The Buchenwald Memorial isn’t a place you can visit and say you had a great time, or even a good time. It is meant to be an educational reminder of what happened in the history of Germany. Why did we go there? We were in Germany and able to add it to our itinerary. My grandfather was part of the American forces that relieved the prisoners from the Nazis and I wanted to see it, after growing up hearing him talk about it.
Heinrich Heine said it best: Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen. (Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.)
This is particularly true with the Nazis.
Hitler soon had over 20,000 books burned in 1933 in Berlin. The students, along with storm troopers, pitched thousands of books into a bonfire while giving the Hitler arm-salute and singing Nazi anthems. Authors like Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Ernest Hemingway, Helen Keller, Karl Marx, and even H.G. Wells were considered “un-German”.
It wasn’t long before “un-German” people were herded together and sent to their deaths.
As a former concentration camp, Buchenwald is a place of mass suffering and death with over 55,000 souls (estimated) perishing there. It was not a death camp, but a work camp that started with political prisoners, homosexuals, and prisoners of war. There were issued different colored triangles to attach to their uniforms so it was easy to see at a glance which group they belonged to. Soon, the Jews were added. They were all forced to work and were often hired out through SS operated sub-camps or to work in the quarries. If they became too weak to work? Off to a death camp they went.
The Germans in charge of building the Buchenwald camp were brilliant. (I am not condoning what they did but was surprised at their ingenuity) They found a large section of forest and, using prisoner labor, carved out the center of it to build what they needed. The camp was literally hidden in plain sight. Soon it was full of buildings, dog kennels, a crematorium and warehouses. The dogs were valued at 2-3 times more in the budget than the inmates and treated much better between housing, food and care.
Across from the cafe at the site is a place to watch a 30 minute movie that really fills you in on the history of the location. You learn about the building, running and preservation of this camp. I suggest seeing it before you walk the grounds.
When you first go through the camp gate – you will notice the clock tower that doesn’t seem to work. The time is frozen to when the American forces relieved that camp. There is a debate over whether or not they camp was actually relieved or not as the prisoners overtook the remaining few German soldiers that hadn’t fled when the American forces were headed their way. Basically, the Americans came across 20,000 emaciated survivors and tried to sort everything out.
If you visit:
To preserve the character of the site as a memorial and as a place of burial, we ask that you observe a number of guidelines. Please be sure to wear appropriate attire. Wearing clothing and symbols that are generally recognized to be manufactured or marketed within the right-wing extremist milieu is prohibited. We were VERY tired the day our group was heading there and caught Miss Sarah’s shirt before we left. It was a Bethel Horizon’s shirt that read: Best. Camp. Ever. We had enough time for her to change her shirt or she would have turned it inside out to wear.
Berlin is a city of contrasts being fairly recently reunified. To think about an incredibly war-torn city being divided in half, at first with barbed wire fences and later with an actual wall, it is amazing what the citizens have accomplished.
Reminders of the 87-mile-long Berlin Wall are still seen everywhere in the city, whether it is actual sections of the wall still up for a reminder or the double wide brick line that travels through the town where it used to stand.
From 1961 to 1987 families were divided, friends were gone and the divide of economic and social complexities were growing. The Soviets really didn’t care about restoring or investing in their new holdings, in fact many places were “looted” and sent back to the mother land. Everything from fancy statues at town halls to relics in churches seemed to disappear to the Kremlin or were hidden in the underground to save for the future.
The Historic Brandenburg Gate that Napoleon admired was shut down behind the Berlin wall and impassable. Commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm, the Brandenburg Gate was designed by architect Carl Gotthard Langhans back in 1791. The monument is crowned with the sculpture of the Quadriga, a four-horsed chariot driven by Victoria, the winged goddess of victory. The locals refer to it as Nike, the Goddess of Victory. Napoleon admired the sculpture and absconded with it when he left Germany. It was finally returned and stands magnificently atop the restored monument.
One interesting things: most of the trees in the city are the same height. Berlin was heavily bombed during World War II and all the replanting was done about 70 years ago.
