Summer fun in the absence of fests

River cruise in Heidelberg
River cruise in Heidelberg

Summer fun in the absence of fests

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

By now it’s no secret that all hopes for any large-scale social events in the summer of 2020 have been quashed, with the new potential date for fests in Germany pushed back to at least Oct. 31.

Before writing off the summer of 2020 completely, however, take heart in the fact that not all forms of fun have been erased from the agenda. Here’s a quick list of some summery, enjoyable things you can still do, not in the company of thousands, but rather a select few. Change your mind-set to embrace quality over quantity, explore responsibly, and under the terms that best fit your own personal circumstances (as well as those regulations currently applicable to you and yours).

River cruises: soak in the views while enjoying a panoramic river cruise. Your ship departs Cochem, a gem along the Mosel, and plies past lush vineyards, half-timbered houses and the mighty Reichsburg Castle before dropping you off in the place you started one hour later.  Several departures are offered throughout the day on every day of the week except for Mondays. A family ticket for two adults and two children goes for 29 euros. For details, see the website of Köln-Düsseldorf- Rheinschiffahrt. Note day cruises along the Rhine River between Rüdesheim and St. Goarshausen have resumed as well!

Wine stands: those towns in which wine plays an important role in the social life might be missing their festivals, but that’s not stopping them from opening up wine stands on several nights of the week. The wine stand at Wiesbaden-Bieberich, located just steps away from the Rhine promenade, serves up the goodness of the grape, as do stands in Schierstein, Frauenstein, Sonnenberg and Kostheim – under applicable precautions. For a list of opening times, see info on the official Wiesbaden city homepage.

Live music: as no multi-day fests with dozens of groups across several stages are to take place in 2020, fans of live music will have to catch the odd individual, small-scale event as it comes by. A pair of Irish pubs that are cautiously adding concerts to the agenda include Hajo’s Irish pub in Rüdesheim am Rhein and the Irish Pub in Wiesbaden. Irish pubs are also slowing getting back into the business of showing Bundesliga matches and organizing quiz nights and karaoke sessions. Other places to go for that live music fix include Bernies Blues Bar in Sankt Goarhausen or the garden of the Kammgarn in Kaiserslautern. For other venues, check the Facebook page of your favorite local band to see if when and where they’re performing.

Guided tours: an unbeatable way to see the sights and learn all about the history of a place is to take a guided tour. Once evening falls, landmarks take on a whole new aura, and within the shadows, the legends of old seem that much closer. Charming Rothenburg ob der Tauber is just one city that offers a night watchman tour. Highway to hell: The night watchman's route is a tour conducted in English, and it begins promptly at 8 p.m. The man who ensured good order in times medieval is nowadays more interested in the enjoyment of his guests. The one-hour tour costs 9 euros for adults and 4.50 euros for kids. Note you’ll need to pick up tickets at the Tourist Information Center in advance, and this closes at 6 p.m. weekdays/ 5 p.m. weekends, so plan accordingly.

Museum visits: while many museums in Germany have reopened their doors, in the case of temporary exhibitions, many have been postponed until such time as the outlook seems brighter. With the prospect of a true summer vacation looking unlikely for many German families, too, some museums have launched offerings with young visitors in mind.

The Museum Wiesbaden offers a children’s workshop from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Following a tour through the museum’s collections, children between the ages of six and 12 are brought to a studio, where, under expert guidance, they can turn inspiration from what they’ve just seen into works of art. A maximum of five children are allowed to participate in a single session, and they’ll need to wear masks. The cost is 10 euros per child. It’s also worth bearing in mind this excellent museum of art and nature offers free entry to all visitors on the first Saturday of each month.

Households with kids in and around the Frankfurt area can order the “Kufti” Culture and Free Time ticket, which, at 29 euros per child, offers free entry to many of the city’s museums, as well as the fabulous Frankfurt Zoo. Moreover, entry to many of the city’s museums is free to all comers on the last Saturday of the month, for a list of participating institutions, see- Satourday – the family programme.

Swimming pools: those lazy, hazy days of summer at their very best shouldn’t lack for a place to take a cooling dip. Wiesbaden’s outdoor pools, which operate under a single umbrella, are slowly reopening many of their properties – but you’ll have to book and purchase your entry tickets in advance. The Warmfreibad and Waschmühle in Kaiserslautern also plan to open soonest— with advance bookings essential there as well.

How are you spending your time in this extraordinary summer like no others? We hope you’re keeping entertained, but much more importantly, safe from all harm!

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