Historical Context – Background story of the places visited.

European Christmas Markets

The European cities come alive in Winter for Christmas. The Christmas Markets spring up everywhere especially around the Old Town centers or squares. There is even a Christmas market at the Munich International Airport.

GERMANY
The backdrop of beautiful Gothic churches like in Cologne (Germany) and Christkindlesmarkt Nuremberg (Germany) will take you back in time. German towns become festive with Christmas markets. With Christmas delicacies and lovely Christmas Music, you will become a child again for Christmas. You got to try some Nuremberg Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread) and Feuerzangenbowle (red wine and rum punch).

Czech Republic
The Christmas markets in Staroměstské náměstí Prague (Old Town Square) and Wenceslas Square (5 minute walking distance from each market) in Czechia (Czech Republic) are a real treat. Stroll along the beautiful wooden huts with all sorts of Christmas ornaments and gifts. Eat some trdelník (grilled rolled dough cake) while you shop.

Hungary
If you wish to try all sorts of delicious food, you should check out the Budapest Christmas Markets at the St. Stephen’s Basilica ( St Istvan Bazilika) and the Christmas Market at the Vorosmarty Square in Budapest, Hungary. You won’t be in hungry in Hungary, as this market offers you tasty regional food and not just Christmas cookies. Try the Kürtőskalács (Chimney cake) and Goulash Soup (Gulyásleves).

Austria
How do you beat the beauty of the Christkindlmarkt at the Rathausplatz (Town Hall Square) in Vienna, Austria? Ice skate around the “tree of hearts” in the nearby park and enjoy some Viennese Gluhwein (mulled wine).

France
Strasbourg Christmas market (Capital of Christmas) is a fusion of both the German and French cultures in the Alsace Region of France. Christkindlsmärik first took place in 1570. Try the Christmas bredele (small cakes) made in this Alsace region. It comes in different flavors. Strasbourg Christmas Market is one of the oldest and the most beautiful Christmas market that blends both the French and German cultures into a wonderful Christmas experience.

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Vienna, the city of palaces!

It is amazing how many beautiful buildings and palaces you can find in Vienna (Wien), Austria. The emperors kept building and building new palaces and beautiful buildings.

Flying to Vienna
You can fly into Vienna Airport (VIE) in Schwechat (in German Flughafen Wien-Schwechat). The airport is around 11 miles from Central Vienna and around 35 miles from Bratislava, Slovakia. In Slovak the airport is called Letisko Viedeň-Schwechat. Vienna International Airport makes a good hub to base your travel into the center of Europe.

Getting to Vienna by train
Take a train to Wien Mitte which is like 10 minutes walking distance to the stunning St. Stephen’s gothic cathedral (Domkirche St.Stephan or Steffl). Vienna has lovely pedestrian streets. From St. Stephen’s, you can stroll on the Graben to Kohlmarkt to Heldenplatz.

Heldenplatz
Once you get to the Heldenplatz, you can find your way around to see various magnificent buildings in this area. Check out the Hofburg, Neue Burg, Maria-Theresien-Platz and Albertina. There is also the Volksgarten and Burggarten (Castle Garden). You can also visit the Schmetterlinghaus (Palm Haus). There is really one fascinating building after the other.

Viennese Food
Take some time off to enjoy some good Viennese food. The emperors knew how to eat. You may wish to try Wiener Schnitzel (cutlet) and Tafelspitz (beef). Try some really good desserts such as Kaiserschmarrn (fluffy pancakes with apple sauce and powdered sugar), Viennese Apfelstrudel , and Sachertorte (chocolate cake) with your coffee (melange) at the local cafes. Cafe Demel is a famous bakery and chocolatier that you could visit.

Summer Palaces
You will need more time to visit the Summer Palaces of the Habsburg rulers located around the city. They are spectacular. Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens are really huge. You can also visit the magnificent Belvedere Baroque Palace and Gardens. You can see the great display of wealth of the emperors. This city is really a city of palaces!

