My delicious purchase at Confiserie Fürst
As ubiquitous as a Hershey’s Kiss in America, Mozart chocolates in Austria are a beloved confectionary tradition. Mozartkugel (or Mozartkugeln) are small, round, dark chocolate-covered balls filled with pistachio, marzipan and hazelnut nougat. They were first created by a confectioner in Salzburg named Paul Fürst in 1890 and named for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was born in the city. Fürst chose to name them for Mozart in honor of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death in 1891.
Master confectioner Fürst was awarded a gold medal for his popular chocolates at the 1905 Paris exhibition. Today, you can purchase handmade Mozartkugel (also called Mozart-Bonbons or Mozart Chocolate) at Fürst on Mirabell Square, more than 125 years after the first chocolate ball was formed. Mr. Fürst’s great-great-grandson is the owner of the company and still produces what is called the “Original Salzburg Mozartkugel,” a claim only they are legally allowed to make. The chocolates at Fürst are wrapped in blue and silver tinfoil, setting them apart from the red-and-gold-foil-wrapped treats you’ll find in just about every market throughout Austria. Two additional Fürst shops are located in Old Town on the Getreidegasse and Ritzerbogen.
I purchased my chocolates at this Fürst shop located in Old Town
A second shop, Mirabell, mass produces “Echte Salzburger Mozartkugel,” and claims to follow the original recipe. The name means “real Salzburg Mozart chocolate,” leaving out the word “original.” While it certainly also tastes divine, if your chocolate doesn’t say Fürst, it's not the Original.
So, how is the Original made? The confectioner forms a ball of pistachio and green marzipan surrounded by hazelnut nougat. The ball is put on the end of a stick and dipped in dark chocolate. Once the ball is removed from the chocolate, the remaining hole is hand filled with chocolate, leaving a small dot. Therefore, the original Mozartkugel aren’t perfectly round (a quick way to distinguish them from copycat Mozart chocolates).
If you just can’t get enough Mozart chocolate, consider a visit to Konditorei Schatz, a fantastic family-run cake shop in Salzburg. They, too, started producing Mozart chocolate balls around 100 years ago and still hand make them in their shop on the Getreidegasse. They claim to have been hand-dipping their chocolates since the 19th century, first selling it under the name Mozartkugel around 1900.
Although these chocolates are also delicious, they are not made with the original recipe.
How to enjoy a Mozart chocolate? Complement your chocolate with caffeine! OK, decaf will do, but I strongly suggest good coffee alongside your Mozart chocolates. It’s a chocoholic’s delight. Be sure to pick up plenty of extra Mozartkugeln - they make an excellent souvenir and gift.
Ready to taste the Original Salzburg Mozartkugel? Let’s chat about river cruising in Europe that will deliver you to Salzburg, home of these decadent delicacies.
A guided bike ride tour is a great way to explore Cologne
As an active observer on two wheels, a biking visitor to Cologne will earn a deeper appreciation of this fascinating cathedral city at street level - and travel in an environmentally friendly manner and get a good dose of fresh air. Guided tours can take you on an invigorating biking excursion through Old Town, along the river banks of the Old Town Park and more, an ideal way to sightsee for active adventurists. And there’s no need to worry about equipment, as bikes and helmets are provided.
Here’s what you may see as you spin your way through Germany’s oldest city - depending on your excursion, your particular bike tour may vary in what you will experience. No matter where you cycle, however, you can rest assured you’ll know more about this 2,000-year-old city - from the Roman ages to the Middle Ages to today - than you did when you started out.
The Hohenzollern Bridge
One of the biggest draws in the city, Cologne’s Old Town delivers oodles of charm. Cycle and walk through narrow alleyways past traditional houses, breweries, pubs and restaurants - perhaps stopping in for a Kölsch beer or Halver Hahn sandwich. Pop into the Romano-Germanic Museum, the Wallraf Richartz Museum, the Museum Ludwig or the Farina Fragrance Museum. Take a picture next to the Tünnes and Schäl monuments or Heinzelmännchen (Cologne elves) fountain. Shop like a local along the Alter Markt and Heumarkt.
This delightful site at the Neusser Wall is home to impressive, ancient walls, green lawns, old trees and a gorgeous garden with 70 species of roses. Stroll through the symmetrically arranged gardens or take a break from biking on one of the prettily placed benches or in the pavilion.
Be sure to pause as you cross this bridge over the Rhine for the best views of the Cologne skyline.
