Luxury, romance and a fairytale atmosphere — that’s how we imagine life at the medieval Eltz Castle. But what is it really like to live there? Spoiler: there are 80 rooms, all of which require a little maintenance. DW’s Hannah Hummel asks owner Jakob Graf zu Eltz about life at the castle back then and now. The castle resident has even set up his home office there. Would that be something for you, too?
Eltz Castle is different. It remained unscathed by wars. It has been owned and cared for by the same family from when it was built until today. Its architecture has no comparison and many of the original furnishings of the past eight centuries still remain in place. It houses rustic suits of armour, swords and halberds as well as magnificent courtly gold and silver artefacts. It towers high on a large rock set deep in a valley. It stands in the midst of the Eltz Forest, a nature reserve of serene beauty, which offers numerous hiking trails and outdoor areas for sports and recreation for all age groups.
DW Travel – Castles, palaces, vineyards, and a romantic river valley: experience a train journey along the Rhine with DW’s Hannah Hummel. It is considered the most beautiful train route in Germany!
RIVER RHINE VALLEY
The West Rhine Railway is one of the most beautiful and famous railway lines in Germany. It runs from Cologne via Bonn and Koblenz to Mainz. Its most recognisable part is from Koblenz to Bingen where the trains run directly along the Rhine and its numerous bends. This part of the valley even is part of the World Heritage. Famous trains as the Rhinegold used to run here, however since the high speed line between Cologne and Frankfurt is in operation the majority of long distance trains take this shorter and faster line instead. There are still many trains running on the Rhine Railway including hourly long distance trains.
Weimar is world-famous. A number of important philosophers, musicians, and literary figures used to live here – including renowned poets Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. Weimar Classicism attracts tourists even today. But the city of Thuringia is also home to a dark chapter of German history. There, the Nazis built built one of their largest concentration camps, Buchenwald, where a total of around 266,000 people were imprisoned.
Instagram is full of colorful pictures of Copenhagen. But what does the Danish capital really look like? We checked out three of the most popular spots – we went to see the old harbor Nyhavn, strolled around the 16th century Rosenberg Castle and had a blast at the famous Tivoli amusement park.
Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, sits on the coastal islands of Zealand and Amager. It’s linked to Malmo in southern Sweden by the Öresund Bridge. Indre By, the city’s historic center, contains Frederiksstaden, an 18th-century rococo district, home to the royal family’s Amalienborg Palace. Nearby is Christiansborg Palace and the Renaissance-era Rosenborg Castle, surrounded by gardens and home to the crown jewels.
Located on the shores of Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest lake, Makuzi Beach Lodge is secluded, isolated and offers fantastic views of the water. Guests’ meals are cooked with ingredients from the lodge’s huge garden — or from the lake on the doorstep. With concepts like this, eco-friendly and sustainable tourism is being promoted in Africa.
Malawi, a landlocked country in southeastern Africa, is defined by its topography of highlands split by the Great Rift Valley and enormous Lake Malawi. The lake’s southern end falls within Lake Malawi National Park – sheltering diverse wildlife from colorful fish to baboons – and its clear waters are popular for diving and boating. Peninsular Cape Maclear is known for its beach resorts.
In an annual festive procession in the Tyrolean Alps known as the Almabtrieb, herders and specially groomed cattle descend into the valley after a summer in higher pastures. Their return to the foothill farms is marked with parades, parties and feasting.
The “Almabtrieb” is a custom that goes back 500 years. The steady clang of cowbells accompanies the cattle on their long journey from high alpine pastures back into the valley. Thousands of spectators celebrate their return as Leonhard “Hartl” Thaler leads the herd into town. The 62-year-old is a well-known figure in his Tyrolean hometown of Reith im Alpbachtal – as a farmer, cattle dealer, innkeeper and musician.
How does this sound: A picturesque little castle palace surrounded by wine terraces and a romantic park – and you right in the middle of it all! Join DW reporter Hannah Hummel for a relaxing day in Potsdam. She visits Sanssouci, the pleasure palace of King Frederick the Great. Hannah immerses herself in the atmosphere of the place, very much in the spirit of the Prussian king, who indulged in the good life here, far away from his court. Here he could indulge in nature, music and philosophy without worry – sans souci.