We checked out the Reichstag parliament and the Berlin Cathedral and even saw Madame Chancellor’s new digs. We chose not to peruse the Holocaust memorial, as we had been to Buchenwald. Miss Sarah just turned 11 and the Holocaust is a pretty heavy topic to spend a lot of time on for a person her age.
Then we hit the German Historical Museum to visit the National Exhibitions for the Reformation Jubilee: “The Luther Effect: 500 Years of the Reformation”. You will hear me talk more about Martin Luther and the Reformation next week as it was the catalyst between medieval times and the Renaissance. The museum still sports it’s war ravaged statues out front, as a reminder of what they have survived.
We did stop at a McDonald’s of all places, for dinner. I swear, if the McDonald’s in this country were run like the Germany ones, Culver’s would be out of business! With stricter standards for consumables than we have, even Orange Fanta is amazing with its lack of orange food coloring and enhanced flavorings. A selection of 7 different salads to try, and all are hand tossed before being served to you. Let’s talk about the dessert station: I still find it hard to believe that the best chocolate cake I have ever had come from here and was just under 2 Euros. Scrumptious down the to the chocolate gnache topping, it was amazing.
We just scratched the surface of this incredible city with our one day there, but could have easily spent a full week to explore. The Eastern side has worked so hard to recover over the last 30 years, it really is quite a thing to see.
While we were in Eisleben (ice-lee-ben), we stayed at the Hotel Graf von Mansfeld. It’s a 500-year-old town castle in the center of the “old town” section. Built around 1501, as the town castle of the Count of Mansfeld, it offers spacious rooms that would be considered suites in hotels in the USA….with a comfortable “great room”, large bedroom, entry room and bathroom.
It’s on the historical market square, right across from the statue of Martin Luther, who had stayed there at the beginning of the 16th century. Just like back then, you will find no air conditioning, but the screen-less windows open up and let you enjoy the cooler evening air at night. Surprisingly, we were bug free with not a mosquito to be found. With over 50 rooms that are charmingly decorated with a mix of past and present, they can easily accommodate groups.
Breakfast was included in our stay and soared beyond expectations! They salad sections sported everything from caprese salad to deviled eggs topped with caviar. The smoked salmon was often a fast mover. A delightful selection of fresh bread and rolls, soft and hard-boiled eggs, and a large variety of sausages. Add the yogurt bar, fresh fruit and juices and you couldn’t possibly leave there still hungry!
The dinners we had there were three courses and just as delightful as the breakfasts. One night started with a beef consume that sported juiliened veggies and a few cheese cubes, continued with bacon wrapped pork tenderloin over a bed of pan sautéed veggies and then wrapped up with a raspberry-marscapone torte. Oh. My. Stars. It just got better from there. Everything was freshly prepared in their kitchen shortly after ordering.
They do have a beautiful patio garden that you can choose to sit in to relax and enjoy. Dining in Europe is NOT like the fast paced meals of the states, it is at least a 2 hour event.
The hotel lobby is old-fashioned with the mail-cubby slots in the wall behind the desk. That is also where the room keys were kept. Keys were attached to a giant brass door knob shaped weight and stamped with their corresponding room number on them.
That is where the problem comes in.
One of our friends was robbed. We had several day trips and were gone for 6-8 hours at a time. There wasn’t really a cubby for her room key and they left it on the desk a lot. Easy to help yourself too and it clearly states what room it is for. Whether it was a crime of opportunity or hotel staff…we will never know. They came back after one of our outings and their money envelope from the bank had a torn corner and was missing 140 Euros. (About $200). The thief was clever and didn’t take ALL the money, hoping they would think they might have spent it.
Quickly reported to the manager, he insisted that they must have left their room unlocked – that his staff has been there for at least 17 years and that they have never had a problem. We kind of think there might be no problems because he refused to acknowledge them…
She DID get money back on the last day, just before we left. The manager made it VERY clear that it was from his own pocket and was expecting to not see the incident reflected on Trip Advisor or any such site. Sorry, I travel a lot and that was just rude. It should have been remedied much sooner and without the snarky commentary.