This vast park stretches along the Rhine, offering gigantic lawns, a miniature railroad, the Cologne Rhine cable car and the Claudius Therme Thermal Spa, the perfect spot to treat your weary muscles to a well-deserved soak.
A couple of my friends during their ride in Cologne
Famous for its photo op of the Cologne Cathedral, Crane Houses and a smattering of smaller towers, the Hohenzollern Bridge was built from 1907 to 1911. It was the only Cologne bridge not destroyed by bombs during World War II. Check out the colorful love locks hung along the bridge railings.
Take a break from pedaling for a visit to the Ludwig Museum, opened in 1976 with a gift of approximately 350 works of modern art by the Ludwig couple. You’ll also find an extensive collection of Russian Avantgarde painting and several hundreds works by Picasso. The modern art department of the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum has been integrated into the Ludwig, including Roy Lichtenstein’s “Maybe” and Andy Warhol’s “Brillo Boxes.”
Talk about burying the lead … the Cologne Cathedral, a building that defies all superlatives, will be a highlight of your bike tour. The cornerstone was laid back in August 1248, the base for this Gothic cathedral that houses the remains of the Three Wise Men. The massive towers have dominated the city skyline since they were completed in 1880. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s shrine of the Three Wise Men and notice the impressive stained-glass windows and important works of art.
Rheinauhafen Harbor District
This reinvigorated waterfront complex is the youngest district in the city, offering an engaging mix of cafes, restaurants and galleries. The centerpiece is the Kranhäuser (crane tower) trio, three buildings shaped like hoisting cranes and defining the skyline along the west bank of the Rhine. If you’re an architecture buff, check out the trapezoid-shaped Art’otel Cologne with its colorful windows and picturesque collages. There’s plenty of history here, too, despite the renovations. The area’s former granary, the Siebengebirge (seven hills) makes a nice complement to the modern angles of the Rheinauhafen.
And more! There is much to see on two wheels throughout Cologne, particularly when you’re cycling with a professional local guide. Let’s chat about your active sightseeing adventure through this glorious German destination.
Easter is a wonderful time to visit Europe
Just about anyone who is interested in river cruising in Europe knows about the continent’s famous Christmas markets. But did you know that Europe’s Easter markets are just as wonderful an experience? Ringing in spring and celebrating the holiday, these colorful, festive events offer local traditions, culinary delights and one-of-a-kind souvenirs for those seeking an authentic, lesser-known shore experience when river cruising in Europe. Here are a few favorites!
Marking spring’s arrival, the Prague Easter markets are the most impressive in the country. A collection of wooden huts are vibrantly decorated in spring colors and brim with local handicrafts and traditional Easter treats. Look for ceramics, embroidered lace, wooden toys, glassware and more. Marvel at the hand-painted Easter eggs, either from fresh hen eggs or crafted from wood, and adorned with a variety of colors and designs. As for the tasty treats being sold, be sure to try the spit-roasted ham, flatbread topped with garlic, cheese and ketchup, and a beránek, an iced cake in the shape of a lamb. Later in the evening, when the chill of winter is still in the air, sip a warm medovina (honey wine or mead) or the Tatranský čaj, a spirit of 160 proof - sure to warm your insides!
Falling on the third Monday of April, the Sechseläuten spring holiday brings out locals and visitors to the burning of the Böögg, a snowman, to drive out winter and welcome spring! People dressed in traditional guild costume take over the promenade and the city comes to life. Around this same time, the historic Bremgarten Easter Market opens - a tradition for almost 800 years - with fun for young and old, including an amusement park and nearly 100 artisan stalls, all set along the Reuss River.
Preparation for Easter Markets being undertaken at Schonbrunn Palace
The chocolate bunny was created here, so it’s no surprise that German Easter markets up the ante with sweet treats, Easter trees decorated with hand-painted eggs and lively open-air markets. Visit the Main Market Square for the 16-day Häferlesmarkt in Nuremberg to fill your Easter baskets with wooden handicrafts, pottery and homespun textiles. In Michelstadt, attend the medieval town’s namesake market where you can watch crafter demonstrations, then see chicks hatch and the eggs from different bird species.
Listen to the soft sounds of jazz on the breeze as you browse the Salzburg Easter Market. The annual Easter Festival promises a full music program, stalls selling handcrafted candles, floral arrangements and palm leaves, and regional ham, butter and cheese. In Stubing, you can attend the ancient sunrise tradition of Palmbuschenbinden, held at the open-air museum’s smokehouse. Taste the local sausages, enjoy music and shop at the Villach Easter Market. In Vienna, the capital city celebrates its Easter market in the baroque setting of the Schloss Schönbrunn.
