Walking the Way of the Cross in Kevelaer

There are many more walks in the Lower Rhine Plains between Krefeld and the Dutch-German border other than the two that we introduced here over the past two weeks.

The European Long Distance Trail GR8, for example, will take you from Nijmegen to Kalkar or Xanten and beyond, while an extensive network of picturesque foot paths connects the rivers Niers and Kleine Niers.

On the plus side, there are many other

Walking the Way of the Cross in Kevelaer

Hiking the Voltaire Trail in the Lower Rhine Valley

Last week, we enjoyed the baroque splendour of the landscaped gardens around the Prinz Moritz trail.

Today, we stay in the same area and (roughly) the same period of German history, moving only a few kilometres up the Lower Rhine Valley and a few decades down the line to the time of the friendship between Prussia’s most flamboyant monarch, Frederick the Great, and the French philosopher Voltaire.

Voltaire

Hiking the Voltaire Trail in the Lower Rhine Valley

Lower Rhine Valley Hiking Routes in Germany

Germany is Europe’s premier hiking country: nowhere else on the “old continent” will you be able to find a similarly large number and variety of well-designed and diligently maintained trails.

Few hikers outside of Germany, however, will be able to name a trail that does not run either through the Black Forest or along the central section of the Rhine (the one with all the castles and vineyards).

Fewer people still

Lower Rhine Valley Hiking Routes in Germany

They Drown Witches Don’t They?

As the saying goes, the past is never dead. It is not even past.

Passing through almost any town or village in Europe, you can – with a little skill and effort – still spot the stains of dried blood that have been left behind by the crimes and misdemeanours of past centuries. Perhaps you can even manage to hear the wailing of tortured souls: there are many ghosts in the streets of

They Drown Witches Don’t They?

Breath of Fresh Air in Skulptur Projekte 2017 Muenster

Art in the public arena: this has been the overriding topic of all Skulptur Projekte exhibitions in the West German town of Münster since 1977.

Every ten years – the event coincides with every other documenta at Kassel, modern art’s most famous regular showcase – cutting-edge sculptures are put on display across the historic Old Town and even in the surrounding, often park-like countryside, allowing the visitors to combine an introduction into the

Breath of Fresh Air in Skulptur Projekte 2017 Muenster

A Cemetery as One of the Wonders of the World?

There are three good reasons to visit the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno in Genoa, one of Italy’s (and Europe’s) most famous and important “cities of the dead”. (Hemingway called the Staglieno “one of the wonders of the world”, and writers as different as Friedrich Nietzsche and Mark Twain were among its admirers.)

First, architectural history. Archaeologists argue to what extent the (often surprisingly well-preserved) ancient cemeteries may have mirrored the

A Cemetery as One of the Wonders of the World?

The Easiest of Easy Hikes in the Back Country of the Italian Riviera

If you are a frequent guest of this blog, you may remember our “two towns for one day’s walk” series of short and easy hikes which connect two villages along the Riviera coast (like Ventimiglia to Bordighera or Bordighera to San Remo or from Alassio to Laigueglia).

In the mountainous back country, meanwhile, such a hike is a far more difficult proposition: nearly all of these walks would be a great

The Easiest of Easy Hikes in the Back Country of the Italian Riviera

Walking the Walk Along the Lucca Wall

In Tuscany, landscape and urbanity are so closely interwoven that they create one large tapestry of culture which is governed by consistent aesthetic, economic and historical principles. While the Renaissance town palazzi reflect the pride and the wealth of the landowning families (it is said that Florentine rulers never ate or served anything in their town homes that had not come from their own estates), the landscape – more than anywhere else in

Walking the Walk Along the Lucca Wall

Where the Spirit of Bohemian Berlin Has (Just About) Survived

Finding the essence, the true spirit or soul of a place: this is perhaps the most difficult thing to attempt on one’s travels. It is certainly the most frequent source of frustrations. We travel to a place where we have never been but of which we have heard, seen and fantasized a lot about, and rather than seeing anything that we would recognize as the “true” so-and-so, we only get

Where the Spirit of Bohemian Berlin Has (Just About) Survived

Potsdam Fast and Slow: A Daytrip Destination from Berlin

The city of Potsdam is the number one daytrip destination from Berlin.

And for good reasons, too: it is surrounded by parks and forests, contains several picturesque bodies of water and provides paths for hiking and biking.

Above all, however, it is full of history: old history – as the former residence of Prussia’s most famous monarch – and contemporary history – as the home of the world-famous

Potsdam Fast and Slow: A Daytrip Destination from Berlin