Tag Archives: Germany

Thoughts on 2010 FIFA World Cup: H.E. Walter Stechel, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany

What is your message to the football team and what are your views on South Africa hosting the FIFA World Cup?

Despite having to deal with recent tragedies and unexpected injuries, I know the German team will unite and play to their fullest potential. I wish the team the best of success and join in with fans from across the globe who will cheer them on.

Similar to when Germany had the opportunity to showcase itself  to the world in 2006, I am sure that visitors will experience and explore the magnificence of  South Africa like never before.

How far do you think your team will advance?

Going by the “laws of nature“ in terms of Germany’s recent performances: 2006 FIFA World Cup – 3rd place, 2008 European Championship – 2nd Place, we should become World Cup Champions in 2010!

Who according to you are the top 3 favourite teams to win the FIFA World Cup in South Africa?

Italy, as defending champions, should not be underestimated. Brazil is always counted among the favourites. And of course, Germany! One should not forget, however, the home-advantage for the participating African teams.

Who is your  favourite to win the “Golden Boot” award?

Either Lionel Messi or Arjen Robben, who had a fantastic season with Bayern Munich FC –  and keep an eye on Stefan Kiessling!

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How do you mix Fairy Tales, Fast Cars and over 5000 Kinds of Beer? (Step 1)

1. Land at Munich Airport (MUC)


If you think of an airport, you would never expect a shopping El Dorado, a relaxing and wellness temple, a culinary trip around the world, an entertaining day playing volleyball or ice-skating.

Munich Airport has it all. The Bavarian airport has achieved the number four position in the World Airport Awards 2010, securing its status as one of the world’s best airports.

Nowadays travelling can be very exhausting. And a stress-free journey is what everyone desires. You don’t have to walk miles to reach your gate and you don’t feel encased without daylight. Munich Airport guarantees a comfortable atmosphere. Wide and airy spaces, daylight wherever you go. Find your way easily: transfer passengers will experience one of the fastest and most efficient terminals worldwide with a minimum connecting time of only 30 minutes to around 150 continental and 20 domestic destinations.

The 24 hour service centres in both Terminals are there to assist with all passengers needs.

Find yourself in a family friendly atmosphere with several children’s play areas including the child daycare “airberlin Kinderland” which is connected to Europe’s most modern McDonalds.

But this is not all. Passengers who prefer a personal assistance can use the airport’s “Meet & Assist Service” which is available in different languages.

(E-mail: meetandassist@munich-airport.de)

Munich Airport offers free relax zones equipped with W-LAN and flat-screen TVs. And don’t forget to enjoy your free coffee, tea and newspaper at the gates.

Forget travelling for a while and experience the diversity of shops and events at Munich Airport. Why not have a beach volleyball match in the middle of the airport? You can do that in August between two flights. Or go ice-skating in December while being surrounded by a real Christmas market. The Munich Airport Center offers events and entertainment all year long. Don’t miss the soccer World championship at Munich Airport at the public-viewing.

Go shopping like in the city! In about 150 shops, passenger will find a mix of national, international and local brands. After a shopping marathon, Munich Airport offers time to relax at the wellness area “Be Relax”, at the Cosmetic Institute or the Brants Barber & Shops.

Need a rest? Then you can rent a napcab per hour near gate 32 in Terminal 2. These cabins offer room to relax, to sleep and are equipped with music, a workstation with Internet access and a TV.

For the culinary heart, Munich Airport offers you a trip around the world. Not to be missed the world’s only airport brewery Airbräu with a beautiful outdoor beer garden.

But what to do if you have a connecting time of a few hours? Munich Airport offers an adjusted stop over guide. Stopover suggestions with vouchers for discounts (valid with flight ticket) can be found on www.munich-airport.com/viamuc

See you at Munich Airport!

