Recovering from the holidays in Germany? Then it’s time for some fresh air and plenty of relaxation. Visit Cologne’s upscale spa, take a stroll through Berlin’s flea markets and grab a bite at Hamburg’s fish market.
Relaxation pure in the midst of German winter
When in Cologne , do as the Romans do and take a day off a hectic travel schedule to relax at one of Germany’s premier thermal spas, the Claudius Therme in Cologne. Designed to reflect the city's Roman ancestry, the upscale complex with its indoor and outdoor bathing areas, includes underwater music, soft lights and dozens of pools with warm bubbling therapeutic waters. Ease away the stress in one of several different saunas. From the traditional Finnish blockhouse to a Turkish steam bath, the sauna area offers a warm break from the winter cold.
Flea markets abound in Germany, but Berlin has the most
Amble through the day in one of Berlin's more than 20 weekly flea markets. Whether you’re a bargain hunter or just a happy browser, a walk past the tables stocked full of second-hand books, clothing and bric-a-brac is sure to remind you that this year's Christmas presents weren’t so bad after all. One of the biggest and most touristy markets is located on the Strasse des 17. Juni, near the Zoo Station. Here you’ll find a collection of fancy buttons, jewelry, postcards and Soviet-era memorabilia. For more antiques, check out the stalls lining the Kupfergraben near the Museumsinsel. Most of the flea markets are open on Saturday and Sunday until early afternoon.
Fresh and smoked fish are available
Take an early morning walk along Hamburg’s waterfront and stop in for a cup of coffee at the city’s bustling fish market. Since 1703, fishmongers have been auctioning off their fresh catches here near St. Pauli’s infamous Reeperbahn. For early risers, or those returning from the local bars, the jovial bustle of the "fish heads," as the Hamburgers are called, provides an authentic accompaniment to the traditional smoked eel or herring sandwiches -- which, by the way, is reputed to help against hangovers. Open Sundays during the winter from 7:00 - 9:30 am.
Taipei's 101 skyscraper is the world's tallest building with 508 meters (1,679 feet)
Go indoors for new insight into the heights of architecture at an exhibition on tall buildings in Düsseldorf. The North Rhine-Westphalia Forum for Culture and Industry examines the dreams and yearnings behind the desire to build higher and higher. From the pyramids in Egypt to the Gothic church steeples in medieval Europe and the skyscrapers of modern industry, the architectural retrospective takes a look at the biggest feats of engineering around the world. On show until mid-February.
Georg Hackl is one of the great lugers and a native son of Königssee.
Pick up the pace at the world championship in luge racing in Königssee near Berchtesgaden on Jan. 5 and 6. Watch the international elite fly down the world’s first man-made track at breathtaking speeds near picturesque snow-covered forests and a crystal blue lake. The titles for men and women's single and doubles are expected to rest firmly in the hands of the Germans -- but that doesn’t mean the spectators won’t have their fun too. The whole town turns out for the winter spectacle, nestled deep in the Bavarian Alps.