Nonstop to Germany for Its Sights, Tastes

Article excerpt

Byline: Richard Slusser

The major airport in Germany's Baden-Wurttemberg state is Stuttgart, but most trans-Atlantic travelers fly to Frankfurt in Hessen to the north or to Munich in Bavaria to the east and drive or take trains to such cities as Freiburg, Baden-Baden, Heidelberg or Stuttgart. Hourly trains operate between Basel, Switzerland, north through Baden-Wurttemberg to Frankfurt.

United Airlines and Lufthansa fly nonstop to Germany from Washington Dulles International Airport. Other choices include other international carriers from Dulles and from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where the choices include Icelandair Airlines, with a stop in Reykjavik.

Here are some recommended places from a recent visit to the Black Forest area of Baden-Wurttemberg:

mGengenbach, between Baden-Baden and Freiburg, has many half-timbered houses and a delightful bakery, Dreher, on the town square. The town is very popular in autumn during the grape harvest and also during its carnival preceding Lent.

The food is excellent in the Gasthof Hirsch restaurant, Grabenstrasse 34, 77723 Gengenbach, Germany; phone 49-7803-33387; e-mail info@gasthof-hirsch.com.

Gengenbach was settled by the Celts in pre-Christian times; it was on the important Roman road from Rotweil, Germany, to Strasbourg, France.

The town also survived the unrest of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation and the Thirty Years' War. It was burned to ashes by the troops of France's Louis XIV in 1689 but began to rebuild immediately.

The Town Hall dates from 1784; the Town Church of St. Mary was rebuilt in the baroque style after 1689 but was remodeled into a Romanesque church in 1896 and is in splendid colors today. The nearby abbey was built about 725.

For more information, contact Gengenbach Culture and Tourism Office, Im Winzerhof, 77723 Gengenbach, Germany; phone 49-7803-930143; fax 49-7803-930142; e-mail Tourist-Info@Stadt-Gengenbach.de, or check the Internet at www.Stadt-Gengenbach.de.

m Baden-Baden is an upscale spa resort whose baths date to ruins from its years under the Roman Empire. The casino is elegant - one salon is named for Madame Pompadour - and men must wear coat and tie. The emphasis is not at all on slot machines.

The German hotel chain Dorint just opened a five-star hotel near the casino. The Dorint Maison Messmer, including the previous name and current ownership, is quite different from the established Brenner's Park Hotel & Spa, and it also has its own spa. The Maison Messmer is furnished on the elegantly spare side, but it is very pleasant and comfortable, and one restaurant stays open late in the evening - the duck is superb. Doors open to balcony terraces for excellent views of the casino area, the shops and the town. Hotel Dorint Maison Messmer Baden-Baden, Werderstrasse 1, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany; phone 49-7221-3012-0; fax 49-7221-3012-100; e-mail ZCCBAD@dorint.com; Inter- net www.dorint.de/baden-baden.

From mid-January to March, Brenner's will be redoing its kitchens and restaurants for a more modern look and a gourmet restaurant that management expects to earn a Michelin star or two. The new arrangement will have a restaurant on the terrace on the park side of the hotel, a restaurant that will be open to the summer air but with windows that can be closed during cooler times and still give a splendid view of the Lichtentaler Allee and the rushing waters of the River Oos. …