- Good: food, decor and location.
- Bad: No air conditioning
- Ugly: Theft and management of an incurred problem.
If you find yourself in Eisleben, feel free to stay here, just make sure you keep your room key with you and leave nothing of possible value in your room while you are gone.
When it comes to date nights, there are so many things to do and see in the city that never sleeps! Whether you’re hoping for a creative night on the town or looking to be entertained, here are some unique date ideas in New York City, New York that will be sure to light the spark with your new or old flame.
Mix Some Drinks
Head to Chinatown to learn the art of bartending at Apothéke Academy. Choose from four courses in mixology including Absinthe Minded, exploring the history and popularity of the alluring absinthe to prepare and use in signature cocktails. Prohibition Era focuses on cocktails during the Prohibition Era of the early 1900s and the dawn of drinks like the Sazerac, French 75, and Old Fashioned. Get a little fruity (and enjoy some veggie-inspired drinks too) with Market Fresh Mixology using juicing, blending, and infusion to create marvelous mixed drinks. Teaching about tequila is the focus of the fourth option, Agave Master, where you’ll explore flavor profiles and create drinks of blue and subspecies of agaves. Each class gives the option to purchase a full-service mixology kit to make the drinks at home. All classes are $150.
Check Out the View
Whether you’re a native New Yorker or a tourist, the view of NYC’s skyline is one of the most spectacular things you can witness with the one you love. Get an unobstructed view at Top of The Rock. Go up 70 floors to the top of Rockefeller Center to take in 360-degree views from one of three indoor and outdoor viewing decks. Visit at sunset to get the most romantic views of Mahanntan from above. Don’t forget your camera. This will be a moment in your relationship you’ll want to frame. Book tickets online in advance and combine with a tour or Rockefeller Center and other attractions.
See an Off-Broadway Show
New York is known for its outstanding theater, especially Broadway performances! However, seeing a show outside the popular Broadway shows in Times Square is a way to experience a unique date without the long wait for tickets and heftier price tag. Start with some literary humor at Drunk Shakespeare, a critically acclaimed show set in a library of 15,000 books where the lead actor is drunk and attempts to perform Shakespeare. The show is highly improvisational and audience participation helps you and your date get involved with unbridled hilarity.
Can’t get tickets to Hamilton? Check out the off-broadway parody, Spamilton (through March 2017) at the Triad Theatre. The Triad is home to several off-Broadway productions. Check the schedule for current shows.
Go on a Clue Chase
At Clue Chase, NYC’s Premiere Escape the Room Game, try one of four escape room missions where your team (you and your date may be paired with others, or you can make it a double date) solves a mystery using clues and puzzles provided. Prevent a spy mission gone wrong from turning into a catastrophe between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1960s with The Lost Spy mission. Escape with Egyptian artifacts before a tomb collapses in Egyptian Tomb. Outsmart a master thief and steal as much as you can before the guards return in Utlimate Heist. At publication, a new mission is getting ready to launch soon with an Alien Encounter. Escape in under 60 minutes for a unique date experience for you and your significant other.
Eat Your Way Through NYC
Take one of the many tours Foods of New York Tours has to offer, and enjoy some delicacies that NYC is known for throughout the world! Walk down the streets where Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan first were inspired to musical greatness with The Heart of Greenwich Village Food & Culture Walking Tour. You’ll sample handmade pasta, visit a former mafia hangout (now a tea shop), and visit a neighborhood cafe where the first cappuccino in the United States was served. Enjoy Malaysian and Chinese cuisine on the Gourmet Chinatown Food & Culture Walking Tour. You and your darling will learn about Chinese culture and traditional etiquette while dining in three restaurants. The portions are larger than most other tours, so you are in for a gourmet and filling dining experience! Other tours include the Original Greenwich Village (West Village) Tour, Chelsea Market, Nolita/NoHo (area North of Little Italy), and The Best of Brooklyn 1/2 day tour, which includes a bus ride portion. Enjoy this delicious date while nibbling on New York’s favorites with your sweetie!
