U.S. Army Training Area Hohenfels, Germany

I keep records on historical places for my line of work, and among them is my collection of historical postcards.

The postcard below got repurposed, when my husband sighed heavily just before leaving for work this morning, which is rather hectic at this time of year.

I held up the postcard, offering this choice: “Would you rather go to Hohenfels or work?” His response was “Oh God, I hated that place. Even more than Grafenwöhr.”

That settled it. He left a bit happier for work this morning.

U.S. Army Training Area Hohenfels

Back then in the late 1980s, we were dating. All I know about Hohenfels are his stories and that there was… a telephone booth, which was the life line to the outside world.

So, if you ever spent most of November in Hohenfels, the largest U.S. Army Europe maneuver training area, consider yourself lucky.

That is, if you are healthy, while sitting in a warm place, with a roof over your head, sanitary installations within your home, and a warm meal within easy reach.

Hohenfels, anyone? 🙂

First Snow on the Faroe Islands in 2020

My friend Mariann, whom I had visited on the Faroe Islands in 2008, sent me this photo with the note attached ‘First snow this year’ on 19 November 2020.

I had visited the islands in May of 2008, but I imagine a visit in winter would be just as magical.

On a slightly different note: When I told students I’d be going to the Faroes (short for: Faroe Islands), they all heard Pharaohs. When I asked them to locate it on the map, the islands founds themselves in the weirdest locations. We had some fun with this geography lesson.

Three November Days in Thessaloniki, Greece

In late November, I spent three days in Thessaloniki, having booked in at the Superior One Boutique Hotel. The Hotel is very modern (compared to its surroundings), has very spacious rooms and bathrooms, and is in a great location. Being the Black Friday weekend, it was a busy time of year. If you are sensitive to noise, then ask for a room not facing the street. I myself had no problems, but traffic was definitely noisy.

I took this photo from one of the two balconies of my room.

Ionos Dragoumi Street

We had arrived in the late afternoon, and walked to the sea shore to see the sun setting.

It was a fairly short walk (1.6km) from the hotel to the White Tower. When you get there, be prepared to get hassled by mobile phone and perfume vendors scouring for easy-to-spot tourists.

In late November, they still offer some short boat trips from the White Tower towards the sea port and back again. The boat tickets are € 3, and a beverage service is also offered on board.

The photo actually shows a sail boat on tour, which we only watched from a seaside café.

Most places had out-door heaters running in the evening (daytime temp was around 15°C) for the many people who still want to eat outside.

Then there is also the heat from within, when you order a glass of ouzo. 🙂

Most traditional taverns, which serve the best local food, are located – as usual – in the little side streets. Around the Aristotelous Square, you find mostly cafés, fusion food restaurants, and many stores.

What to Do in Tallinn, Estonia in November

Tallinn is known to experience its second-wettest month of the year in November (after June). Well, we were in luck. It was a bit rainy in the mornings, but it usually cleared up towards noon.

We had flown from Frankfurt via Stockholm to Tallinn. When we arrived at the Tallinn Airport, I learned my suitcase was still in Stockholm. Oh well. This was nothing a good local beer could not fix.

This was the first sight we saw entering Old Tallinn.

Old Tallinn entrance

We stayed at the Baltic Hotel Vana Wiru, where they have a very fine restaurant. More about that and Estonian food in a different post.

By midnight, we checked into our hotel, and then went to a pub. By the time we got back, my suitcase had arrived at the hotel too. It was a bit damp from having been out on the tarmac for a while, I’d suppose.

The next day, we hit the Christmas Market several times. Old Tallinn is not that big, so you are bound to cross the market again and again on your way around. We tried different sorts of Glögg (the Baltic version of mulled wine). Interestingly enough, it was often offered in three content levels: 0% alcohol, 11% alcohol, and 21% alcohol.

Glögg’s the word!

 

Christmas market tree in Tallinn

There are many tourist shops selling their knickknacks, shops featuring amber in any possible form, and there are many cafés, pubs, and restaurants.

Amber jewelry tree

This amber jewelry tree would set you back by € 4950 – in case you were wondering.

I had read somewhere Tallinn would not be so crowded in November. It seems they still have their fair share of tourists during that time of month, especially with the start of the Christmas market.

 

In my opinion, a full day in Old Tallinn is enough. We had one and a half days, which was plenty. Well, and then, there is always more Glögg.

Spinola Bay, St. Julian’s on Malta

A week ago, I was on Malta for three sunny days. We were told, this time of year is called St. Martin’s summer. This stands for a short period in mid to late November with slightly higher temps and sunshine (in Maltese: Is-Sajf ta’).

We arrived in 26°C weather and had built up a sweat on our brow by the time the hotel transfer driver showed up. He drove like a maniac and I had trouble with the seat belt, because I’m not used to buckling in cars designed for left driving.

This was the first impression we got while riding with that maniac from Valetta airport to our destination Spinola Bay, St. Julian’s.

Entering Valetta

Our hotel, Cavalieri Art Hotel, a four-star hotel (country rating), has a seafront terrace and pool,  and … construction on the other side.

Pool am Morgen

St. Julian's, Malta

The lobby was impressive and the food was good. The breakfast buffet was very British with lots of bacon, ham, sausages, beans, and the likes. We had sunny mornings with a good breakfast sitting outside, which was the best part. The rooms are rather simple, but the maid service was excellent. With a personal touch.

Cavalieri Art Hotel lobby

We had lunch at the Restaurant Gululu, which is located along the waterfront of Spinola Bay in St Julian’s. Yes, we enjoyed the food and the view.

lunch at Restaurant Gululu, St. Julian's

Don’t let the appetizer prices fool you – the portions were rather big. Try the peppered sheep cheese and Kapunata, which is a Maltese version of Ratatouille made from tomatoes, capers, aubergines, etc.

appetizer menu on Malta

 

It takes 2:40h to fly from Frankfurt to Malta and three days there were perfect for me.

At the hotel, most guests stayed weeks at a time – most of them were either retired Brits or work-force Germans having long vacations.

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