First mentioned in 993 as a Slavic settlement known as Poztupimi, it received its charter in 1317. It became Brandenburg’s electoral residence in 1640 under Frederick William (the Great Elector) and the Prussian royal residence under Frederick II (the Great), during whose reign (1740–86) it was an intellectual and military centre and virtual capital of Prussia. In the 18th century a colony of Dutch immigrants gave their quarter of the city, and some other parts as well, a distinctly Dutch flavour. Potsdam suffered severe damage in World War II, but many monuments survived and others have been restored. The Cecilienhof Palace was the scene (July 17–August 2, 1945) of the Potsdam Conference of the Allied leaders; it now houses a museum and a memorial, as well as a hotel. From 1952 to 1990 the city was capital of the Potsdam Bezirk (district) of East Germany.
Following a two-year break, Munich’s Oktoberfest is back! Dhruv Rathee and partner Juli visit the world’s largest Volksfest. The 17-day event kicks off with the traditional ‘parade of Wiesn landlords and breweries”.
Video timeline: 0:00 Intro 0:47 What is the Oktoberfest? 1:48 Parade of Wiesn landlords and breweries 2:58 A brief history of the Oktoberfest 3:39 Getting there 4:50 Dirndl and lederhosen 5:52 O’zaft is! – the opening tradition 7:10 Beer tents 8:28 Food 10:17 Rides and attractions 11:29 Tips for families
Dressed in their dirndls and lederhosen, they explore the many rides and attractions on the Wiesn – the field where it all takes place. Along with sampling some culinary delights, they of course have to drop in to one of the famous beer tents.
Jaafar Abdul Karim travels through one of the smallest countries in Europe: Malta. The Romans, the Arabs, the British and the French have all left their mark here. A sunny country with a multicultural heritage. Jaafar Abdul Karim starts his journey in the capital, Valetta.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has been extensively restored and renovated. Architect Konrad Buhagiar played a major role in this. He shows Jaafar Valetta’s most beautiful places, where old and new architecture come together. In Siggiewi, the presenter meets Marilu Vella and the two cook a very special local dish: pastizzi. The dumplings are a favorite snack of the Maltese.
The island nation has been a member of the EU since 2008. And here – in a tax haven – people like to show off what they’ve got. But Malta also has its dark sides: At the end of 2017, a murder shook Maltese politics and plunged the country into a crisis. Journalist Daphne Galizia uncovered one of Malta’s biggest corruption scandals. Shortly after, she was the victim of a car bomb.
Deeply shaken by this story, Jaafar takes the ferry to Gozo. The second largest island in the Maltese archipelago is only 14 kilometers long, but it has two large opera houses. Jaafar Abdul Karim finds out why from the artistic director John Galea. This Mediterranean island is one of the sad hotspots in the refugee crisis.
Tens of thousands of people have drowned in recent years trying to reach Europe. Time and again, ships that have rescued survivors from the Mediterranean dock there. Jaafar Abdul Karim talks to survivors and Maltese photographer Darrin Zammit Lupi, who has captured moments of the refugee drama in pictures.
As legend would have it, Aphrodite was born here – on Cyprus. The sea on its southern coastline is said to be the font of all love. The island is one of the oldest cradles of civilization in the Mediterranean: The Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Ottomans and British all lived here at some point in history.
No sooner has our presenter Sineb El Masrar arrived on the island than she sets off for the Troodos mountains, where she tastes some prize-winning Cypriot wine. Next stop on the journey is Ayia Napa, for a meeting with Louis Hadjioannou. The marine biologist is looking for an intruder that really shouldn’t be here at all: the lionfish.
Climate change has lured the creature to the Mediterranean Sea. Just as in many places throughout the world, the Cypriots set great store by good food and drink. For Roddy Damalis, who owns the restaurant “TaPiatakia”, the focus is on breathing new life into traditional dishes by combining them with unusual ingredients. After that, the presenter heads for the beach. More than four million tourists visited Cyprus in 2019, often bringing mountains of plastic waste along with them.
The environmental protection organization Akti campaigns against the increase and the consequences of plastic waste on beaches – by giving talks in schools, for example. During the summer months, student curriculums also include beach clean-ups. Sineb El Masrar talks to Charis Theodorou about the campaign and the microplastics problem blighting the Mediterranean.