Value in Germany; Cesky Krumlov; Trier and Füssen

German Value Suggestions

One of the many pleasures of a trip to Europe is finding those new, small, special hotels as well as returning to old favorites. We would like to share a few of both with you.

The Ostermann Hotel (an der B49, tel. +49/02672/1238, fax 7789) is on the Mosel River four kilometers from Treis-Karden in Lützbach. A good base to tour the Mosel and to visit the delightful castle of Burg Eltz. Cost is 140 DM ($77) double. Good rooms and food. To see Burg Eltz you must walk but ask about the shortest way as we walked in from the north side and it is a hard 30 to 40 minute trail - mostly down on the way in which means a hard return.

A quiet hotel between Hannover and Braunschweig is the Zum Jägerheim (Meerdofer Str. 40, tel. +49/05303/2026, fax 2056) in Rüper about nine km east of Peine. The cost is 150 DM ($82) double and the rooms are modern and comfortable, but the food is the real treat. The restaurant has an extensive menu. The housemade beef Sulze (in aspic) is the best I've had anywhere and there are several housemade ice creams on the dessert list - the strawberry-rhubarb is supreme! The hotel has a sauna (fee) and a small indoor pool.

This is also a good place for nutcracker "nuts." The Steinbach nutcracker factory in the village of Hohenhameln is 13 km south of Peine. Costs here are 30% to 50% less than we've seen at retail throughout Germany. They don't ship so it is strictly cash and carry. We purchased a couple of limited edition nutcrackers at 200 DM ($110) each. The three limited edition "Christmas Kings" are the same price. We saw these for sale in shops during a December trip priced from 275 to 325 DM ($151-$203).

For a quiet retreat in a heavily-wooded area north of Kronach, we like the Posthotel Lauenstein (Orlmünder Str. 2, tel. +49/09263/991 30, fax 991 399) located 4 kms north of Ludwigstadt. A double room is 140 DM ($77). Rooms are large and have balconies to the dense forest. Food is excellent, sauna and indoor pool available, and the staff is friendly. Our only complaint was that the breakfast rolls on Sunday morning were more than a day old. The family Wagner also manage the Burghotel Lauenstein (Burgstr. 4, tel. +49/09263/9430, fax 94336) on the hilltop above the town. This is a fine old castle with terrific views and rooms are slightly higher at 150 DM ($82).

The Parkhotel Seeblick (Strandweg 12a, tel. +49/0381/519550, fax 519 55113) in Warnemünde-Rostock is excellent and only 100 ft. from the fine beach on the pedestrian strand. Cost is 160-180 DM ($88-$99) double depending on whether or not you have a sea view. Superior breakfast buffet with a constantly filled basket of specialty rolls. Only a few parking spots but parking on the adjacent street is o.k. Comfortable, clean rooms and helpful staff.

A couple of hotels we returned to on this trip must be mentioned as they more than fulfilled the memory of previous visits:

The Rheinsberg am See (D-13435, Berlin-Reinickendorf, Finsterwalder Str. 64, tel. +49/030/402 1002, fax 403 5057) is in the northern Berlin suburb of Wittenau. This is a true spa hotel with all the facilities to regenerate the spirit and body including three dry saunas, a damp sauna, hot tub, warm indoor pool, a small cold outdoor pool, private sunning yard and several areas in the spa center to rest and cool down. The hotel offers nonsmoking rooms. Ample parking available unless the place is fully packed, then spaces on the adjacent street. Cost is 199 DM ($109) double. Staff is helpful if you want to make reservations elsewhere in Germany.

This time in Berlin we visited the area known as the "Topography of Terror" which is the remaining foundations and exhibit area of the former Gestapo, SS and Secret Police headquarters of the Nazi regime - a very chilling reminder of the past.

On the more fun side, the flea market on Saturday and Sunday along the Strasse des 17 Juni from the Tiergarten west to the Ernst-Reutter Platz was great fun. While the eastern half of this market is the traditional "treasures/junk," the west half is filled with new crafts, artisans, jewelry and young designer clothing and other original items to make this an enjoyable 3-4 hour experience. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

A return to the Posthotel Rattenberg (Dorfplatz 2, D-94371, tel. +49/09963/9500, fax 950222) was even better than remembered. In the small Bavarian Forest village of Rattenberg in the southeast part of Germany, the Posthotel is 25 km almost due south of Cham. We can't say enough about the friendly staff and excellent extensive menu. The hotel offers free use of its saunas and indoor pool. Rooms are large, comfortable and well-kept. This is a good base for visiting the many glass factories and outlets along the "crystal road" parallel to the Czech border. Each place seems to have its own distinctive style and it would take an act of supreme willpower to spend a day in these delightful shops and not purchase at least one item. It seems we bought a piece from almost each place we stopped!

