ERBACH AND MICHELSTADT
The visit to Erbach and Michelstadt was on the day before I was to leave back to the USA. My first stop was at the Erbach Castle where I was met by our guide from the City tourism office.
This is not your typical Castle tour as I found out because the collections od Count Franz, 1st, were quite eclectic and beautiful. Rooms full of vintage armory, guns, crossbows spears and more crowned by the amazing collection of ivory in the ivory museum in the castle as well as a fully operating ivory carving section (although no longer using ivory). This collection as well as the instructions showing how ivory carvings are made as well as the new products used instead of ivory was a good education.
I had lunch at a nice outdoor restaurant by the river, and then made my way to Michelstadt to tour that city with their guide, Silke.
We met at the center by their council building, and started with a tour of this vintage building. We toured through the alleyways, even stopping at the local Jewish office where I unfortunately walked in not realizing it was also a synagogue and without wearing a hat which the rabbi made me very aware of immediately.
Silke took me to a small tower by the wall of the village where prisoners were kept in the old days. It was very small, and even with just the two of us in there it did not take much to imagine the plight of the prisoners when there were 20-30 in that room.
TOURING THE BADEN-WUERTTEMBERG REGION AND THE BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF THE ODENWALD AREA
Just a few short blocks from central downtown are two amazing boutique hotels, Der Kleine Prinz and Belle Epoque owned and operated onsite by a brother and sister in each hotel (www.derkleinprinz.de & www.hotel-belle-epoque.de ). These two hotels shine with the beauty of the antiques in each and every room yet still has the modernity you expect in the areas such as the bathrooms. Each room in each of the hotels shows its individuality as well as the fact that you know the owners stay in touch with what is going on. It was obvious even as they took me on a site inspection that they were checking everything to make sure nothing was being missed. Each hotel had a nice restaurant and lounging area. These are both a must to consider when visiting Baden-Baden. Parking is onsite
With over 1200 years of fascinating history ranging from Charlemagne and Emporer Frederick I to the richly flourishing monastic culture in the late Middle Ages and the Thirty Years' War thru the elegant classicism of the early 19th century right into today's City of Seligenstadt. You enter into an excursion of the past of this settlement that developed over the previous 800 years around the remainders of a Roman fortification.
I arrived a little late for our visit having become so enamored with my visit at the previous village of Aschaffenburg that I lost track of time. Fortunately our guide was patiently waiting for me. He was a true historian of his city, and gave a complete and detailed history of some buildings, their architecture and place in the history of the city.
After a city tour I was treated to a visit to the local brewery where I was given a tour as well as getting to taste several of their products.
Miltenberg takes pride in its well preserved Old Town, and it really shows with everything restored. The beautiful wood-timbered houses, and cobble stoned streets bring you back to that ancient time. Their tourist representative met us in front of the tourism office, and we started our City Tour.
We walked the central street called the Schnatterloch which is a word famous market square. Often she took us onto side streets showing us the many historical places and views. We were treated to a tour of the Faust Brewery as well. Walking up to and on the ancient Defense wall for the town makes you think about that time when the village needed that protection.
We had a fantastic lunch at Zum Riesen which is the oldest Inn in Germany. The food and ambience were wonderful to experience. Miltenberg also has a couple of excellent museums that you must visit while there.
We then were treated to a boat ride along the river to see the region around Miltenberg. The views on the boat ride were perfect as well as the weather.
There is so much you can do in and around the Miltenberg area - hiking, biking, swimming or just relaxing and letting the stress of life slip away.
I recently had the opportunity to visit beautiful Baden-Baden in Germany's Baden-Wuerttemberg region. It had been well over ten years since my previous visit, and that had only been a short visit breezing around the downtown area and casino. This visit was prepared with the help of the USA tourism representative of Baden Baden.
I stayed at the Atlantic ParkHotel ( www.atlantic-parkhotel.de/en/ ) right in downtown central. The Atlantic Park Hotel commands the best location because it is virtually footsteps to the entire area in downtown. It sits right on the river with a beautiful outdoor restaurant so you can enjoy the views while having your meals. This classic hotel has had all of its rooms revitalized and the bathrooms are very modernized yet still keeping its old world charm. The restaurant's breakfast buffet was excellent, and I also had lunch and a dinner in the restaurant which were also very good. Price-wise I would consider the hotel in keeping with the other hotels in the area all of which are moderately high.
