A Travellerspoint blog

Welcome to Saarbrücken !

Welcome to Saarbrücken !

Saarbrücken tells the story of two Cities, Alt Sarrbrücken and St Johann reunited in 1900 to create a metropolis with human dimensions, resolutely modern but also proud of its heritage showing in the picturesque little Streets and squares of the historic district, making it a vibrant and cosmopolitan City with many visitors coming from the neighbouring countries.

Here, in the 3 Borders Country one goes out to enjoy a drink or a dinner with friends in Germany or Luxembourg, very naturally as France, Luxembourg or Germany are well within a 30 to 45 minutes reach by car or by train.

Many people from the Lorraine region are regularly shopping in Germany and admit that many casual everyday items are better value for money accross the border.

Just like many people who live nearby, I always enjoy being in the ever effervescent atmosphere of Saarbrücken, a City in which there is always something happening and walking through its historic district with its many cafés, bistrots, restaurants and boutiques always has a little taste of holidays to it.

On this 23rd November, snow was in the air and the City of Saarbrücken was putting the final touch to its "Christkindl Markt" or Christmas Market which will bring its magic until December, 23rdall along the Streets and squares going from the Bahnhof Strasse or Railway Station St up to St Johanner Markt which is at the very heart of the historic pedestrian district.

The scent of freshly cut fir trees associated with the delicious scent coming from the roasted chestnuts sold in little black and red locomotives which are punctuating the Christmas Market and will accompany in your discovery of the Christmas Arts & Crafts ranging from glass, metal, fabrics, leather and wood items, with here and there the appetizing scent of the Flamkuchen, grilled sausages, pancakes, Apfelstrudel and of course the traditional Glûhwein or Mulled Wine to warm yourself up in the nicest possible way.

Saarbrücken "Christkindl Markt" is one of Germany's most popular Christmas Market and its star attraction is without a doubt the flying Santa Claus who magically flies over St Johanner Markt every evening at 17.00 and 19.00 with an added show at 21.00 on the week-end.

The amateur of hstory and beautiful architecture will delight in discovering the St Johann Basilica, the ancient Stifstkirche College and the magnificent Ludwigskirche Church.

Froschengasse or Frogs St, is one of the oldest and narrowest Streets of the City and features some of the most original and confidential little boutiques for the delight of the shoppers.

And to finish on a Gourmet note, I highly recommend a spot of lunch in Saarbrücken's oldest tavern and the latest one in which beer is still being brewed, a few meters away from the Froschengasse, the Steifelbräu Tavern welcomes you in a picturesque interior featuring two magnificent and imposing copper vats and offers on top of its homemade beers, traditional dishes such as the "Hoorische" or potato croquettes, "Geffilde" potato croquettes with minced meat and "Dibblelabbes" with potato and smoked bacon. A pint of beer and a main course costs just 8.30 Euros ! And please do keep in mind that portions are very generous in Germany or you may well be filled long before dessert !

And speaking of dessert, the absolute must for all sweets lovers in Saarbrücken is the Schubert Café which offers a selection of pâtisseries that would damn a Saint - as we say in France - and bears the name of the famous music composer in a city where the Streets resonate like musical partitions with names such as Beethovenstrasse, Mozartstrasse, Schumanstrasse...

Whether you visit Saarbrücken in December for its Christmas Market or in summertime to stroll along its historic district's Streets and square in bloom, the capital of the Saar Region will for sure seduce and enchant you !

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Karim

Posted by victorian67 09:02 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Welcome to the City of Trier !

Welcome to the City of Trier !

WOW ! I must admit that I am not usually short of vocabulary in French and also English after spending the past 20 years living abroad, but the interjection WOW is not the first thing to come to my mind usually, except for the City of Trier...

If Metz was only a name on a map to me until I discovered this beautiful town, the City of Trier was even more obscure bringing back distant memories of History & Geography lessons at school et a few references in some of the books I read about the 16th century in recent years.

Beautiful encounters are often the result of coincidence and this is my Friend Diane who, knowing how much I enjoy travelling and discovering the architecture and history of places - both the History with a capital H and the anecdotes that often go with it - first suggested to me a visit of the historic town of Sarrebruck which I will soon present to you in my Christmas Markets Special, and the City of Trier, both located in Germany.

And it is finally on October 24th, that I decided to go to Trier, while enjoying one of the last beautiful Autumn days with an average temperature of 19° celcius.