Just reliving these stops whets the appetite for more travel.

Sharon & Nelson Helm
Plano TX

Where Are the Festivals?

Thoroughly enjoyed your June Breaking Away column about avoiding American tourists in Europe. It is your philosophy that makes your newsletter so enjoyable for me. You mentioned the delightful local festivals, and I wonder if you or your other readers have information about the locations and dates of some of these events?

Mike Elder
Topeka, KS

(Ed. Note: Good suggestion. Others have said the same thing. We will do more in future. )

Better than Budvar?

I, too, have visited Cesky Krumlov and was delighted with the narrow streets, the Rozmberk Castle, the lovely little shops and the beer. I had heard also of Budvar and had tried it a couple of times when last in Czechoslovakia. It was good, but not as good as Pilsner Urquell, nor was it as good as Falkenberg Pivo, brewed in Cesky Krumlov. One evening, overlooking the city from a gray Stalinist hotel, a friend and I dined on a spread of chicken, vegetables and unknown starches. I ordered a Budvar, and a glass of the local beer for comparison sake. One sip of Budvar and we returned to the Falkenberg. It was smoother, fuller flavored and better balanced. We both ordered second glasses. Dinner and beer for two, by the way, came to just over $8, about what we spent for two cups of coffee the next day on the Autobahn in Austria.

Cesky Krumlov (formerly Krumau when it was German) is my recommendation for a perfect honeymoon.

Jim Sack
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(Ed. Note: This editor thinks it's a tossup between Pilsner Urquell vs. Budvar. An on-line list of Czech breweries contains an Eggenberg Pivo brewed in Cesky Krumlov but no Falkenberg or Falkenburg.)

Trier & Füssen Hotels

As a longtime subscriber, I must write to follow-up on two of your recommendations from past issues.

In 1992 or so, you recommended the Hotel Petrisberg (D-54296, tel. +49/0651/4640, double w/bath from 160 DM/$88) in the city of Trier. We began to visit it in 1994 and have made this wonderful hotel our headquarters for the past three years for our twice yearly visits to Germany. It has almost become our home away from home, and that for us is the ultimate compliment. Helmut and Wolfgang Pantenberg have come to treat us as friends rather than customers.

In May, we were treated to a wine tasting in their Weinstube. Expecting a small taste of a local wine or two, imagine our pleasure when Helmut brought out four vintage bottles of their local Rieslings and proceeded to open all of them for our tasting pleasure. With fine wine and the pleasure of his company in conversation, the evening passed too quickly. In December, remembering our pleasure at the May wine tasting, Helmut presented us two bottles as a departure gift and we again left with a warm spot for the wonderful hospitality of the Pantenberg family and their beautiful hillside hotel in Trier.

Then it was off to Füssen and a visit to the recommended Landhaus Sommer (Weidachstr. 74, D-87629, tel. +49/08362/91470, fax. +49/08362/914714, double w/bath from 84 DM/$46). Extensive renovations in the past few years have created a larger facility with dining room for breakfast and luncheon. A lift has been added plus an indoor pool and spa as well as suites and we heartily recommend Suite 50, with a balcony overlooking the lake and looking up at the famous castles at Neuschwanstein.

Lastly, allow us to recommend a fantastic Italian trattoria, the Trattoria Luigi (Augsburger Str. 20, average price w/o wine 23 DM/$13). We spotted it late on a winter night, with lights glowing in the residential area of town and after asking at the Sommer for a recommendation, which was forthcoming with enthusiasm from the owner, we visited for dinner. Without a doubt, the veal piccata was extraordinary. Our pasta dish Bolognese was the perfect side and the pleasure that the owner/chef Luigi took in describing and serving our meal made a perfect evening even more delightful. We take almost as much pleasure in adding this fine restaurant to your list as we do in reminding your readers of the Hotel Petrisberg and Landhaus Sommer.

Colin F. McGowan
Marriotsville MD

(U.S. Dollar prices quoted in this issue of Gemütlichkeit may be inaccurate for these reasons:

* Prices in local currency have not been updated since the date of publication of this newsletter, and...
* The dollar prices shown were obtained by using exchange rates in effect at the time of publication.)

August 1997