It is certified as a 4 star hotel, and I would recommend it because of its excellent location. Room cleanliness was very good, and the staff very accommodating. Parking is good as long as you are made aware that there is a temporary parking spot for checking into the hotel, and then there is a parking garage right across the street from the hotel.
A visit to Baden-Baden would not be complete with a tour to the top of the nearby mountain, and definitely a visit to Caracalla Spa for a complete spa treatment. Wander around town visiting the many high-end shops popping into the various cafe's for coffee, tea and amazing pastries as well as some fine lunch and dinner restaurants. The museums are not to be missed as they always have some wonderful exhibitions on display. There are a number of ways to reach Baden Baden, but the two best are either by car or the fast train. check with your travel agent or our sister company, Tour & Travel Organizers Ltd, for your next trip.
I also visited the Radisson Blu Badischer Hof Hotel (www.radissonblu.com/hotel-badenbaden ) for a site inspection which is a little walk from the downtown area, but well worth considering for a stay. It has the distinction of having hot spring pools using the same healing waters that the Caracalla Spa in Baden Baden has. The Radisson Blu Badischerhof Hotel is a beautiful large hotel also with redecorated and modernized rooms yet also still retaining the old world charm. Management of this hotel seemed excellent, and the care and courtesy shown the guests was a joy to behold. The Radisson Blu Badischer Hof Hotel has all the amenities you might want including a nice restaurant, spa and exercise area and thermal mineral pools. Each room was spotless, and attention to detail was certainly adopted.
I was looking forward to this visit because I had visited Aschaffenburg many years ago on a trip with the German Tourism Board from the USA. It was a brief visit so I did not get to see very much. I was very happy to find our guide to be extremely knowledgeable about the City, and this time I had an extensive visit learning so much. We were going to start our tour by going thru the Castle, but it turned out there was a meeting going on so our guide decided we could come back to the castle later.
We walked from the Castle over to the "Pompejanum" which is an ancient building built in the same architectural style of Pompei, and houses many antiquties from that period of time. At the time of our visit there was a fashion exhibit on the second floor. Outside the Pompejanum you had a beautiful view of the river and the imposing castle.
Returning towards the castle we walked right along the river, and about halfway we stopped at a refreshment stand to relax and enjoy the river and scenery.
The castle itself was filled with antiquities from various areas of Europe that had been collected throughout the king's lifetime including various rooms of artifacts, pictures, sculptures and so much more. Most impressive was his collection of Roman buildings made from cork carvings. Visiting the castle is a must.
We enjoyed a delightful and filling meal at a local restaurant in the company of our fantastic tourism guide.
THE ODENWALD AREA OF GERMANY
I have been visiting Germany for many years, and each time I go into the Odenwald area I find new gems to recommend. This visit I decided to revisit a village I had briefly stopped thru previously, but had not explored much. I also visited a few other villages, and came away with the knowledge that I had been missing out on all that the Odenwald was offering. I want to thank the awesome help from the Germany Tourism Board who arranged my visits with the local village tourism people making each visit a private and very special day teaching me the history of the their village, and showing me all the wonderful things to see and visit.
I arrived in Wald Michelbach where I decided to base my visits from. Wald Michelbach is a very small village about 1 1/2 hours from Frankfurt. I stayed in a small guest house hotel. Nothing fancy, but clean and served a nice breakfast.
The next day I attended the Press Conference of Petra Arnold, a good friend and famous German photographer, who was promoting the Odenwald area. The My Odenwald press conference was held at Lammsershof Restaurant and Hotel in Birkenau-Lohrbach. This is a beautiful forested area. The press conference was to showcase the various artists and artisans in the Odenwald area, and the presentation was perfect. The various artisans of products, food, beer all presented us with tastings of their items. The hotel served fantastic sliders and deserts.