April Cherry Blossoms in Kitakyushu, Japan

Thanks to my friend Yoshiko for contributing these cherry blossom photos taken in Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushi-shi.

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms

April is my personal favorite month in Japan. It is usually warm and sunny and perfect for any kind of outdoor activity such as picnics, biking, sight-seeing, etc. I find the summer just too stifling hot with its subtropical climate. Try getting up at 6:20am and by the time you have started making coffee, the sweat is already running down on the back of your knees. That’s June, July and August for you in Japan.

Hanami

Hanami

I do miss this hanami (花見, lit. “flower viewing”) time in Japan. That’s pretty much one of the rare times you see Japanese eating and drinking outside. We Westerners like to sit in outdoor restaurants, such as bier gardens in Germany, but most Asians rather sit inside to avoid the sun (and aging). I personally would rather sit outside on a warm and dry summer day… and age a bit.

Mt. Sarakura, Yahatahigashi-ku in Kitakyushu-shi

Mt. Sarakura, Yahatahigashi-ku in Kitakyushu-shi

My husband is on Kyushu right now with three friends, biking around Fukuoka.

Review for Vacation Rental in Lunenburg, NS

This accommodation was the last one on our road tour through parts of Canada and the USA. Not only was it the last one, but also the best one.

We had stayed in hotels, motels, lodges, vacation homes, vacation apartments, and in a boat house. All that in 18 days.

This apartment my husband had booked via homeaway.com and it was wonderful due to its location, spaciousness, and level of comfort. I especially enjoyed the sunny deck overlooking the Bluenose Wharf.

Lunenburg, NS

This was my favorite spot in the morning. Even though the apartment is right in the center of this UNESCO town, it is a rather quiet area.

deck

This loft-style apartment is spacious and allowed even for a work place area. The bedrooms were average size, and fortunately equipped with ceiling fans. It was very hot and humid one day, which was not the usual weather, so we had been told.

sunny apartment in Lunenburg

From the deck you can see big schooners,  sailboats,  and other vessels coming into the Bluenose Harbour.

Two things I recommend while in Lunenburg are: have dinner at the restaurant The Great Dane and take a sailboat tour on the Eastern Star (just walk down to the wharf to buy your tickets). Both events  are very memorable!

sailing around Lunenburg

Sailing around Lunenburg

mussel lunch at The Great Dane

Dining at The Great Dane

 

15 Travel Sites in Germany

A while ago, the German ADAC listed 15 recommended travel sites around Germany. The emphasis was on traveling within the country for families in search of a local tropical rainforest, a ride in a Venetian gondola or nights out dancing to Caribbean music.

All this can be had in Germany.

1. Visit “Gondwanaland” (40 exotic animals and 500 kinds of plants) at the Leipzig Zoo.

www.zoo-leipzig.de  -> entrance 17 € for adults

 

  1. Reggae rhythm at Lake Chiemsee

Once a year, the city of Ãœbersee at the Chiemsee becomes the capital of Reggae music. Every year, 30.000 visitors come to enjoy Caribbean nights and days.

 

www.chiemsee-reggae.de -> day ticket 52 €

 

  1. Hollywood at the Rheinau Port

 

There is an open-air movie theater at the Rheinau Port in Cologne. Check the website for the current movies.

www.openairkino.de/koeln -> 7 €

 

  1. The best view over Stuttgart from an ice cream parlor (26 flavors).

 

www.eis-bistro-pinguin.de -> one ice cream scoop for 90 Cent

 

  1. Rock climbing in the Elbsandstein Mountains

The Sächsische Schweiz (Saxon Switzerland) is famous for its rock climbing terrain, with walls ranging from 10 m to 90 m in height. Recommended starting place, e.g. Rathen.

 

www.elbsandsteingebirge.de

 

  1. The Amazon of the North

 

Turtles, cranes, deer, and more – there is much to see on the shores of the river Wakenitz. Because of its wild nature, it is often referred to as the Amazon Jungle of the North. Best to explore by steam boat from Lübeck.

 

www.wakenitzfahrt.de -> 16 €

 

  1. Lama rides in the Taunus Mountains

You do not have to leave the country to go on a lama tour. In Usingen, the lama tour owner, Tilman Richter, offers accompanied tours throughout the Taunus mountains.

www.lama-llamera.de  -> 70 €

 

  1. Romantic Gondola ride in Bamberg

Hans Riegler is your German version of an Italian gondolier when he takes you in his gondola down the river Regnitz in Bamberg. The gondala is an original one from Venice.

 

www.gondel.info -> 60 € for 30 minutes

 

  1. Camping in dunes of the Baltic Sea

The Regenbogen – Camp in Prerow at the Baltic Sea is the only place in Germany where you can camp right at the beach.

 

www.regenbogen-camp.de -> starting at 5 €

 

  1. The best lake for fishing, swimming, and snorkeling in Germany

About 80 km north of Berlin, the Stechlinsee promises tranquility. Recommended reading: Theodor Fontane’s novel “Der Stechlin”.

No website listed

 

  1. From Munich to Space

You may count the stars! The best time to visit is in August. Consider taking a tour of the Bavarian Volkssternwarte in Munich.

 

www.sternwarte-muenchen.de  -> tour starting at 5 €

 

  1. Amusement Park Phantasialand near Brühl

This park has six different theme park sections (Fantasy, Deep in Africa, Berlin, Mexico, Mystery and China Town)

 

www.phantasialand.de -> starting at 37,50 €

 

  1. Skyscraper Tour in Frankfurt

There is a reason why the banking section in Frankfurt is often dubbed Mainhattan (Main River).

Enjoy  a guided tour, leave your acrophobia behind and visit (among others) the Commerzbank Tower, the tallest building in Europe at 300 meters.

 

www.frankfurt.de

www.frankfurter-stadtevents.de

 

  1. Paddling on Lake Constance

At Lake Constance (in German known as the Bodensee), the Surf School Wasserburg offers courses in the trendy sport activity Stand Up Paddling (SUP).

 

www.surfschule-wasserburg.de -> course starting at 29 €

 

  1. Germany’s highest mountain – The Zugspitze

In good weather, you can see up to 400 mountain peaks in the distance of 250 km. Of course, there is also a Biergarten at the top. There is also a registrar’s office, yes, you can also get married up there!

 

www.zugspitze.de    -> mountain and valley ride 48 €

My personal favorites are 6 and 10. I do love the water, but tend to stay away from heights.

Frankfurt/Main