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The Romantic Rhine

You can cruise the Rhine from Amsterdam, Netherlands via the German Heartland to Basel, Switzerland. Rhine starts its journey from Lake Toma, in the Swiss Canton of Graubünden and winds its way to Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The Rhine actually passes through Switzerland, Liechtenstein , Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands. There is so much history along the Rhine. It used to be the boundary between civilized Europe and untamed lands beyond. There is so much to see along the Rhine.

Rhine Falls, Switzerland
Rhine Falls or Rheinfall in German is Europe’s largest waterfall. In some ways resembles the Niagara Falls between United States and Canada. Rhine Falls is located near Schaffhausen , in Switzerland just across from the German border.

Lake Bodensee
Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) is one of the lakes on the Rhine. Bodensee borders Austria, Germany and Switzerland. You can basically visit all 3 countries by boat. Principality of Liechtenstein is around 30 minutes by car from the Bodensee (Lake Constance).

Basel, Switzerland
Basel, Switzerland on the Rhine is a good transportation hub to pretty much get anywhere in Europe, especially to your Alpine destinations. A good place to rest and sight see in the lower elevation before going up into higher altitudes of the Alps.

Mainz to Kobenlz, Mid Rhine, Germany
The mid Rhine is probably the most romantic part of the Rhine. German towns from Mainz to Kobenlz, Germany will take you back in time. Take the Rhine ferries to slow down and soak in the beauty.

The Moselle River to Luxembourg
The Moselle River meets the Rhine River at Kobenlz. Moselle can take you all the way to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Luxembourg actually means Little Castle). Towns along the Moselle such as Zell and Cochem are simply breathtaking.

Heidelberg, Germany
Take another detour along the River Neckar (Neckar meets the Rhine at Mannheim) to Heidelberg, Germany. Heidelberg is both romantic and picturesque. It is definitely worth the detour.

Netherlands
Keep following the River Rhine and you will end up in Rotterdam, Netherlands which is Europe’s largest port with plenty of good places to eat and shop. For the romantic side visit Amsterdam.


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Pawnee Indian Museum State Historic Site

Before researching the Pawnee Indians, I had not realized that they and some other Plains Indians lived part of the year in permanent dwellings. This is the site of one of those towns, and the museum is built around one of the actual dwellings.

This is a very interesting historical site, located near Republic, Kansas. The guide was very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to. We went as part of a school group, and the elementary children also found everything to be interesting. Most of what you see is inside, but you can also see some points of interest outside.

It’s a little off the beaten path, but the signage is good and it is worth the drive.


World War II P.O.W. Camp Museum, Concordia, KS –Part 1

This is just part 1 of our review of the WWII POW site. We visited without an appointment, but plan to return when we can actually see the inside of the museum

Although Google shows the site as open 24 hours, all you can see without an appointment is the guardhouse and a few old foundations down the road by the museum.

We have shared a photo from the door of the museum showing the phone number to call to schedule a tour. We will update our review after we can come back and have the tour. We highly recommend getting to see the inside of the museum, so definitely call ahead for an appointment.

One good thing was that the guard house has a guest book and some flyers available that explain a lot of information about the camp. The POW brochure is very informative, and they also had a brochure of other Concordia places of interest.


Lewis and Clark Expedition Kansas USA

Lewis and Cark Expedition camped here at the confluence of the Kansas and the Missouri Rivers.

Lewis & Clark Kansas USA

Lewis & Clark Kansas USA

You can get a view of downtown Kansas City skyline from the Kaw Point Park, Kansas.  See the rivers flow gently bye. You can see the Missouri side (downtown Kansas City) from the Kansas side of Kansas City. Ponder what this place would have looked like when Lewis and Clark camped here.

Lewis & Clark Kansas City USA

Lewis & Clark Kansas City USA

Take a short trip into Missouri side of Kansas City to see more of Lewis and Clark’s historical trails.

This monument is located by Case Park, Kansas City Missouri.

Lewis and Clark Monument Kansas City Missouri USA

Lewis and Clark Monument Kansas City Missouri USA