The Hidden Treasures of Germany: Schwerin, Wismar and Rostock


7N/ 8D  – Hamburg | Schwerin | Wismar | Rostock | Berlin

Hamburg: Aroma of the Great Wide World

The harbour of Hamburg is one of Europe’s greatest shipment centres.  From nutmeg to coffee, the aromas from around the world guide you with every step throughout the city. Magnificent palaces, noble villas, elegant parks and numerous water routes dominate the city. The quality and variety of goods available in the shopping districts tempts all those who walk past.

DAY 1 (3-star accommodation; upgrade available)

  • Collect 1-Day Hamburg Card, includes free public transport in the Greater Hamburg area and discounts on about 130 tourist attractions

Optional Activities:

  • Miniatur Wunderland, the world’s biggest model railway exhibition
  • Reeperbahn, the famed nightlife district

DAY 2

  • 2-hour city tour of Hamburg by coach (audio-guide)
  • 1-hour cruise on Hamburg’s Alster Lake (audio-guide)

DAY 3

  • Departure from Hamburg Main Station

Schwerin: Pearl of the Lakes

A profusion of water and forests, cultural treasures and a fascinating old quarter are the hallmarks of Schwerin. Its remarkable fairy-tale castle in a fabulous setting is the town’s most famous landmark. Schwerin is the ideal location for a relaxing holiday with plenty to do.

DAY 3 (Continued)

  • Check-in to Crowne Plaza Hotel Schwerin (4-stars); Includes breakfast and 3-course dinner (Indian-orientated food, vegetarian food should be booked in advance)
  • Visit Schwerin’s fairytale castle which is also the regional capital’s most famous   landmark and the seat of the regional parliament; In the castle museum, visitors          can tour the state rooms in all their historic grandeur; Includes entrance to castle          and exhibitions as well as a complimentary English guidebook about castle per   room; All exhibitions throughout castle are available in English

DAY 4

  • Departure from Schwerin Main Station

Wismar: UNESCO World Heritage Site by the Baltic Sea

Medieval Wismar, with 8 centuries of history, is the only town of its size on the southern Baltic that remains virtually intact. The architectural heritage of the market square, the three monumental Gothic churches and other impressive monuments contribute to the World Heritage Site’s inimitable appeal.

DAY 4 (Continued)

  • Check-in to Steigenberger Hotel Stadt Hamburg (4-stars); Includes breakfast and dinner (Indian-orientated food, vegetarian food should be booked in advance)
  • Sightseeing tour on the bus with an English-speaking presentation
  • Ascent of the impressive tower of St. Mary with its height of 81 metres, completely built from red bricks (guided tour for safety reasons with English-speaking guide)
  • Individual visit to the exhibition on Red Brick Gothic in the rooms of St. Mary,   including a stereoscopic film-presentation on how they built these impressive red-Brick-Cathedrals in medieval times; explanations and presentation in English language (exhibition closes at 18.00 hrs., April-October)

DAY 5

  • Harbour cruise with nice views of town and traditional sailing ships along the      morning sites of the Old Harbour, a nice experience with a maritime flair       (English presentation on board)
  • Individual walk from the Old Harbour back to the hotel, final impression of the   historic city centre with numerous shopping facilities
  • Departure from Wismar Main Station

Rostock: Hanseatic Town on the Baltic

Neighbouring the seaside resort of Warnemünde, Rostock has a diverse cultural scene. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the historical centre with typical north German brick architecture and the maritime flair of old houses, a large beach, a lighthouse and the old fisherman port.

