Gondorf & The Eifelpark
Eifelpark Gondorf is a small zoo/amusement park within just a few kilometers of Spangdahlem and Dudeldorf. It has a bunch of animals like eagles, bears, deer, wild cats, emus and more. It also has some pretty low-tech rides and other amusements such as a small roller coaster, an American Indian village (the "tipidorf!"), shows, and a water ride. For the kids you'll find puppet shows, clowns, and lots of other things.
My two fondest memories here were the ride down the hill that was called the Super Rutschbahnen which went as fast as you dared, and the nearly tame bears which would sit below a wall and catch snacks that you threw down to them. I always thought the Super Rutschbahnen was a little dangerous as it had no safety devices and you could go flying down through the woods if you didn't hit the brakes. Looks like it has been replaced with a safer children's roller coaster-type ride.
The park is open from April through October. The price for an adult is 13 Euro and it's 9 Euro for a child.
Another small farming village called Gransdorf, is near Gindorf, just a few kilometers north of Dudeldorf. This village is tiny and has nothing other than a few houses and some farms. The new autobahn passes through this region, and was constructed during my time in Germany.
Germany's Eifel Region
The Eifel is a geographic area in Germany rather than an area defined by political boundaries. The Eifel occupies a large area of farms and forest north of the Mosel river between Luxembourg and Koblenz. The northern edge of the Eifel is south of Bonn. The Eifel has no major cities, and only a few mid-size towns such as Bitburg and Wittlich. Like most of Germany, this area is crisscrossed by a few autobahns and passenger rail lines, making transportation to and from the major tourist areas easy and convenient.
During World War II, the Eifel was famous because this was the German staging area for the Battle of the Bulge -- the last German counteroffensive -- in December 1944. When this offensive failed, it was clear the end of Hitler's reign was near.
- Castles and Palaces
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
Spangdahlem Village is just east of Dudeldorf a few kilometers. This town is home to US Air Force's Spangdahlem Air Base. Somehow maintaining a hint of German charm, Spangdahlem is truly defined by the military presence over the last 60 years.
We used to frequent an Irish Pub and a great little Italian restaurant here in town.
As you drive east on German Route B-50 from Dudeldorf toward Wittlich, you will pass Landscheid. Then you will pass Landscheid. Then you will pass Landscheid.
For the longest time, I could not figure out why the road kept entering and exiting the same town. Then I discovered there are three towns in a row, all named Landschied! People I knew in these towns would often say "I live in the second Landscheid" to describe to people where they lived.
I believe each of these towns also has another name, they just unified their government under the same name to reduce costs.
The first Landschied has a great little restaurant just off B-50.
Bollendorf -- Schloss Weilerbach Gardens
The beautiful gardens at Schloss Weilerbach are unique among the smaller castles in Germany. Typically only the large castles within major cities have gardens of this type. These gardens are fairly small, maybe 150 meters end-to-end with two fountains. On one end of the gardens is a small building with just one room. This is a small picnic pavilion.
Bollendorf -- Schloss Weilerbach
Schloss (Castle) Weilerbach is located in Bollendorf, Germany, along the Sauer River. The closest large town is Echternach, Luxemburg, about 9 km to the south on Lux route N10.
The tiny castle (or maybe a more appropriate term is "mansion") was built around 1790. It sits beside a small dam & reservoir once used for the ironworks just down the hill. To the left of the house, on the hillside sits a beautiful baroque garden with fountains and a great view over the surrounding countryside.
Bitte Ein Bit!
"Bitte Ein Bit" is one of the most famous phrases throughout the state of Rheinland-Pfalz and across Germany. This simple phrase brings joy to millions every day... it simply means, "please bring me a Bitburger beer".
Bitburger is brewed in the small town of Bitburg, located just 30 minutes from the Luxemburg border. The brewery is the largest employer in town, and beer from here is shipped all over the world. Look for the distinctive green and gold logo at gasthauses near you! Or for a real treat, visit the brewery in downtown Bitburg, 45 minutes north of Trier.
Johannesbrunnen -- or Jahannes' Fountain -- was built around 1800. It features a small statue of Johannes, a former ruler of the area, on top of a small tower. The fountain flows from the mouth of a lion into a small trough.
The fountain sits just inside the upper gate, near the church, at the west end of the old town.
Dudeldorf Hauptstraße (Main St)
The main street through the center of old Dudeldorf is about 150 meters end-to-end. At the ends are a set of matching towers with arched gates, that form the only entrances through the old city walls. The arches are just wide enough for one car, and the street isn't much wider! On main street you will find a small bakery (backerie), a little grocery store, a butcher shop (metzgerie), and a pension/guesthouse. Dudeldorf's annual Christmas market is also held here in the center of town -- at that time, the narrow street is blocked to create room for the food vendors, gift stalls, and live music.
I was told by the local kids (kinder) that every 20 years or so, the children block the street and collect tolls to help replace or repair the cobblestones that form this road.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
- Castles and Palaces
Dudeldorf City Gates
The ancient city gates in Dudeldorf were built in the 1400s. The Upper Gate is home to a restaurant called Torschanke (meaning "Gate Tavern"). Just inside the Upper gate is Johannesbrunnen fountain, while the Dudeldorf Cemetery sits just outside the gate. The Lower Gate is part of a residential building today.
The inside walls of the gates are full of scrapes, scratches, nicks, and dents from vehicles driving too close to the edges. According to local legend, some of the larger grooves were caused by tanks belonging to US General George Patton's Third Army as they passed through this area after the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945.
Dudeldorf castle was built in the 1800s, though another castle occupied this site as far back as 1052. The castle is just outside the city walls between Erdorf and Dudeldorf's old town. It's more of a mansion than a castle, but we take what we can get. During the summer, the castle gardens are open to the public.
- Road Trip
Schloss Malberg sits on a steep hillside dominating Malberg village's skyline. The castle was originally constructed in the early 18th Century, but was completely restored in the late 1990s and into the year 2000. Guided tours take place most Saturdays April through October, usually starting around 1430. Cost is 3 Euros for adults, those under 16 years old are admitted without charge.
This beautiful little village sits nestled in a lovely valley along the Kyll River. Next to Kyllburg, Malberg is only about 12 kilometers north of Bitburg. Aside from being a picturesque German town, Malberg is also home to a unique palace: Schloss Malberg. Only 750 people live in this small village which hosts a few gasthauses, restaurants, and inns.
Bitburg Military Cemetery (Kolmeshohe Cemetery)
On May 5th 1985, then President Ronald Regan made a historic trip to Kolmeshohe Cemetery in Bitburg, Germany. As an effort to show solidarity between the US and its West German allies on the 40th anniversary of the Allies' victory over Germany, the President and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl agreed to meet here. Little did they foresee the outcry from the American Jewish community -- this burial ground is the final resting place for 49 Schutzstaffel, or SS soldiers. The SS were the most brutal of all Nazi soldiers -- known mainly for being the fanatical guards at the concentration camps, they were also responsible for the slaughter of 71 American POWs at Malmedy, Belgium. Despite the outcry, the President decided to continue on with the visit. Though it came at a trying time of President Regan's second term, the visit did not have a lasting effect on his Presidency.
Today Kolmeshohe Cemetery is a peaceful place, perfect for remembering the sacrifices our forefathers made to end Nazi tyranny and make the world safe for Democracy.