A cute display I found during an after dinner stroll through Vilshofen
Visit Easter markets throughout Europe on river cruises in the Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, Poland, Germany and more.
Let’s chat about how to get you there in time for these springtime spectaculars.
The exterior of the Mozart house during my recent visit.
Mozart is a constant in our house. Whether it’s my husband or my daughter playing one of the great composer’s masterful pieces on the piano, or my other daughter playing a Mozart opus on the violin, the sounds of the classical idol have accompanied our life for years. It was fitting, I suppose, that at some point in my travels I would find myself in Mozart’s birthplace. Here I was at No. 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg, Austria, alone for a few surreal moments in the very room in which he was born. A heady moment, to be sure. Here are just a few of the things I learned about Mozart that day and why I highly recommend a visit to his birth home, as well as his subsequent residence elsewhere in the city.
Wolfgang Amadé Mozart was born in 1756 on the third floor of a bright-yellow house on Getreidegasse, known at that time as the “Upper Hagenauer House on the Fish Market.” Today, the house is one of the most-visited museums in Austria. His family lived in the home for 26 years, starting in 1747, before moving to the Mozart Residence on Makartplatz Square. The birthplace museum was opened in 1880 by the International Mozarteum Foundation.
Mozart's original pianoforte. He received his child violin at the age of 6.
What You’ll See at the Mozart House
I suggest taking the hour-long tour through the original rooms of the Mozart House. You’ll see original certificates, letters and memorabilia from his life in Salzburg; a collection of portraits; and Mozart’s own violin and clavichord. You can also explore the reconstructed apartment that has been outfitted with furniture from the 18th century for an authentic feel. On the first floor, an annual exhibition keeps things fresh, so it’s even fun to return if you’ve visited the house-museum on a prior visit. You’ll leave with a new perspective on and appreciation for this musical genius.
Don’t Overlook the Mozart Residence
Once you’ve visited the Mozart House, move on to the Mozart Residence or “Dance Master’s House” on today’s Makartplatz. The eight-room apartment on the first floor, where the family lived from 1773 to 1787, has been converted into an intriguing museum. Mozart lived here until he moved to Vienna in 1781. The home suffered damage during World War II, but was bought and restored according to its original building plans by the International Mozart Foundation in 1955. Look for Mozart’s pianoforte, original documents, portraits and more, and attend concerts and talks that dive deeper into the Mozart experience.
A few of the items on display that I saw during my visit.
More About Mozart
Did you know …
… that Mozart was a knight?
In fact, he was dubbed by the Pope a “Knight of the Golden Spur.” Much to his father Leopold’s chagrin, he didn’t marry a baroness befitting of his royal station, but in fact married for love.
… that Mozart wrote a poem for his bird?
In keeping with the family’s penchant for music, they typically kept songbirds as pets. (They also had a fox terrier named Pimperl.) When Mozart lived in Vienna as an adult, he continued to keep birds, including a starling to whom he penned “Poem to a dead starling” upon its passing in 1787.
Are you a music lover? Let’s chat about why you should include the Mozart House and Mozart Residence on your trip to Austria!
Truffle hunting in Avignon on a perfect spring day!
What’s one of the most authentic experiences one can have when visiting Avignon, France? Truffle hunting! If offered the opportunity during your visit to the region, you really must say, “oui, oui!” You can meet truffle farmers and learn about the business, and best of all, meet their truffle-hunting dogs. You’ll bring home a whole new perspective on your favorite truffle fries.
Ready to sniff out truffles? Here are a few fun facts about this palate-pleasing treasure.
Freshly harvested truffles
As if Provence wasn’t enchanting enough … with its fields of lavender, sunflowers and incredible food and wine, now you can add a truffle-hunting experience in Avignon to the list during your river cruise.
The perfect way to end truffle hunting - a snack of truffles on toast!
Let’s chat about how to make sure your itinerary includes truffle hunting. Delicieux!
The front of Schӧnbrunn Palace as they were preparing for Easter markets
Hanging Out with the Habsburgs: A Guide to Visiting Austria’s Schӧnbrunn Palace and Gardens
The Story of Schönbrunn
Built in celebration of the Habsburg emperors’ second victory over the Turks in 1683, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Schӧnbrunn Palace continues to be one of the most significant examples of Baroque architecture in Europe. It served as a replacement to the older Imperial summer residence that had suffered extensive damage in the Battle of Vienna.