I mainly travel by train which is rather cheap here in a region at the crossing of 3 if not 4 countries, and which put destinations such as Metz, Nancy, Luxembourg City or Sarrebruck for a little less than a 20 Euros return train ticket. So this is by train that I travelled to Trier via Sarrebruck and I must say that the journey by train is one of the most visually beautiful and scenic that I ever made as the train makes its way winding along the German part of the river Moselle and its magnificent valley featuring woods and as the train approaches Trier, vineyards on steep slopes which overlook the Rhénanie Palatinat most famous City and make the whole region the Riesling wine paradise with great wines such as the Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr ou le Erderner Prälat. A wonderful display of unspoiled natural beauty for the hour that takes the train journey to Trier.

From the train station or "Haupt Bahnhof" I walked along the boulevard Théodore Heuss lined with late 19th early 20th century building where nothing prepare us for the wonders of a city, yet so close.

Ariived in front of the Porta Nigra, as imposing as mysterious partly due to its dominant black colour, remain of the Roman era, my attention got caught by colorful sculptures of éléphants, already spotted in Luxembourg City and which are part of the Elephant Parade association which helps and protects the Asian éléphants, exhibited in two lines in front of the Tourist Office where I took a map of the City.

And as I walked down Simeon Strasse which leads to the historic heart of the city, I noticed a few beautiful buildings painted in delicate pastel colours with ornate embellishments, and lost in my photography, I did not yet realise that I was just a few meters away of a vision of architectural beauty like I had not seen in years, although years filled with a few amazing discoveries.

Pretty front walls, a great selection of boutiques, of course tourists, and suddenly the sublime silhouette of the architectural ensemble of the Hauptmarkt Platz or Grand Market Place which arises in all its splendour, a vision of absolute beauty !

Later one, while sitting at a terrace enjoying a pint of beer, I looked at a postcard which said above a picture of the Hauptmarkt Platz "Trier Deutschlands älteste und schönste stadt", "Trier, Germany's oldest and prettiest town", and in my own humble opinion, it most certainly is.

I invite you to follow my discovery of this extraordinary City...

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Karim

Posted by victorian67 08:41 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Welcome to the City of Metz !

Welcome to the City of Metz !

Metz, the discreet ! This is how I would describe this City...

As opposed to its famous neighbour city Strasbourg, immediately recognizable through its black and white buildings, its Christmas Markets, gastronomy and traditions, the Capital of the Lorraine region is not featured much in the news or even in the documentaries highlighting the beautiful régions of France. And this is a shame really as the Lorraine region has so much to be discovered and enjoyed by the Visitor, much more than the recipe of its namesake "quiche" or even the famous Mirabelle plum.

I am of a curious nature opened towards the world, but this is only last winter while I was watching the "Come Dine with Me" show set in Metz, that I was finally able to discover the Capital of Lorraine and its magnificent cathedral, telling myself that what had been only a name on a map until then was a place that really deserved to be visited if not enjoyed.

My coming to the 3 Borders Country allowed me to first visit Metz on a rainy day of the late Spring and as I explored the City for the first time, I immediately fell in love with it, for its humane dimension, its beautiful historical and pedestrian centre which gives a permanent Holiday feel to the place with its many picturesques bistrots, cafés and restaurants, enjoyed not only by the locals but also the nearby visitors from the neighbouring countries such as Luxembourg, Germany or Belgium.

The people from the Lorraine region are very warm and welcoming and always take pride in showing you around their town, which believe me from my well travelled experience, surely deserves a visit.

The Centre Pompidou with its 2 millions visitors since opening has established its Museum of Contemporary Art as the second most popular cultural destination in France, right after Le Louvres Museum. Not to forget the "Musée de la Cour d'Or" which célébrâtes the architectural treasures of the Medieval Metz present in the historic district all around the magnificent and imposing Saint Etienne Cathedral, offering France's largest glass surface for a Cathedral with no less than 6500m2 of fine stained glass Artworks.

From a railway station wich is an architectural treasure in itself, to the banks of the river Moselle so enjoyable in Summer with their many waterside bistrots and boat rides, to a historical centre which will delight all the amateurs of fine architecture and history, the popular Opera House, the dynamic calendar of exhibitions, cultural and musical events, the multitude of cafés, bistrots, tea rooms and restaurants which are a food heaven, to a memorable shopping experience through thecobbled Streets from the confidential tiny boutique the international brands, not to forget the sublime views over the Protestant Church of the Temple Neuf on its island, Metz will seduce you and utterly delight you.