With so much to do in New York City, it may be hard to decide on a date night excursion! These unique date ideas for New York City, New York are just the ticket for you and your love no matter what your heart desires!
Whether you are a frequent flier or you are getting away for a much needed vacation, there are a few things you can do to make sure your flight is a good one. Check out the tips below and hopefully you can enjoy a safe and comfortable flight.
Stay still and seated. Do not stay in your seat for the entire flight due to the lack of circulation in your legs and the potential stiffness being sedentary could cause in your lower back. So when that seat belt sign goes off, get up and move about the cabin as much as you can.
Get too tipsy. As much fun as it could be to pass the time, don’t booze it up too much because you will just dehydrate yourself and make it even more difficult to get some rest on the flight. If you are going to have a cocktail, make sure you are also drinking some water as well.
Junk food junkie. Try your best to not eat too much junk food while in-flight. If you must, pack one of your favorite snacks, but also bring along healthy options like nuts, pretzels, and if you can go ahead and pack your own meal from home. Try to avoid all the junk food in the airports too!
Stay hydrated. One of the easiest mistakes to avoid while traveling is to not drink enough liquids. So, either bring along several bottles of water or take full advantage of the in-flight beverage service. A great tip is to bring your own water bottle and flavor packets and just ask for ice and water throughout your long flight.
Avoid icky germs. Okay, this is nearly impossible on an airplane, however, if you end up assigned a seat next to someone who is sneezing and coughing, just ask if you can be moved to another seat. Also, make sure you carry some anti-bacterial wipes in your carry-on so you can wipe down the tray table and armrests too. Another great tip is to take some extra Vitamin C before your trip too.
The night before. Whatever you do, don’t stay up all night the day before you flight. Get a good night’s sleep prior to flying so you are well rested and alert while traveling. This is so important especially if you are flying to a different timezone.
Pack a small bag. Just in case you have to give up your carry on bag because it is too big to fit in the overhead compartment, pack a small bag that contains your passport, I.D., money, and any other items that you may need on your flight. Your cell phone, charger, and a few small toiletries are essential to pack as well
Disclaimer: I was NOT compensated for this post in any way, shape or form but felt compelled to share our experience with you about United Airlines because it went from good, to better, to oh-my-freaking-goodness amazing.
- July puts me in New York City
- August in Hawaii (sorry, working with Hawaiian Airlines)
- September is Hershey/Harrisburg PA
- October takes me to Ireland
- and the list just goes on…
Airline travel used to be practically a deluxe experience and now it seems like you are added to a cattle car when you hop on a plane. These 8 Travel Hacks to Make Your Next Flight Easier should really help you survive your next trip!
1. Board and Blankets.
Always try to board early and snag any extra blankets that you can. Or once everyone is seated, check out the empty seats and see if there are any extra blankets and pillows. This will make for a much more comfortable flight and even a nice nap.
Load up on bottled water once you pass through the security checkpoint area. Not only will you be able to stay hydrated, but you can use the water to freshen up, brush your teeth before you land.
Invest in noise canceling headphones especially if you have a long flight in front of you or you are a frequent traveler. These are a lifesaver so you can escape listening to your favorite music and also block out any unpleasant airplane nuisances.
4. Comfy and Cozy.
Always wear your most comfortable and loose fitting shoes if you can. As you stay hydrated on your flight, your feet can swell, so leave your shoes on. Don’t walk around in your socks as I see some people doing because you can step in unwanted things, but a small pair of slippers make for a cozy option.
5. Go VIP.
Don’t be shy to ask for an upgrade to first class or an earlier flight if it works for your schedule. Being a flexible flier has its perks. Sign up for the VIP Club Lounge at the airport or if you choose, simply ask to use it should it appear not busy while you are traveling.
6. Keep it clean.
Your new best friends on any flight are always going to be wet wipes and hand sanitizer. Pack these amazing items in your carry on and use them often – for everything.
7. Charge up.
Bring a portable battery charger for all of your electronic devices so that you’re never left without your phone or any other item. Airports now have so many charging stations too, but keep your eyes on your phones so they don’t get stolen or left behind.
