9 OF THE BEST Ger­many with a twist

Roll up to ride the Rocky Moun­taineer Wilt­shire week­end’s Lon­gleat on thrills It’s not all oom­pah bands, leder­ho­sen, and Black For­est Gateau. Ger­many is full of sur­prises . . .

Irish Sunday Mirror - - TRAVEL - BY ANDREW EAMES

1 HAM­BURG’S ROCK ’N’ ROLL FISH MAR­KET Free This un­sung city’s cover as a great week­end break des­ti­na­tion has been blown of late, thanks to the ex­tra­or­di­nary new Elbphil­har­monie con­cert hall which looms over the docks. Along the shore, how­ever, is a weekly event which gets lit­tle fan­fare: the Sun­day morn­ing fish mar­ket, a sort of shop ’n’ rock fes­ti­val, which starts at dawn ev­ery Sab­bath. The mar­ket build­ing it­self hosts the heavy metal, the rock ’n’ roll and the beer-as­sisted break­fasts, while all around it sprawls the mar­ket proper. The mu­sic is good, and many of the stall-hold­ers per­form too, in­clud­ing Ba­nana Fred (spe­cial­ity: hurl­ing fruit) and Eely Di­eter (spe­cial­ity: hurl­ing abuse). It’s all fin­ished by 9.30am, where­upon the ex­hausted Cin­derel­las drift away, clutch­ing im­pulse pur­chases of greasy eels. ham­burg.com/sights/fish-mar­ket

2 WORLD’S MOST BEAU­TI­FUL COAL MINE En­try €8 The Ruhr re­gion, with cities such as Essen, Dort­mund and Duis­burg, was Ger­many’s in­dus­trial heart­land, but glob­al­i­sa­tion has changed that, and many of its gi­ant in­sti­tu­tions have been re-pur­posed: the gas­om­e­ter at Ober­hausen has be­come an ex­hi­bi­tion space, and the blast fur­nace at Duis­burg-nord has be­come a ‘land­scape park’. Best of all is Essen’s Zeche Zol­lverein, once the world’s largest coal mine, which has been listed by UNESCO for its Bauhaus de­sign and the del­i­cacy of its brick­work, and at­tracts a mil­lion vis­i­tors a year.

To­day there’s a swim­ming pool in the cok­ing sec­tion, a trendy restau­rant in the for­mer power plant, plus a de­sign mu­seum and a big dip­per. zol­lverein.de

3 AP­PLEWINE IN FRANK­FURT €3.10 per half litre There’s an­other side to the sleek, ster­ile fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal of Ger­many. Down­town, so-called Bank­furt, is a place of scur­ry­ing suits, but head south across the river and things be­gin to loosen up. Here in the work­ing class district of Sach­sen­hausen, the fo­cus of so­cial life is a nest of pedes­trian al­leys a cou­ple of blocks in­land, par­tic­u­larly Paradies­gasse and Rit­ter­gasse, lined with ap­plewine tav­erns. Their of­fer­ing is sim­ple: cus­tomers drink lo­cally-made apfel­wein (a tart cider which packs a punch) seated at so­cia­ble long ta­bles, and eat

tra­di­tional food such as Hand­käs mit musik, a sour milk cheese drowned in vine­gar and chopped onions and served with bread. It all gets pretty lively on Fri­day and Satur­day nights. struwwelpeter-frank­furt.de

4 DIY GRAND PRIX AT THE NÜR­BUR­GRING €25 for one cir­cuit

Ger­many is a par­adise for petrol­heads, fa­mous for its car mak­ers, for speed-limit-free au­to­bahns, and for open­ing up its race cir­cuit to all com­ers in their own cars. The Nür­bur­gring, in the Eifel re­gion near Cologne, has its For­mula One cir­cuit and its orig­i­nal 14-mile Nord­schleife, which drapes it­self in sin­u­ous loops around the Eifel’s forested slopes. The 73 right-an­gled bends of this orig­i­nal track were too much for pro­fes­sional driv­ers, who boy­cotted it af­ter Nikki Lauda’s 1975 ac­ci­dent. Since then the “Green Hell” (Jackie Ste­wart’s de­scrip­tion) has be­come a place for the pub­lic to un­leash their in­ner Audi. You will be warned be­fore you set out that you have to pay for any dam­age to crash bar­ri­ers, but if you find your­self haul­ing out the credit card, you should be pleased you’re still alive. The sched­ule for pub­lic cir­cuits is posted on green­helldriv­ing.nuer­bur­gring.de

