For the 120 kilometres between Bingen and Bonn, steep vineyard slopes join castles, glorious residences and the famous Loreley rock as the river twists and turns through a landscape steeped in history. The Siebengebirge hills and the Loreley divide the region into two distinct areas in terms of wine classification. The southern section, the Upper Middle Rhine Valley between Koblenz and Bingen, was granted UNESCOWorld Heritage status in 2002 for its outstanding, vineyard-sculpted countryside. Ample motivation for the growers to continue their sterling work on the steep, vine-clad hillsides.
Classic grape varieties take centre stage along the Middle Rhine, whose 460 hectares of vine-clad slopes belie its reputation as a minor wine region. Riesling is the dominant choice here, accounting for more than 70 per cent of the grapes. Its late-ripening, berry-like grapes possess an unrivalled capacity to produce elegant, racy wines with a harmony of bouquet and palate, rich in finesse and nuance. A depth of character that helped Rhineland wines to establish themselves on the world stage. The vineyards also grow wines of the pinot blanc and pinot gris variety, both of which make excellent accompaniments to food. Pinot noir and dornfelder represent the field for red wines, while riesling grapes are also used to make sparkling sekts.
Slate is a defining feature of the soil in the Middle Rhine wine region, where steep, terraced vineyards cling to the valley slopes at precarious angles. The stony ground and rugged cliffs are shielded from the wind and warm quickly in the sun. Steel-blue slate and its darker variety litter the ground and provide the optimum growing conditions for the riesling grapes. It is said that the delicate bouquet, racy acidity and mineral overtones of riesling wines are typical of the Rhineland. North of Koblenz, the soil also contains volcanic stones such as pumice, tuff and loess.
The Rhine Valley has an optimum climate for grapes to thrive, thanks to the current of warm air that drifts in from the south. Riesling grapes benefit most from the mild winters, the early arrival of spring and the long growing season that continues until late autumn. The best years for these exquisite sweet wines have moderate summers with plenty of rain rather than months of baking hot days and cloud-free skies. Even in the coldest of winters, heavy frost rarely settles in the narrow Middle Rhine valley because the water of the river regulates the temperature.
Old-established family vineyards run by young, highly trained vintners are the hallmark of the Middle Rhine wine region. The estates they manage occupy anywhere between three and twelve hectares. The work on the steep, terraced slopes, the vinification in the cellar and the marketing activities all stay in house, too. Many wineries have an adjoining tavern, inn or seasonal wine room. Most Middle Rhine wines are sold independently within the region, and every good restaurant stocks wines from local vineyards.
The people who live in the Rhine valley are outgoing, cheerful and extremely good company. They are proud of their homeland and culture and the region boasts a festival for every occasion. Highlights include the carnival, the Rhine in Flames firework spectacular and the numerous wine and street festivals. Each wine festival has a character all of its own, but you can also go direct to the wineries to watch the vintners at work. Afterwards, why not stay and enjoy the fruits of their labours with a bite to eat. The more the merrier is the Middle Rhine motto!
The Rhine is steeped in myth and legend. There are tales of heroes and dragons and of sunken treasure. True or not – who can really say?
What travellers from around the world are saying
Herrenhauser Gärten Grotto
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.čitajte dalje »
Christmas Markets 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!čitajte dalje »
Alternativ livsstil i centralt belägna Gängeviertel
Äta, shoppa, uppleva och bo – allt på gångavstånd
Nattlivet i St. Pauli är som en tysk cocktail
Shopping in the city
I am continuing my little Berlin report. We planned to go shopping and sightseeing at the weekend with Nóri. Unfortunately, shops in Germany are closed on Sundays so we had to do the shopping part on Saturday... We were walking in the streets in the city centre in the morning and we went into interesting design stores when we spotted them. I like talking to the locals because a lot of nice memories come back in connection with Germany. I was 11 years old when I first spent a longer period of time in summer at a German family. It is funny to think back that I could hardly understand anything from what they were trying to tell me, I was so embarrassed that I answered "Ja" to everything... :) We left the shopping centres to the afternoon where we could really enjoy our shopping mania. We found a Primark shop here, too, well known from London... :) If you ever enter this shop, you will surely leave with more than one shopping bag. :) The sales were still on which meant that we bought almost everything for 3 or 5 Euros. It was the earthly heaven itself, I could hardly stop myself from putting the whole store into my basket. By the end of the day, we got totally exhausted and couldn't wait to relax after these two long days... X x Festyčitajte dalje »
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin - Studio Kaprol fashion show and backstage
I couldn't wait for the second fashion show on Friday because the marketing person of Studio Kaprol contacted me a few weeks ago to ask us to take some photos of their backstage and post them on our blogs. It was a great experience for me to get a glimpse again behind the scenes of an international fashion week. It had only happened to me once on my first fashion week in New York. Then, the series of pleasures continued as we got private VIP seats to the second row among journalists and celebrities from Berlin. I was extremely happy to be able to watch this special show from such proximity. It started with an art movie and then the models walked on the runway in an unusual way, wandering around and staying on the stage. There were more and more of them up there, then they got together and finally brought the designer forward. I found it a really good idea to present these loose street wear clothes in such a creative way. X x Festyčitajte dalje »
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin
I thought that Friday is also worth mentioning and I should make a post about the fashion shows, too. We received standing tickets for Marina Hoermanseder's show so we could see the happenings from upstairs with Nóri. It was ideal to take photos from there because we could see the whole area. I love the feeling when the atmosphere of the fashion week catches me and I watch the creations of different designers with excitement. Marina Hoermanseder, Austrian designer, created an extravagant collection with the patterns of medical aids in the clothes. It was interesting to see a kind of knee machine on a fashion show that I had to wear after my sport accident... xo, Festyčitajte dalje »
So many things have happened during a day, it seems that we have been here in Berlin for a week already. We left Budapest in the morning with Nóri Oravecz and we landed in Germany at noon. Our accommodation is in the city centre so we can easily reach everything within 15 minutes. I was really excited because I had never been to Berlin Fashion Week before so I couldn't wait to sit on the shows and learn about German fashion. We were invited to two fashion shows yesterday. At first, we checked the creations of a talented Austrian designer, Marina Hoermanseder. Then, we had the opportunity to look at the backstage of Studio Kaprol, it was the first time I had received a VIP ticket on an international fashion event. We could watch the fashion show from the second row which is a fantastic feeling for a fashion blogger. :) We got an invitation to the closing party at night where we got to know German and Austrian journalists and designers. It was adventurous to get to the party... It took almost an hour to find one of the old factory sites of East-Berlin. The place had a special atmosphere with a ruined brick building, wall paintings and railways tracks. Finally, we found a huge building like a hangar where masked hostesses were welcoming the guests at the end of the red carpet. We entered a large room where the closing ceremony took place. We talked to a lot of fashion professionals, everybody was friendly and kind to us. One of the great advantages of Berlin is that the underground operates all night so you can get home very easily even after midnight. X x Festyčitajte dalje »