It wasn’t until around 1750 that the palace became known as a cultural center. At that time, Maria Theresa of Austria converted the palace to her summer residence and started hosting classical music concerts and elegant balls. It was around this time, as well, that Schӧnbrunn was gaining importance after its establishment of the world’s first zoo.
Today, visitors may tour the impressive 1,441-room palace and gardens, one of the most architectural, cultural and historical monuments in the country. During my recent visit there, we toured the interior with a private guide and then had free time to visit the stables and stroll through the gardens and grounds, imagining cultured life in the 18th century.
Fun fact: What does Schӧnbrunn mean? It's derived from “schӧner Brunnen,” which means “beautiful well.” Legend has it that Emperor Matthias was exploring and hunting in the area in the early 17th century and stumbled upon an artesian well, exclaiming, “What a beautiful well!”
The largest gloriette in the world is absolutely stunning
Highlights of Schönbrunn Palace
The first floor has 40 (!) rooms, all of which are typically open to visitors. Most of the rooms are designed in neo-rococo and Biedermeier style, with white ceilings and furnishings embellished with gold. You’ll notice French-style chairs upholstered in red damask and enormous crystal and golden chandeliers, Belgian tapestries, massive landscape murals and portraits of the Imperial family. Don’t miss the Great Gallery, where you can learn all about the lives of the Habsburgs, from Empress Maria Theresa to Emperor Francis Joseph to his wife Empress Sissi.
There are Chinese-style rooms decked out with black-lacquered panel work and blue and white porcelain vases, as well as two ballrooms lined with frescoes and murals. The Marie Antoniette room - or family dining room - shows off an incredible collection of Venetian porcelain, Imperial dining silverware and fine crystal glasses.
The spectacular view of Vienna from the gloriette and one of the many statues found throughout the gardens
Tell Me About the Gardens
If you have the time, I strongly urge you to visit the gorgeous Schönbrunn Gardens and the Gloriette, which overlooks the castle, the Baroque gardens and Vienna. Within the gardens, you’ll find the Crown Prince Gardens, the Maze, the Palm House and the Tirolergarten at the zoo, home to an original 18th-century farmhouse from Tyrol where you can enjoy an alfresco lunch.
The Palm House, especially, is a delight with its Old World grandeur, glass-iron construction and plethora of flora, including Mediterranean, tropical and northern vegetation. It’s a nice break from the chill outside during the colder months.
Any Insider Tips?
Yes! Check out the award-winning Puppet Theater and attend a marionette opera, such as The Magic Flute or Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (The Bat) performed with incredible wood-carved puppets, a delight for all ages.
How Long Should I Plan for a Schönbrunn Palace Tour?
It really depends on how in-depth you’d like your visit to be. Depending on whether you join the 30- to 40-minute palace tour and garden stroll or choose to visit with a private guide (highly recommended) and include the stables, your visit may take anywhere from one to four hours.
If Austria is in your sights, let’s chat about a day at Schönbrunn Palace. I’ll happily share my recent experience there for inspiration for your own travels.
Les Braves Memorial Monument on Omaha Beach
If you’re a history buff with a particular interest in World War II, a river cruise that includes Normandy is perfect for you. Not only will you visit the unforgettable D-Day beaches and have the opportunity to explore incredible museums and historic sites, but you’ll also enjoy the stunning coastline and incredible food of the region.
For now, here’s a taste of the World War II sites you may experience while on an in-depth Normandy tour:
Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
In Colleville-sur-Mer, you can visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, which is set on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery (the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II). The 173-acre cemetery contains the graves of 9,386 soldiers who lost their lives in the war, most of whom were killed during the D-Day landings and related operations. Visit the Walls of the Missing, inscribed with 1,557 names - the rosettes mark the names of those individuals who have since been recovered and identified. Walk from the cemetery down to the beach, where you can look out across the English Channel.
There is a small museum at Omaha Beach, where you can see uniform and military vehicle displays. More sobering artifacts include personal objects belonging to civilians caught in the battles, including a well-loved teddy bear. Follow the infinity pool to the beach and reflect on the Day of Days.
Arromanches Village is the site of the artificial harbor used to funnel machinery and troops.
Longues-sur-Mer Artillery Battery
A large component of the Atlantic Wall, this artillery battery includes a firing command post and four casements, each of which houses a 150mm artillery piece. The battery is located in the Allied assault zone overlooking the English channel.