5 HOMEBREW HEAVEN IN BAVARIA €3.80 a litre There are a hand­ful of vil­lages in the Oberp­falz re­gion of east­ern Bavaria where the homebrew is of­fi­cial. It’s called Zoigl beer, and is made by in­di­vid­ual house­holds, in vil­lage brew­houses. Hav­ing made his brew, the house­holder takes it home, hoists the Zoigl star and throws open his doors to all com­ers un­til it’s all gone. It’s a con­vivial ex­pe­ri­ence, with very good, cheap beer and sim­ple food. The key vil­lages in­volved are Windis­cheschen­bach (zoigl­bier.de/brauhaeuser/ windis­cheschen­bach) and Neuhaus, and a Zoigl cal­en­dar re­veals which Zoiglstube (Zoigl bar) is open. Stay in Ho­tel Zum Wald­naab­tal (wald­naab­tal-ho­tel.de) in Neuhaus. Rooms from €60.

6 zoiglinfo.de PADDLESTEAMER UP THE ELBE From €7.50 Fa­mously car­pet-bombed in World War II, to­day the city of Dres­den is like a porce­lain vase care­fully pieced back to­gether. The river­front, with spires, bell­tow­ers and boats that once earned the city the ti­tle of the Florence of the Elbe, is back as it was in the days when Canaletto painted it. Serv­ing the wa­ter­front is the old­est and largest fleet of pad­dlesteam­ers in the world. In the

sum­mer they do trips upriver to Saxon Switzer­land, past re­mark­able cas­tles and vine­yards. Timeta­bles are on saech­sis­che-dampf­schif­fahrt.de

7 HAMELIN’S PIED PIPER PLAY Free It’s not of­ten a plague of ro­dents fol­lowed by a mass child ab­duc­tion be­comes a tourist at­trac­tion, but Hamelin in Lower Sax­ony has made a virtue out of its Pied Piper story. Ev­ery Sun­day, from May to Septem­ber, 80 towns­peo­ple join in a pub­lic re-en­act­ment of the fairy­tale. It’s free to at­tend, but the town’s bak­eries are in­fested with rats (made of bread, choco­late or cake) and res­tau­rants of­fer rats’ tails (pork, sliced thin) and Rat­tenkiller cock­tails. hameln.de/en

8 SEABED HIK­ING TO NEUWERK Ferry €44.50 re­turn The Wad­densee off Ger­many’s North Sea coast is very shal­low, and in spring the water goes out an as­ton­ish­ing 15km. That means the low-ly­ing grassy is­land of Neuwerk com­pletely dries out. It is a tra­di­tion to make the 7km cross­ing of the sandy seabed from is­land to main­land on foot or by horse and cart, on a route marked with twigs and dot­ted with safety cages for any­one caught by the re­turn­ing tide. Neuwerk fer­ries de­part from Cux­haven, cassen-eils.de

9 SLEEP ON A BALTIC BEACH From €60 per night The white sand beaches of Ger­many’s Baltic Coast look ap­peal­ing, but are very windy. So the Ger­mans hire out Strand­ko­rbs, dou­ble beach chairs, to shel­ter you from the wind for €8 a day. They also of­fer sleeper Strand­ko­rbs, dou­ble beds with hoods, pop­u­lar on the beaches of Sch­leswig-hol­stein. From €60 per night. ost­see-sch­leswig-hol­stein.de/ strand­schlafen-ost­see.html

1 Heavy metal with your break­fast in Ham­burg 3 Take your pick of the many ap­plewine inns in Frank­furt

2 Essen coal mine is deeply im­pres­sive

6 En­joy a trip up the Elbe from Dres­den

4 The Green Hell track is heaven for driv­ers 5 The Zoigl star means stop here for the beer

7 He who plays the piper in Hamelin’s fairy­tale

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