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Culture

Germany's Top Five

Germany is currently hosting a range of diverse events and activities featuring wine and music festivals as well as innovative circus shows and indoor skiing.

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Flic Flac takes the circus tradition to new heights

Indulge yourself in Germany's best-known wine district, the Rheingau near Frankfurt, where a gourmet festival running until March 8 brings a variety of fancy food and wine events to the region. The festival's program features wine tastings, gala dinners and cooking demonstrations as well as an exclusive country trip to the castle Diel at the river Nahe on March 4. This year, the festival focusses on South Tirol, famous for specialties such as Speck and Schüttelbrot (bacon and crackers), as well as crisp whites like Riesling, Chardonnay and Müller Thurgau. The "Rheingau Gourmet and Wine Festival" first took place in 1997 and traditionally ends with a "good-bye kitchen party."

Snowboarder in der Skihalle Neuss

Head for Europe's biggest indoor-winter-region. If all that indulgence leaves you in urgent need of exercise and the bad weather has turned you into a couch potato, a visit to Germany's first indoor-winter-region in Neuss might be just the ticket. Here you can ski or snowboard the 300 meter (984 feet) long and 60 meter wide ski slope all-year round at a constant temperature of minus 4° Celsius (25 ° Fahrenheit). You can also take part in other sport activities such as climbing, Nordic walking or Nordic inline skating. Never done it before? Then take one of the many beginner classes, where you can also rent your own equipment.

Settle down and enjoy the show. Stuttgart is currently giving a platform to a a rising generation of German vocalists during its annual festival of chanson, this year entitled "schöner lügen" ("lie more beautifully"). Until March 7, the festival will be presenting well-known German vocal artists as well as a younger generation of lesser-known singers devoted to the art of German and French-style cabaret singing. But the featured artists from Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Stuttgart are not bound to the genre and the festival also includes German rock and pop.

Komponist Kurt Weill

This is a 1944 photo of composer Kurt Weill. (AP Photo)

Take a trip down memory lane. Fans of the "Three Penny Opera" composer Kurt Weill might want to consider a trip to Dessau this first week of March. The annual Kurt Weill Festival, which runs through March 6, sees the artist's city of birth host a variety of national and international performances and related events, this year based on the theme "Escape from America." The United States became Weill's honorary home, and during his career as a broadway composer, he created shows that had a lasting impact on American musical theatre. This year's festival highlights include showings of the film The Jazz Singer, the concert Sinatra meets Weill and the musical theater Street Scene.

Smell the greasepaint. If you feel like a bit of excitement, don't miss Circus Flic Flac's "New Art 2005" show in Krefeld until March 6, and in Bonn from March 11-28. The innovative show offers a spectacle that neither involves a circus director nor trained animals, but highly-skilled artists and daring stage techniques. Since its world premiere in 1989, the Flic Flac program's blend of breathtaking fun has become a massive mainstream hit.

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