8. Plan ahead.
And last, but not least, in the event you don’t have a great Wifi connection at your final destination, take the time to download Google maps to your smartphone or tablet of your new surrounding area. This way you will have easy access to how to get to your hotel, the best restaurants, and anything else that you want to explore before you can get “hooked” up again.
A night out in the Big Easy can be an experience you’ll never forget! With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here are some fun, unique date ideas in New Orleans, Louisiana!
Get Lost in the Sculpture Garden
Walk through New Orleans Museum of Art’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden and be wowed at the more than 60 sculptures from world-renowned artists. Occupying five acres, you’ll stop and smell the flowers and enjoy the beautiful landscape the complements the artwork. Want to give back to the community while having a unique date? Volunteer at the garden by helping weed and trim the garden. You can even adopt an area as a couple! Go indoors and tour the museum by visiting current exhibits or check out some of nightlife with NOMA’s Friday Nights’ series!
Take a Free Guided Tour
Free Tours by Foot offers tours that you can afford (name your own price), usually with no upfront cost. Pay what you think the tour was worth at the end. Since it’s the #1 tour company in New Orleans, tourists and locals alike think it’s worth it! Popular tours include the St. Louis Cemetery #1 Tour. This tour does have an admission cost of $2 to the cemetery. Known as ‘The City of the Dead’, the cemetery is near the French Quarter and famous for its labyrinth of tombs. This famous burial site was seen in the 1969 movie Easy Rider. Get some thrills and chills while you hold tight to your sweetie on this spooky tour. The French Quarter Food and History Tour will take you to all the hot eateries. Enjoy the approximate two-hour walking tour with some New Orleans favorites including seafood gumbo, red beans and rice, muffulettas, jambalaya, hot sauces, seasonal gulf coast seafood, po’boys, crawfish/seafood boil, pralines, and beignets. Food cost is on your own, so upfront costs are still free. Self-guided tours are also on the website so you can go at your own pace and enjoy NOLA on a date anytime!
Listen to some Jazz, Baby!
The Spotted Cat has been called the quintessential jazz club of New Orleans for its exceptional artists and lively feel. The “Cat” hosts up to three bands nightly, so you and your love are sure to find some smooth jazz to suit your taste. Not in a bar mood? Visit the Preservation Hall for some traditional New Orleans Jazz. Since 1961, the Hall has been hosting shows. Now you can see nightly jazz more than 350 nights a year from more than 100 local master artists. Wherever you end up, New Orleans jazz music should be on your date idea list!
New Orleans is absolutely known for fine cuisine. Why not learn how to cook some Creole and Cajun dishes yourself? Langlois is cooking class meets storytelling and entertainment. Trained Louisiana native chefs teach you how to cook while providing stories and history of NOLA cuisine. These are private events, so they’re perfect for an upscale special occasion like an anniversary or birthday.
The New Orleans School of Cooking offers more open demonstration as well as hands-on classes. Watch, learn, then eat while chefs prepare traditional gourmet NOLA eats like gumbo, jambalaya, bananas foster with pralines and more! Demo classes include meals and are typically around $30 a person. Hands-on classes also include food that you participate in making along with recipes and an apron and run about $139 a person. Check the website for current classes and prices for this unique date experience.
Get a History Lesson
Explore one of New Orleans’ top attractions at the National World War II Museum. Although it may not be your typical romantic date, this museum (rated #4 in the world) is a must-see for every American. The museum is home to more than 100,000 WWII artifacts and honors our veterans with memorial programs (like the commemorative brick program) and tribute pages. Talk about history with your significant other while taking in the museums films and exhibits, then enjoy a more traditional date with a musical show at the museum’s BB’s Stage Door Canteen with throwback shows to the 1940s. History and culture will make this unique date one you’ll always remember.
Whether you’re a NOLA native, a tourist, or a transplant, you’ll love all the unique date ideas in New Orleans, Louisiana. Try one of the few mentioned, and you’ll be sure to come back for more!