DAY 5 (Continued)

  • Check-in to Hotel Neptun (5-stars) with direct sea view from all rooms; Includes breakfast and dinner (Indian-orientated food,vegetarian food should be booked in advance); Includes use of ARKONA SPA (indoor-swimming pool with seawater, sauna, fitness facilities and much more)
  • Visit to Warnemünde, a 100-metre wide sandy beach with a promenade, a lighthouse, fish market, picturesque little fishermen’s cottages, traditional fish restaurants, fishing boats and sailing boats on the Alter Strom waterway; Bicycle hire is included as you cycle along the Baltic coast – one of the most popular cycling routes in Germany

DAY 6

  • Enjoy a coach tour with English presentation of the Gothic, Renaissance and baroque gabled houses of Rostock’s historic city centre; these are impressive reminders of the wealth enjoyed by Rostock’s merchants in the Middle Ages, as are the mighty churches; the astronomical clock draws visitors into the Gothic basilica; just a stone’s throw away is the town hall with its baroque frontage
  • Departure from Rostock Main Station

Berlin: Open Around the Clock

With 150 theatres, 170 museums, 300 private art galleries and 7000 pubs and restaurants, Berlin offers superlative experiences. The Kurfürstendamm offers 3.5 kilometres of shopping opportunities. Berlin is the focal point of politics, entertainment and cultural life in Germany.

DAY 6 (Continued) (3-star accommodation; upgrade available)

  • Collect 48-hour Berlin Welcome Card including unlimited travel on public transport covering tram, underground, bus services and local train services; discounted admission fees including free entries to 140 top sights of Berlin; city map; public transport map

DAY 7

  • Full-day hop-on/hop-off city sightseeing tour with audio guide

DAY 8

  • Departure from Berlin Airport (via Frankfurt/ Istanbul) to Mumbai

Discover the Hidden Treasures of Germany with…

12 Months, 12 Destinations

JANUARY: Australia

Australia – the land of kangaroos and koalas – is home to range of tourism icons from one of the most scenic ocean drives to the only natural wonder visible from the moon.

Apart from its picturesque beaches and iconic Opera House, Australia is known for its natural miracle – Uluru (also known as Ayer’s Rock). This huge monolith that changes colour according to the time of the day is also the world’s largest single rock mass. Then there is Vivid Sydney, the festival of colour and music in which the Sydney Opera House lights up like never before. Swim with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef or catch a crab at Terranora Lakes. Explore the exhaustive flora of the world’s oldest rainforest, Daintree or snorkel amidst vibrant coral and exotic fish at the world’s largest living organism. So refreshing and charming is the Great Barrier Reef that taking care of Hamilton Island off the reef coast has been mooted as the “Best Job in the World.”  And when you are done with everything, head northwest where Roebuck Bay offers you the romantic spectacle of a lifetime. On full moon nights at low tide, the moonlight gets so reflected on the undulating land and sea that a magical staircase leading to the moon appears! It is easy to fall in love.

FEBRUARY: New Zealand

From bungee jumping to zorbing to the more traditional activities of skiing and trekking, New Zealand has some of the best adventure sports facilities in the world.

For those keen on adventure, New Zealand is a heaven without limits. Taupo offers the opportunity to jump with a friend from a height of 5000 metres. Mount Cook has the fascinating provision of helicopter landing right on top of a glacier – an unforgettable experience. As if this was not enough, two of its cities are the world’s premier adventure sites – so much so that Queenstown is called the Adventure Capital of the World and Auckland is billed as the City of Sails. Apart from the world of adventure, New Zealand also offers some exotic experiences. Rainbow Springs in Rotorua boasts of a Kiwi encounter. Waitomo has underground caves which are illuminated naturally by thousands of glowworms. And the southernmost point of New Zealand, Stirling Point boasts of a “hundred percent pure” snow mountain experience not found anywhere else.

MARCH: Egypt

Egypt is not only home to the only surviving wonder of the ancient world.  The resort town of Sharm El Sheikh is world famous for diving and snorkeling

Does Egypt conjure up images of monuments thousands of years old? Cairo has so many tombs of the ancient pharaohs that a part of it is called the “City of the Dead”. Luxor, regarded as the largest open air museum in the world, is an entire city that has battled 4000 years of time. Abu Simbel is a millennia old temple carved out of a single piece of rock. Mount Moses was where the Ten Commandments were first spoken. But not many know that Egypt also has a lot to offer someone who wants a laidback holiday. With splendid beaches at Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh and the Pearl of the Mediterranean – Alexandria, along with a lazy trek through the Black Desert, it is a mixed bag.

