Medieval Bad Munstereifel – A Great Cafe in a Rejuvenated Town

Bad Munstereifel View

All over Europe and beyond, the social fabric of our towns and cities have been challenged by the death of traditional High Street.  In the early 2000s the wonderful medieval town of Bad Munstereifel was faced with exactly this problem on a cataclysmic scale.  Located around 60 km south of Cologne in central Germany, despite it’s medieval beauty, the summer tourist trade was not enough to support the many local businesses.  Like many other places, the local government and it’s community had to come up some innovative solutions. Thanks to…

The Ahr Valley – Wine Heaven and Lovely Cake

Ahr Valley Wine

My favourite Mother-in-law came to stay with us in Cologne and we were looking for an interesting day trip to take her on.  When we get the chance, we love to head South East from Cologne and visit the Ahr Valley and the picturesque Eifel National Park.  These lovely picturesque parts of Germany are only 70 km from Cologne and are perfect for day trips if you are in the area.  Both places are renowned for their fabulous scenery as well as pretty towns and villages.  It also gave us…

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – The Definitive Guide to Edinburgh on New Year’s Eve

Edinburgh's Famous Castle

After spending most of our lives watching the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations on the TV we finally decided to ditch the traditional evening with Jackie Bird (it’s a Scottish thing) and actually join in ourselves.  My brother-in-law was having his 50th birthday so it seemed like the perfect excuse to just go for it.  Although we live in Germany, my wife is from Glasgow and her family still live there so the logistics of getting to Scotland pretty much took care of themselves.  However, planning to attend the various parts of…

Riding Half Naked in a Hot Tub Boat in Rotterdam

Rotterdam Canals

Rotterdam – Like Amsterdam but Cooler When most people think of visiting the Netherlands, the first place on the list is normally Amsterdam.  With visions of canals, “coffee” shops and other exciting possibilities, tourists flock to the country’s biggest city.  After a recent trip to Rotterdam I realised that there’s something really cool about the country’s second city that many tourists are missing out on.  So while the hoards are fighting their way along the canals of Amsterdam, do the smart thing and visit Rotterdam instead.  The architecture is amazing…

How to Rock Riga Like a Local Thanks to an Office Full of Latvians

View Across Riga

If You Like Latvia – Latvia Likes You Back in 2012 the Latvian Institute and the State Chancellery of Latvia came up with an innovative advertising campaign to make more people aware of their exciting country.  “If You Like Latvia – Latvia Likes You” invited visitors to like the country’s Facebook page in exchange for making bread.  Every time someone liked their page a wooden log branded with the Like symbol was put into a real Latvian bread oven.  When the oven reached the right temperature, loaves of Latvian rye bread were…

A Trip to Cesis – Because if You Like Latvia, Latvia Likes You

Cesis

Cesis – Medieval Splendor on the Gauja River Valley We recently took a fantastic trip to the Baltic countries of Estonia and Lativa.  We started off in the Estonian capital of Talliin, which we really enjoyed.  If you are interested to find out what to do in Tallinn check out the post I wrote on this part of our trip.  After a fab time in Tallinn we then took a tour to with down to Riga, the capital of Latvia.  On the way there we spent a few hours in…

A Tour from Tallinn to Riga

A Tour from Tallinn to Riga

After enjoying a wonderful 4 days in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, our next stop was Riga in Latvia.  The 2 cities are about 300 km apart and our challenge was how to find the best (and most interesting) way to travel from Tallinn to RIga with 5 of us and all our luggage.  You can take the various planes, trains and automobiles approach but for us the plane was too expensive, the train was perhaps a bit complicated (there’s no direct train) and I didn’t want to drive myself…

What to Do in Tallinn – Estonia

what to do in Tallinn

Introducing the Beautiful City of Tallinn One of the things I love about working in aviation is that I get to work with people from so many different countries.  Just in our small team of 10 people we have 8 different nationalities represented.  Working with such a diverse group of people has loads of benefits.  For one, it gives me another country to cheer for when England go out of football tournaments early.  Cheering for Iceland against France in Euro 2016 was all the more awesome doing it in a…

A Day Out in the Eifel Park, Germany

Day out eifel

A Day Out in the Eifel Park – Erlebniswelt Eifeltor Are you visiting or living in the area around Cologne or Dusseldorf?  Looking for an exciting family day out for young children, big kids or difficult fathers?  Do you want some fresh air without having to spend a fortune visiting a theme park?  What you need is a day out in the Eifel Park!  This beautiful wilderness of hills and cute little villages is barely 30 minutes drive south of Cologne.  One of our favourite places is the gorgeous village…

Things to do Near Cologne and Dusseldorf – Zollverein Industrial Complex

Zollverien

Picture the scene.  It’s a lovely Saturday morning and the sun is shining.  Thanks to the thoughtful people in our local church, the melodic (and only slightly annoying) sound of bell-ringing woke us up at 7 in the morning.  They certainly weren’t making any friends that day I can tell you!  With a traditional German bread roll breakfast eaten, it quickly became obvious that lounging round the house wasn’t going to tolerated by the rest of the family on such a fine day. Decisions, Decisions…..What to do? My wife and…