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Awakening: the sounds of Bavaria

Who's ready for a trip to Bavaria? 

Garden lovers – head to Amsterdam next year for the Floriade

Every ten years the Netherlands hosts one of the largest horticultural shows in the world, the Floriade. The next edition will run from April to October 2022. If you want to attend NOW is the time to start planning.

Amsterdam is already one of the most popular destinations on the planet. Combine that with pent-up demand from a year of pandemic-induced travel restrictions, plus the once-every-ten-years nature of the Floriade, and this is sure to be a popular event.

One way to experience the Floriade is with a Amsterdam, Cologne and the Best of Holland & Flanders River Cruise. Wander the picture-perfect streets of medieval towns, gaze in awe at magnificent Gothic architecture, discover contemporary urban landscapes and the iconic windmills of a bygone age – this superb cruise embraces the rich and diverse cultural heritage of these northern European neighbors, inextricably linked by history and their fascinating waterways.

This 8 day cruise starts at just $2729 per person, double occupancy. Contact Bryan for a full itinerary and more details.

The Frauenkirche in Dresden, Germany

The bell-shaped dome of the Frauenkirche is Dresden's most beloved and recognizable symbol. Built in the early 18th century, the stood proudly in the center of the city until February 15, 1944. It withstood the impact of the Allied bombing of the city in World War II, the dome glowing red from the intense heat of the firestorm that followed. Two days later it finally collapsed.

Left untouched for more that 40 years by the Communists it remained a charred pile of rubble until 1994, when reconstruction began. The interior of the new church presents a bright and airy space for reflection and contemplation. The top of the dome is any walk up, and provides fantastic views of the old city center, and the surrounding areas.

Cruise the Rhine the cheap way

It's possible to see the best part of the Rhine River without taking an expensive river cruise. Short, scenic excursions run through the Rhine gorge between Mainz and Koblenz multiple times per day. Trips range from just an hour or two to a full-day excursion.

Between Bingen and Boppard you'll pass a gaggle of castles, including one in the middle of the river, and navigate through the Loreley, the narrowest part of the river. For centuries boatmen feared having to pass through this section, where many of them came to ruin after being distracted by Loreley, a beautiful maiden who sat on the cliff combing her hair (or maybe it was the swift current and rocky shoals that caused their ships to founder).

Get tips like this and more with a self-guided trip prepared by Hand Crafted Travel. 

Hohenschwangau Castle, Bavaria

Hohenschwangau Castle sits in southern Bavaria, on the border between Germany and Austria. The castle was built by Bavarian King Maximillian II in the 19th century, on the site of a fortress that had existed since at least the 12th century. His son, King Ludwig II – referred to by many as 'mad' King Ludwig, spent many days of his childhood here, dreaming of knights in shining armor and damsels in distress. Ludwig later built a bushel of castles and palaces, including the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle from which this photo was taken. The fact that Ludwig's castle sits high above, looking down on his parent's castle, may tell you something about their relationship.

If you're traveling in the area, advance reservation are essential to visit Neuschwanstein, and highly recommended for a visit to Hohenschwangau. Both castles are currently closed due to the COVID pandemic, but once they re-open reservations can be made online here.

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