APRIL:  Spain

Being a land of diversity – from bull fights to major sporting events to fine wines and diverse cultures to the most unusual festivals – Spain is a country worth exploring.

They say there is not just one Spain, but many. There is the Spain of Barcelona with its stunning Gaudi architecture and smart shopping streets. There is the Spain of historical landmarks like the world’s oldest lighthouse in Galicia, the medieval wonder of the Mosque of Cordoba and the romantic Moorish palace of Alhambra. There is the Spain of adventure with the active volcano treks of Tenerife and both skiing and sunbathing in the same place in Andalusia. The Spain of Ibiza with its dazzling beaches and exotic resorts is a different world altogether; the island is mooted as the Party Capital of the World. And then there is the most unforgettable Spain, that cannot be missed – the Spain of Seville’s amazing pre-Easter fiesta, Madrid’s unique bull-festival and Buñol’s ravishing La Tomatina food fight festival.

MAY: Turkey

Istanbul is the European Capital of Culture for 2010 and also the only city in two continents. It hosts the F1 Grand Prix in May 2010 and is the ideal hub to visit various wonders of Turkey.

For anyone wanting to uncover a world of ancient civilizations, Turkey is heaven. From the ruins of Troy to the Roman remnants of Ephesus and from the ancient mosque of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to the sculptures of Mount Nemrut, Turkey is soaked in history. Yet it also has unique experiences to offer. Experience what it would be like to live in a cave hotel at Cappadocia. Raft along the rapids of Çoruh River – one of the fastest in the world. Gaze in wonder at the cotton castle of Pamukkale – hot springs naturally filled up in spectacular rock formations. Trek up Mount Ararat which legend says was the only place high enough for Noah’s Ark to land. And lap it all up with a historic Blue Voyage cruise along the Turkish Riviera. And last but not least, experience the city at the crossroads of cultures and continents as well as being a European Capital of Culture in 2010, Istanbul.

JUNE: South Africa

South Africa – the Rainbow Nation – has hosted a myriad of Indian experiences from Bollywood shoots, fashion extravaganzas, IPL and now hosts FIFA 2010 – the biggest sporting event of the year.

South Africa boasts of the Big Five of Africa’s greatest wild animals – the lion, leopard, elephant, wild buffalo and rhinoceros – all of which can be found roaming oblivious to the ruckus of the world in their natural habitats at Kruger National Park, one of the most beautiful nature reserves of the world. Even outside of Kruger, South Africa offers unique glimpses into the lives of animals, rarely found elsewhere. Stroll with penguins at the Cape Peninsula. Cage dive at Gansbaai to experience the thrill of being within inches of perilous white sharks. Pet a cheetah near Cape Town. And when done with it, explore the other fascinating facets of this country which is also well known for its beautiful cities and archaeological marvels. The city of Cape Town has been rated the “World’s Best City” by London newspaper, Telegraph. Durban boasts of Africa’s largest shopping mall. Vredefort Dome offers a peek at the biggest meteor crater on Earth. And Sterkfontein presents the fascinating opportunity of seeing 2 million year old human bones being excavated.

JULY: Scandinavia

The National Geographic channel has rated the Fjords of Norway as the best place to be in the world and Denmark and Sweden are ranked amongst the top 5 happiest nations – thus making Scandinavia a must visit for all.

Scandinavia provides a refreshing world in summer when it is known as the “Land of the Midnight Sun.”There is also the beauty of snow-peaked mountains from the Bergen to Kirkenes Cruise in Norway that the Fjords through which the cruise passes have been declared the “Best Place in the World” by National Geographic. Not far behind is the Copenhagen Cruise which is Europe’s leading cruise destination. An interesting fact about Scandinavia is that it offers natural attractions like no other country owing to its cold climate. Travel on a reindeer sled as you watch the Northern Lights or watch polar bears at Svalbard. Feel how it is at Andenes, a place where the sun never sets. Live in the world’s largest ice hotel which is rebuilt from fresh ice every year in the Swedish Lapland. Simulate the experience of skiing and jumping down 60 metres of slope from one of the world’s oldest ski-jumps. And then of course there is something about the Scandinavian Christmas that no one can beat – meeting the real Santa at the Arctic Circle.