While Arromanches Village is today a popular sea-side resort town, history-minded visitors will want to learn more about how the village was linked with the liberation of western Europe following D-Day. Notice the large concrete blocks that are the remains of the floating Mulberry Harbour that was used during World War II landings. The area became known as Port Winston (after Winston Churchill) and saw the arrival of 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles and four million tons of supplies. The best view of Port Winston and nearby Gold Beach is from the hill east of town, where you can also watch archival footage of the Battle of Normandy at the Arromanches 360° Circular Cinema.
Visit the significant beach of the Canadian sector - Juno. The undeveloped area of Juno Beach allows you to see ruins of German bunkers and some of the original D-Day beach obstacles. At the Juno Beach Center, you can learn more about the Canadian contribution to the D-Day invasions.
In the area of the Juno and Gold beaches, visit the historic Pegasus Bridge, originally the bridges of Ranville and Benouville. The bridges were recaptured by the British 5th Parachute Brigade, whose emblem was Pegasus.
The Pegasus Bridge. This bridge was renamed in honor of the British airborne forces.
Additional World War II Museums Near Normandy
These suggestions for what to see and do in the Normandy area are really just the beginning. Depending on your level of interest and fascination with World War II history, you can spend several days exploring the coastline area and nearby. For tips and expert guidance, be in touch. I’d love to help plan your experience.
Visiting a pub for Kölsch beer is one of my favorite things to do in Cologne!
Don't Go Kölsch Tasting in Cologne Until You've Read This!
Prost! Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about beer - the famous Kölsch of Cologne, to be exact. How to drink it. In which vessel to drink it. The best food to complement it. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to lift a glass with the most local of locals in any pub in town.
First, a short history lesson. Kölsch - the name and the beer - is exclusive to Cologne. Twenty-four breweries in the city came together in 1986 (at the Kölsch Konvention, of course!) to discuss what a Kölsch beer should be like. They decided on the following attributes: filtered, pale, top fermented and hop accentuated. They determined it should be brewed between 11 and 14 degrees Plato (which determines the density of beer wort). And … the brewmasters determined it illegal to brew Kölsch outside of Cologne.
When you've had enough, cover your glass or it will be quickly refilled!
Ready to knock back a refreshing Kölsch? Let’s start with where. Grab a seat in a lively brewhouse, typically a large open room with ample table seating. The kobe (waiter) replaces your typical bartender, arriving at each table with their kranz (crown). This round tray has a handle and slots for glasses. When you order a beer, the kobe will give you a tally mark on your coaster. Had enough? Put your hand or coaster over your glass.
At whatever brewpub you choose in Cologne, your beer will be served in an identical manner. During the Konvention, it was determined that the brew should be served at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit in a tall, narrow, 0.2-liter glass to ensure that one drinks it before it gets warm. The glass, called a stange, is so vital to the enjoyment of Kölsch, that friends have been known to bring extras along in case a pal arrives at the bar empty handed. Perhaps the best part about the stange? Every time a waiter spots an empty one, they’ll fill it up!
Kölsch beer is often served with traditional potato pancakes and applesauce.
Now, what should you eat alongside your tasty Kölsch? The traditional favorite is potato pancakes and applesauce. The crispy hot pancake and cold, sweet apple will instantly whisk you back to Grandma’s house. A few other favorites: Bavarian soft pretzels, Bratwurst, Wiener Schnitzel, beer-braised brisket or even doughnuts.
Here are a few of the most beloved brewpubs in Cologne, any of which are the perfect spot for your first Kölsch tasting!
Ready to try this most German of beers? Let’s chat about how we can get you to Cologne on a glorious river cruise.
Durnstein is known as the Pearl of the Wachau
If visions of storybook castles, misty vineyards and fairytale villages dance in your head, set sail along the Danube River to Austria’s Wachau Valley - and, in particular, Dürnstein. Known as the “Pearl of the Wachau,” Dürnstein has been around since 1192, when Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner in the city’s castle during the Third Crusade. Today, Dürnstein is one of the top destinations on the Danube for history, culture, architecture and wine tasting. Here’s what you should do while you’re there.
Visit the Dürnstein Castle Ruins
Make your way on a guided hike up the hill (about a half-hour walk) to the rocky ridge where once King Richard the Lionheart of England was held captive by Leopold V, Duke of Austria. While the ancient castle fortress itself has not survived the centuries, you’ll feel history come alive around you as you gaze out at the vineyard-studded countryside and the Wachau Valley.
Take a guided hike and tour the ancient castle fortress or a enjoy a guided city tour.
