Host nation highlights - February 2016

Host nation highlights - February 2016

by Genevieve Northup
Stripes Europe

Castle: Schloss Lichtenstein

Built in German medieval style in the 1840s by Count Wilhelm of Württemberg, Schloss Lichtenstein is new by European standards. Called “Württemberg´s fairy-tale castle,” Lichtenstein’s stunning architecture and scenic mountaintop location rival those of the worldfamous Schloss Neuschwanstein.

The castle is open weekends February to November and seven days a week from April to October. Guided tours in English are available with advance reservation. Active travelers can access nearby hiking trails and a ropes course after their castle visit.

City: Berlin

Berlin maintains reminders of the city’s dark past and the strength that emerged from devastation — a plaque in Bebelplatz at the site of the mass book burning by the Nazis; the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe; the Neue Wach Memorial remembering those who suffered during wartimes. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was destroyed during World War II and only partly reconstructed as a testament to the consequences of conflict. The Reichstag parliament building retains sections of the original structure, plus a modern glass dome that signifies the importance of openness and accountability in the government. Local artists have painted the remaining section of the Berlin Wall with murals, and a museum marks the crossroads of former east and west Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie.

Kid-friendly stops include the zoo, aquarium, BergWerk indoor ropes course, TURM indoor water park, Blacklight-Miniature Golf Berlin, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, and the German Historical Museum. Children can make their own candy bars at Ritter Sport’s Colorful ChocoWorld and see chocolate reproductions of Berlin’s monuments at Fassbender & Rausch.

Event: Fasching

Fasching. Its name varies by German region —Fasabend, Fasnacht, Fasne, Fastnacht, Fosnat, Karneval — but everywhere the “fifth season” of carnival is an opportunity to indulge once more before abstaining for Lent. The final “crazy days” begin the Thursday prior to Ash Wednesday and continue through Shrove Tuesday. Cologne, Düsseldorf, Mainz and Munich host Germany’s grandest celebrations.

Word: die Warteschlange (noun)

The literal translation is “waiting snake” for this term that describes a lengthy line or wait list.

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