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Monschau, even lovelier the second time around

The German town so quaint it feels like a theme park — complete with a 13th century castle — had been a missed opportunity several years ago, but a return trip proved to be just the ticket.

July 17, 2011|By Susan Spano, Special to the Los Angeles Times

After the war Vogelsang was occupied by the U.S. and Britain until 1950, when it became an extra-territorial Belgian military camp, closed to outsiders. Reopened in 2006 as an historic site, it now attracts mostly German sightseers who want their children to know about the Third Reich.

It seems to me that in Germany you always travel through light and shadow. Think of Baroque Dresden, risen from the ashes of a World War II firestorm, vibrant Berlin with its landmark Jewish Museum and the bucolic Bavarian Alps where Hitler loved to summer.

So, after a brief drive west, I was not surprised to reemerge from Vogelsang's darkness into the sunshine of Einruhr on Lake Obersee, where Martha and I cruised with pallid excursion-boat passengers who eagerly had stripped down to sleeveless Ts. We saw only sunlight scenes: backpackers along the trail that circles the lake, a man with a big dog on a dock, spotted cows in a meadow. It could have been Brigadoon — only I know for sure that it does exist because this time I did not pass it by.

travel@latimes.com

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