AUGUST: France

Fashion, gastronomy, the fastest train, fine beaches, castle stays, wine and romantic river cruises make France a country that appeals to all.

The Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum are so popular throughout the world that France hardly needs any introduction. Not many know however that France also offers many more unforgettable experiences that have made it the most visited tourist destination in the world; Like barging along the river Seine at twilight as the majestic Eiffel Tower slides by; Or living in a 200 year old heritage castle in the Loire Valley; Or tasting one of the world’s best champagnes in the region of Champagne in northern France; or forgetting the cares of the world while relaxing on a beach at the French Riviera; Or gasping with excitement while travelling in the world’s fastest train from Paris to Lille; Or enjoying tantalizing delicacies served in chivalrous French fashion at Lyon – the gastronomical Capital of the World; Or witnessing the Wonder of the Western World that Mont St Michel is regarded as; Or taking part in one of the world’s largest Christian pilgrimages at Lourdes; France is a must-visit destination in 2010.

SEPTEMBER: Germany

2010 is a year of several celebrations for Germany – from the Passion Play to 200 years of Beer Fest, 300 years of Porcelain and the 200th birthday of Robert Schumann, Germany is a nation of unity amongst diversity.

2010 is definitely the year to visit Germany. Along with the Ruhr Valley being a European Capital of Culture, the “world’s biggest party” Oktoberfest will also celebrate its 200th anniversary in Munich when more than six million people are expected to surrender themselves to a festival of food, shopping and beer. The legendary Oberammergau Passion Play which takes place every 10 years will also occur in 2010. To make it even better, shop at Europe’s best Christmas Market in Nuremberg. Traverse the scenic locales of the Romantic Road and Black Forest. Experience the magic of the fairy tale castle of Neuschwanstein. Stroll through the biggest cities of the world in miniature at Hamburg. Taste a slice of history at the tallest church in the world at Ulm. And be mesmerized at nature’s diversity as you take a peep at 1400 species of animals at Berlin Zoo – the largest in the world.

OCTOBER: Central Europe

Central Europe – still to adopt the Euro currency – is a great value for money region comprising of the Visegrád quartet of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

If all of Europe’s prime temptations were bundled up and offered at a discounted price, we would be talking of Central Europe. The Czech Republic abounds with castles hundreds of years old including the largest castle in the world – the Prague Castle. Prague itself boasts of a subtle blend of a glorious past and excellent modern infrastructure and is aptly called the City of a Hundred Spires. And as if to make up for the elegant charms of Paris, there is Budapest – the Paris of the East. Relax in the lap of nature at Masurian Lake district which boasts 2000 lakes. Trek at the Tatra Mountains, long favoured by Bollywood to portray natural beauty. Enjoy adventure sports at the world’s leading green resort AquaCity in Slovakia or dine at Europe’s oldest restaurant in Krakow.

NOVEMBER: Austria

From Sachertorte to Mozart’s birthplace to imperial palaces, Austria is truly a class apart.

Just over 250 years ago, Austria’s love affair with music began when Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. It continues till today at Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg – which hosts the world famous Salzburg Festival of Music every year. It is therefore not a surprise that the Academy Award-winning musical “Sound of Music” was shot almost entirely in Austria. But music is not Austria’s only asset. Its capital Vienna offers such a varied cocktail of architectural specimens, shopping and cuisine that it is often called “Europe’s Main Street.” Austria is also home to the world’s most expensive crystal – the Swarovski crystal which has an entire museum dedicated to it near Innsbruck. Nature too has been very kind with this cultural paradise. The Hohe Tauern National Park is the Alps’ largest Nature Reserve while Eisriesenwelt has the world’s largest ice caves. And for the historically inclined there is the archeological park of Carnuntum where a 2000 year old Roman city has been reconstructed.  To add to all this is the unique Museum of the Future in Linz completed in 2009 which depicts the state of Earth decades from now.

