the spa was heavenly. Stone tiles lead the way to a large open room with lounging chairs and a marble swimming pool. The ambiance is zen, with only the sound of calm conversations and light background music. Buddha heads, candles, bamboo designs and waterfalls decorate the many rooms with relaxation and beauty. The outdoor rooftop contained hot tubs and saunas to keep you warm and steamy as well as cold pools and a bucket of snow used to cool your body down before jumping back into the hot tub. I left with my body relaxed, my skin clean, and my mind at peace. I learned that the human body is a beautiful gift which should be appreciated and accepted. Nudity is our original state and should be more widely accepted.

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hopscotchtheglobe@gmail.com

Herrenhauser Gärten Grotto

Niki the St.-Phalle at her best

A couple of years ago a very wealthy friend of mine, who owns an work of art by French artist Niki de St.-Phalle, told me included Hannover in a trip to Europe just to see Nikki's art in town. I had totally forgotten this until I came to Hannover and found out that Niki's works are all over the place. There are three Nanas in the Sculpture Mile downtown and an ancient grotto at the Herrenhauser Gardens was redone by Niki, who filled with her Nanas, a colorful Ganesha and a myriad of kaleidoscopic mirrors. Before her death, she donated her private collection to Hannover's Sprengel Museum, and will appear in the new wing due to open late in 2016.

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xongas@gmail.com

Elbphilarmonie

The next big thing

Due to open in 2017, the Elbphilarmonie is a ~very~ controversial project among Hamburg's taxpayers. But its sheer originality and generous public spaces will definitely put Hamburg on the map of people who've never thought of visiting this vibrant town. The building will contain three concert halls, two hotels, apartments, shops and a public square between the base of the bulding (a former wharehouse) and the new, Gaudí-esque top. You can count on Hamburg becoming as popular with foreign travelers as it is among German visitors.

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xongas@gmail.com

Christmas Markets in Cologne

A White Christmas in Cologne

My notions of winter in Europe have been shaped by Hollywood movies. I expected to watch snowflakes romantically descend upon short winter days, and the cosy glow of Christmas trees in makeshift homes (think boutique hotels) to keep me warm. What surprised me on my December trip to Germany was the camaraderie and sheer revelry at the country’s famous Christmas markets, compelling enough to brave the single digit temperatures and rejoice over a white winter! If the thought of Europe evokes images of quaint old churches in juxtaposition with hi-tech buildings, and old towns with cobbled streets and artistic cafes, a winter trip to Cologne only romanticizes those images further. Come December, chirpy little Christmas Markets pop up among the city’s most charming neighborhoods, and become the go-to place for the city’s locals. Colorful booths line the streets, selling traditional German and Christmas gifts, like the famous Räuchermännchen, a wooden toy that is an incense smoker in disguise. Food stalls serve up hash browns, frankfurters, crepes, and local delicacies. People gather around drinking glühwein, the famous mulled wine of Europe warmed with spices, chatting, warming up over some neighborhood gossip. Christmas music plays everywhere, and the night rings with the clinking of cups and prost. Such revelry! At the Christmas Market on the Alter Markt in Cologne, local craftsmen and women demonstrate their talents with wood crafts, crystal painting and glass glazing; it is fascinating to observe the precision and pride that goes behind each little piece of work, and meet men and women who have come to these markets since they were little boys and girls. But the icing on the cake in a festive Cologne is its main market, which glitters in the dramatic backdrop of the city’s oldest and most charming cathedral; truly a European Christmas!

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shivyanath@gmail.com