Walk the Haupstrasse
The main street through Dürnstein, the Hauptstrasse, makes for an atmospheric stroll, as you wander past exquisitely decorated historic residences, some of which date back to the 1500s. The level of restoration and maintenance is particularly impressive, considering the age of the buildings. While you’re in town, visit the 15th-century Stift Dürnstein (Dürnstein Abbey). Originally an Augustinian monastery, it was reconstructed in Baroque style and today its tower is a striking, blue-and-white landmark above the Danube Valley. Inside, look for altar paintings by Kremser Schmidt, a noted Baroque artist.
Riverside and courtyard views of the Stift Dürnstein (Dürnstein Abbey)
Sip the Wine
Spend an afternoon at Domane Wachau, with hundreds of acres of vineyards as part of a wine-growing cooperative. Notice the old, dry stone walls that reinforce the steep vineyard terraces. The cooperative offers vintages from the most prestigious sites in the region, including Achleiten, Kollmitz, Loibenberg and Tausend-Eimer-Berg. Need a little sustenance with your wine tasting? Dürnstein is also known for its apricot products, so be on the lookout for fantastic jams and other treats. Some of the best traditional restaurants for local cuisine in Dürnstein are the Altes Presshaus and the Dürnsteinherhof.
Skip Over to Krems
Just down the river, Krems is a lovely add-on to your Dürnstein and Wachau Valley wanderings. It’s one of the most scenic towns in the area and can trace its settlement history back to 995 AD. Put aside a couple of hours to visit the medieval gate of Steiner Tor, the only remaining gate from the city walls, walk the main street of Obere Landstrasse to see the traditional burgher houses of Old Town (don’t miss the 13th-century Gozzoburg House) and taste a few of the valley’s incredible wines at one of the many convivial cafes throughout town.
Passengers and guides preparing for a bike tour of Krems
If storybook Europe - particularly the romantic Danube and the Wachau Valley - sounds intriguing, let’s set you up on a luxury river cruise that will place you right in the heart of a fairytale. Whatever your passion or travel style, there’s a river cruise perfect for you. Let’s chat.
A bakery stop for a fresh bretzel is a must!
You’ve sailed into the quaint town of Wertheim, set along the tranquil Main River in Germany. Having experienced or about to experience the highlights of Wurzburg, Mainz and Rudesheim, you may wonder what’s to see in Wertheim. Oh, there’s certainly plenty to see, I assure you, but there’s also plenty to taste!
Take a walking tour to get acquainted with the history and culture of this charming riverside town, appreciating the medieval architecture and the products of a rich glass-making tradition. Then, it’s time for the eats - make your way to a local bakery for a tour and a sample of a fresh bretzel (as it’s called in Germany).
Long associated with Germany, the bretzel can trace its origins back to medieval Europe, when an Italian monk is said to have created the twisty treat with arms shaped in prayer as a reward for local schoolchildren. Over time, the bretzel tradition spread through Europe, becoming associated with good luck and eternal love. You’ve heard of “tying the knot” in reference to marriage? That idiom likely traces back to the 1600s, when the Swiss used pretzels/bretzels to symbolize the matrimonial bond during wedding ceremonies. It was Germans, however, that brought pretzels with them to the American colonies - Pennsylvania, specifically - in the 1700s.
To earn its stripes as a bretzel in Germany, the perfect specimen must be fat in the middle and thin at the edges. On a bakery tour, you’ll have the chance to hear the personal stories of the baker and the methods they use for bretzel and sourdough bread baking. Of course, a sample won’t be enough, so be prepared to purchase several warm bretzels to take back to the ship with you. (Some say that Wertheim’s best bretzel can be found at the Fritz Frischmuth bakery.)
Wine tasting can be experienced at the Pointed Tower of Wertheim.
Continue your exploration of Wertheim on foot or on bike. Visit the largest stone fortress in southern Germany, the Wertheim Castle. The vistas alone - of town, the Main and Tauber rivers and the Bavarian border - are worth the steep, but short, climb. Go wine tasting at the Pointed Tower of Wertheim. Shop the adorable boutiques, picking up hand-curated kitchenwares, clothing and gifts. Visit the Wertheim Glass Museum, where you’ll see ancient glass pieces, industrial glass and glass-blowing exhibitions (don’t miss the gift shop).
See? Wertheim may just end up being your favorite stop along your Main River cruise. And this is just one port! There’s so much to explore and enjoy on a Europe river cruise - from bretzel to Baroque. Let’s chat.