DECEMBER: Jordan

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is easily accessible with visas on arrival for Indians and offers a truly royal experience.

If one phrase had to describe what Jordan has to offer, it would be “The Land of History, Mystery and Mythology.” At Jerash in northern Jordan, actors immaculately dressed as Roman Warriors enact a stunning display of ancient civilizations with fast paced Chariot Races and Gladiator Fights. The desert castles of the east are some of the finest and earliest examples of Islamic art in the world. Incidentally one of the holiest places for Christians around the world is in Jordan too. “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” is where Jesus was baptized. For a cocktail of adventure and history, follow Lawrence of Arabia’s trail in the Wadi Rum desert or explore the Treasury of Indiana Jones fame at Petra. And to relax royally as the kings of yore, take a dip in the 1700 year old Turkish bath at Aqaba. Interestingly, as if to add a modern touch to its glorious historical heritage, Jordan’s capital Amman has one of the best collections of super luxury vintage cars in the world belonging to the royalty and are now part of the Royal Automobile Museum.

“7 Things We Discovered About Germany”

When Kaushik and Sona planned their European holiday, they made sure to include Switzerland. How could they not, right? They added Austria because they loved the film Sound of Music and the music of Mozart. Wanting to include one more destination, they asked about Italy, France and the Czech Republic.

“How about Germany?” suggested their tour consultant of www.namastegermany.com.

“Germany?” they replied hesitatingly.

Six months later, the misconceptions have been replaced with unforgettable experiences and Germany continues to hold a special place in their hearts. Read on as they share their memories of the friendliness, hospitality, fantastic wine and the biggest party on the planet.

Create your own unforgettable experience of Germany with…


Website: www.namastegermany.com

Email: info@compacttravels.com

300th Anniversary of Meissen Porclain

In the early 19th Century, Augustus the Strong of Saxony ordered his subjects to develop a method of manufacturing gold. After much experimenting, scholars created the first European hard porcelain, which came to be known as “white gold.” The porcelain factory in Meissen was established at Albrechtsburg Castle in June 1710, before being moved to a new production site at Meissen-Triebischtal between 1863 and 1865. On 23rd January 2010, the city of Meissen celebrated 300 years to the day since Augustus the Strong signed the company’s founding charter.

The factory’s Porcelain Museum, demonstration workshops and exhibition hall give visitors a chance to experience 300 years of porcelain manufacturing with a number of spectacular exhibits and guided tours in several languages. There are also concerts in the exhibition hall, home to the world’s first organ with porcelain pipes.

The foremost venue for celebrations is the Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection) in the Zwinger museum complex in Dresden. It is the largest porcelain museum in the world with over 20000 pieces including around 8000 made by Meissen. Around 2000 porcelain pieces, including plates, cups, figurines, and the famous Dragoon Vases are on permanent display. A Meissen-porcelain Glockenspiel (a percussion instrument arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano) plays in the gate tower outside the museum.

Oberammergau Passion Play 2010

The Oberammergau Passion Play has been performed since 1634 as a tradition by the inhabitants of the village of Oberammergau, Bavaria. The town’s residents vowed that if they were to be spared from the effects of the bubonic plague ravaging the region, they would perform a play every ten years thereafter depicting the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth.

About half of the 5300 inhabitants of Oberammergau are expected to take part in this year’s Passion Play. The villagers will bring to life the story of Jesus of Nazareth for over 500000 visitors from around the world. The play begins with Jesus entering Jerusalem, continues with His Death on the Cross and finishes with the Resurrection. Performances are scheduled between mid-May and early October beginning at 14:30 and ending at 22:30 with a three-hour interval in between.