• Life Abroad

    The Local Legends of Dudeldorf

    The Black Plague and a Restless Ghost Das Pestflämmchen (The Plague Flame) When the Bubonic Plague (or, as it’s also called, the Black Death or Black Plague) ravished Europe in the 14th century, it wiped out almost a third of the population.  And although it had peaked by the year 1352, there were second and even third waves of the plague all the way through to the late 1800s.  Historians think that up to 200 million people may have died during the pandemic.  Of course, back then, people didn’t understand the disease.  They didn’t know where it came from, what caused it, and so these legends started to circulate.  One…

  • Castles,  Day Trips

    Burg Sooneck and the Märchenhain

    Castles and Fairytales of Niederheimbach It’s not often that we make it out to the Rhein area because it can be a bit of a drive from the Eifel.  However, we decided to drive to Niederheimbach to see Burg Sooneck and the Märchenhain because I’d read a lot about both of them and just had to see it all in person. Let me tell you – I was not disappointed.   Burg Sooneck Burg Sooneck (pronounced zoe-neck) dates back to the late 1200s.  It sits on top of a hill, just above the village of Niederheimbach, overlooking the Rhein River. Once you get to the top of the drive, there…

  • Day Trips

    Piesport

    For a Low-Key Day on the Mosel River The Mosel area is undoubtedly one of the prettiest areas in Germany.  Fairytale castles, postcard worthy villages, vineyards as far as the eye can see…it’s beautiful.  But, with that beauty often comes stress.  One of my favorite spots on the Mosel is Cochem.  Unfortunately, it’s also a million other people’s favorite spot.  Going there stresses me out.  There’s nowhere to park, the restaurants are full, the streets are crowded.  I mean, it’s a must-see for anyone visiting the Eifel or Mosel region for the first time.  Absolutely.  But, for me at least, it’s one of those places that I keep for special…

  • Castles

    Schloss Bürresheim

    The Prettiest Castle You’ve Never Heard Of If you love visiting German castles, chances are you’ve probably already been to most of the big name places like Cochem, Burg Eltz, or even Neuschwanstein down in Bavaria.  While these are, without question, beautiful places, there are some lesser known castles that, in a lot of ways, are just as impressive. One such castle is Schloss Bürresheim – and, I have to say, this is one of my favorite castles.  It’s in the northern part of the Eifel, just outside of Mayen.  To put it into perspective… You’ll most likely have to drive through Mayen to get to Schloss Bürresheim, which is…

  • Life Abroad

    WWII Memorial: Speicher Cemetery

    Gravesite for the Innocent “That was the war.  In memory and remembrance of the days of horror –  August 9, 1944, October 19, 1944, and January 8, 1945 – on which 125 children, women, and men lost their lives to bombings.” The town of Speicher was bombed three times by the Allied Forces during WWII.  The target was a factory, which they believed was being used to build and manufacture weapons for the German army.  In their attempts to destroy the weapons, they dropped bombs on the areas which they thought were the most critical.  As it turned out, though, the factory was being used for no such purpose and…

  • Day Trips

    The Quirky City of Hillesheim

    A City of Crime and Books If you’re a fan of Clue or Sherlock Holmes, you need to make a trip to the city of Hillesheim in the Vulkaneifel area.  It’s known locally as “Die Krimihauptstadt” or “The Crime Capital” for it’s abundance of everything crime related.  No worries, though.  It’s all in good fun. We spent the day in Hillesheim recently and visited the two main stops: Das Krimihotel and Das Kriminalhaus. Both very cool. In fact, I think this is just about the coolest place in all of the Eifel! Das Krimihotel (The Crime Hotel) Das Krimihotel is like something straight out of a Hitchcock movie.  My first thought…