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My favorite things

October 22, 2006

GETTING THERE:

From LAX to Frankfurt, Germany, Lufthansa flies nonstop; United flies direct (stop, no change of plane); Delta, Continental, Air France, British, Northwest, Aer Lingus and US Airways have connecting flights (change of plane). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $750.

TELEPHONES:

To call the German numbers listed below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code) and 49 (country code for Germany), followed by the number.

WHERE TO STAY:

Berghotel Kockelsberg, 1 Kockelsberg, 54293, Trier; 651-824-8000, www.kockelsberg.de/html/english.html. The hotel, on a hill overlooking the city, has a great restaurant and woods threaded with trails. (One takes you to a wild animal park.) Rate: $151 per night for two adults and two children.

Gasthof zur Sonne, 11 Hafengasse, 91541, Rothenburg ob der Tauber; 9861-2166, www.sonne.rothenburg.de. The room, over a good restaurant, was clean and airy. Rate: $165 per night for four.

Flair Hotel Weisses Ross, 12 Steingasse, 91550, Dinkelsbuhl; 9851-579890, www.hotel-weisses-ross.de. A portion of the hotel is a converted barn, with high ceilings and spacious rooms. Ours had a loft bedroom and a kitchenette. $140 per night for four.

Housing rentals: Ferienwohnungen Eschach 111, 87474 Buchenberg; 8378-7237, www.eschach-111.de. This lodge has four apartments, ranging from $57 to $66. All are lovely. We had Rappenkopf, with two bedrooms, one with bunk beds, a small kitchen, bathroom, living-dining area and a small balcony.

WHERE TO EAT:

Domhof-Hausbrauerei, 6 Grosse Himmelsgasse, 74055 Speyer, 6232-67440. Quintessential beer garden, with a children's playground and a children's menu. Entrees $6-$18.

Gasthaus Alt-Hendesse, 4 Muhltalstr, 69121 Heidelberg, 622-1480517. A lovely beer garden on the outskirts of Heidelberg. Entrees $10-$19.

THINGS TO DO

Trier: Take a walking tour; many are organized by the Tourist Office, which is next to the Porta Nigra, www.trier.de/toursimus.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Although you can walk the walls on your own, don't miss the Nachtwachter (night watchman) tour. It is educational and entertaining. English-speaking tours meet at the Rathaus at 8 p.m. Hans Georg Baumgartner has his own DVD and website, www.nightwatchman.de.

Bavaria: There are many ski towns with cable cars in the areas around Lake Constance. We drove to Oberstdorf, a slightly touristy but still charming town, and took the Nebelhorn car to the upper station. It wasn't cheap ($30 for adults, $23 for kids 6-11, $13 for kids younger than 6), but the views are incomparable.

TO LEARN MORE:

German National Tourist Office, (800) 651-7010, www.visits-to-germany.com.

-- Mary McNamara

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