Amongst my favorite adresses of this City which never ceases to surprise and enchant me, I recommend the tiny little Boulangerie Pidolle located in the heart of the magnificent Place Saint Louis and its esplanade, which makes the best Pâtés Lorrains in town, the fruits & vegetables shop "Prime Primeur" located nearby, the tea room "Namur" which célébrates its 150 anniversary this year and offers the yummyest selection of pastries ever, and finally the "Assiette au Bœuf" restaurant which offers without a doubt, the best view over Metz and the river where the friendly Henriette welcomes you for a very reasonable average ticket of less than 20 Euros per person including a starter ( wallnut salad with Foie Gras ) and a main course ( Fillet of Beef sauce Paradise with French fries ), a Must to discover.

I invite you to discover the City of Metz through my visit which took place an on exceptionally warm and sunny day, on October 19th with an average temperature of 22° celcius, real indian summer feel walking through the gardens of Place de la Comedie and having lunch outside on the terrace, by the water...

Karim

City of Metz

City of Metz

City of Metz

City of Metz

City of Metz

City of Metz

City of Metz

City of Metz

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Posted by victorian67 02:23 Archived in France Tagged metz Comments (0)

Welcome to Luxembourg City !

Welcome to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and its Capital Luxembourg City !

I will explore the 3 Borders Country starting with the capital of the country in which I am settled since the late Spring, Luxembourg City, very little known place yet so close and neighbour to France, Germany and Belgium.

I invite you to follow me on a journey of discovery of a brand new environment for me, its history, colours and traditions.

Despite of its relatively small size - 2.586 square kilometers for 500 000 inhabitants - the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is an authentic state with a rich and eventful history. Located in the heart of Europe, between France, Belgium and Germany, it has contributed to the great European évolutions.

The eventful past of the Grand Duchy is a real condensed of the history of Europe. In the Middle Ages, its Princes wore the crown of the Holy Roman German Empire. During the more recent history, its fortess was a major goal in the dispute between the major powers of the time.

Before finally gaining independance in the 19th century, the Luxembourg belonged to a succession of Counts, then the Dukes of Luxembourg, then the Dukes of Burgundy, Spanish Kings, French Kings, Austria Emperor and finally the Dutch Kings.

My first escapade was on a summerlike day with températures reaching +33° C. on this 05th September 2013 with a summer atmosphere on the terraces with people sipping cool drinks. A different atmosphere for sure in months to come when winter will have settled but nevertheless an enjoyable one

Here are my very first pictures of the 3 Borders Country with a visit of Luxembourg City starting from its beautiful Train Station ...

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Karim

Posted by victorian67 12:16 Archived in Luxembourg Tagged city luxembourg Comments (0)

Welcome to the 3 Borders Country Travel Blog !

Luxembourg - France - Germany and Belgium

Greetings from Luxembourg !

My name is Karim, I am 46yo, a Hotel GM and I live in Luxembourg.

I am French and I have worked in hospitality for the past 24 years and my job took me in places as different as New-Zealand, Australia, Canada, England and more recently Luxembourg.

I love travelling and discovering new exciting places and learn about their History, traditions and People.

A little anecdote is that I was lucky enough to live in Summer for a few years as I worked in south of France from March to October and in Russell, Bay of Islands, New-Zealand from October to March. Since then, I must admit that "old winter" came back to me...

My interests include travelling at home and abroad, creating miniatures on a 1/12th scale - mostly with the Victorian times in mind - reading, movies, walking, cooking and renovating my home in France.

Settled in Luxembourg since this Spring, I have embarked on a journey of discovery of what I have called the 3 Borders Country of which I knew very little about until recently and which I tremendously enjoy discovering keeps enchanting my senses with its variety, the beauty of its scenery and the wealth of its history and traditions.

I, who used to think for so many years and excitement and emotion were about "long haul" journeys, have finally discovered that beauty often lay on your very door step for you to enjoy.

I will be delighted to take you along with me on my "escapades" around the 3 Borders Country which include Luxembourg and its neighbours France, Germany and Belgium with a short presentation of each place spiced up here and there with a few little anecdotes and pictures.

Thank you for following my Escapades around the 3 Borders Country Travel Blog !

Karim

Posted by victorian67 11:17 Archived in Luxembourg Tagged city luxembourg Comments (0)

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