No matter what your fancy, there's plenty to do in Germany this final August week. DW-WORLD has combed the offerings and selected some of the most appetizing options, from the Romantic Rhine to the Federal Chancellory.
Over 4,000 ravers are expected to party on the Blue Parade boats
The German Federal Government prides itself on being one of the most open and "transparent" in the world. To show just how much they mean it, the entire government -- the federal chancellery, the press office, and all 13 ministries -- are hosting an open house this weekend, Aug. 27 and 28, in Berlin. You can walk the red carpet, like a guest of state, and even chat with the ministers about the functioning of politics. In preparation for the World Cup 2006, there will be a special focus on soccer, with an exhibit in the chancellery with soccer-playing robots, among other things. The open house takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and includes free transportation between the ministries. You must bring either an ID card or a passport for admittance.
Béla Anda, the speaker of the Chancellory, rolled out the red carpet for the open house.
A party boat of papal proportions is the location for the Düsseldorf Blue Parade, the largest open air river rave on the Rhine or anywhere, for that matter, according to organizers. Thousands of revelers pump up the jams on four colossal river boats -- the Bluezones 1 to 4 --including the MS Rheinenergie, Germany's largest river catamaran and recently host to Pope Benedict XVI. This is truly a vessel of superlatives: 90 meters long (180 feet), 19 meters wide (57 feet), with enough space for 1,650 party people on four decks. The four Blue Parade boats will cruise from Düsseldorf to Cologne and back, producing enough bass to rock the Rhine Valley. The party event takes place on Aug. 27.
If the idea of spending a warm late summer night sampling wines and fine foods under a starry sky on the Romantic Rhine in one of Germany's most picturesque and well-preserved medieval wine villages tempts you, then come to the Culinary Summer Nights Festival in Bacharach, in the south-western state of Rhineland-Palatinate. From Aug. 26 to Aug. 28, wine producers who work the vineyards surrounding Bacharach bring their products to the quaint town where local restaurants contribute local delicacies to this feast for the senses. The event is held before the intact city walls, on the banks of the mighty German river, and is free.
The highlight of the Frankfurt festival season is probably the Museumsuferfest, or Museum Quay Festival, held from Friday until Sunday, Aug. 26 to Aug. 28. With over three million visitors over three days, this event on the banks of the Main, now in its 18th year, is one of Europe's largest cultural magnets. The theme for 2005, in keeping with the globalization zeitgeist, is "cultures of the world, a world of cultures," and includes an international program of events. The festival area lining both sides of the river offers 16 museums a chance to portray themselves and their most important exhibits, as well as theater productions, art projects, the "choir and organ mile" of the Frankfurt churches, cabaret, comedy, live music and culinary specialties from all over the world. The cultural happening closes with a musical firework Sunday night.
In Germany, Kultur and Ferris Wheels are often found together.
Saddle up and ride over to the CHIO World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, in Germany's far west, one of Europe's largest horse events. Lasting a full week, from Aug. 23 to Aug. 28, the festival offers 160 riders and drivers from 20 nations an opportunity to showcase their horsemanship on some 400 horses. The riders compete in three event categories: jumping, dressage, and four-hand driving, in the CHIO (which means, for the uninitiated: Concours Hippique International Officiel). The country theme this year is Austria, which means that visitors will have a special opportunity to see the Viennese Spanish Riding School and Vienna Boys Choir without having to travel all the way to the Danube. Those with horse sense will head there with a canter, a "smooth gait," according to the American Heritage Dictionary, "slower than a gallop but faster than a trot."