Brigitte Kiepert

One-hour trips across Europe

By - Jun 29th, 2010 04:00 am
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Time frame: one hour. A lot can be accomplished in a 60-minute period; a lot can build up if you let 60 minutes pass. I don’t know about you, but it always seems as if an hour at work can feel like an eternity and an hour of free time can feel like a few minutes. But if you find yourself with an hour to spare in Bonn, Germany, it can be the most wonderful thing.

For me to fly across Deutschland or to other neighboring countries, it only takes (you guessed it), an hour. Needless to say, my free time has been occupied quite nicely.


Knowing that my travel time sits at the 60-minute mark has become very comforting. Sometimes I find myself so caught up in the family’s life and working hard to meet all of their needs. With two kids and a house to take care of, there isn’t much (if any) extra time to stop and smell the roses. I have to shake myself from the family circle that seems to be spinning so fast. I have to think, why am I here? What’s the benefit of dealing with another’s dirty laundry (literally)?

The answer comes quickly. To travel. I want to see the world. I want to experience something new.

With my allotted time off, my goal is to make every second count. And so far, I am quite satisfied with my journeys. It is such a sense of accomplishment, and every time I make that check on the map, I am more and more thankful. If I may, I would like to share a few of my travels with you.

Let’s start with January. As I previously wrote, I spent my Christmas in Berlin. And as the new year quickly approached, I left the city to meet a friend in Stuttgart. From there, we traveled to Munich, where we rang in 2010.

The Alps rise above Davos

Shortly after, I reunited with my au pair family in Davos, Switzerland for a 10-day skiing vacation. The Swiss Alps were absolutely breathtaking. My days were filled with hot chocolate and ski runs down the most amazing paths that wove through the mountains.

We happened to be there during the O’Neil Evolution snowboarding competition. I was lucky enough to hang out with a few of the competitors and the local Swiss — what an evening that turned out to be.

I made a full circle and ended my January with a trip back to Berlin. This time around, I traveled with another friend of mine. I saw a very different side of the city; with no kids, the possibilities seemed endless.

February I spent most of my time in Cologne (Köln), celebrating Carnival (Karneval). As I explained in my last column, Carnival is known as the “fifth season,” to prep people for Lent. And with Cologne only being a short train ride away, on weekends I celebrated with the locals, kicking back and enjoying the Cologne specialty, Kölsch beer.

A preserved piece of the Berlin Wall

In March I ventured to Amsterdam. Right off the bat, I met the most fantastic people from London and we spent the weekend exploring the city together. Amsterdam is incredibly beautiful and might I add, such a fascinating city. From the coffee shops to the Red Light District, I have experienced nothing like it.

April became quite a memorable month for me. My cousin from the States came to visit, and together we traveled to Prague, London, Berlin, Heidelberg and Frankfurt. As we traveled from city to city, the food, the people, the atmosphere
ranged from one end of the cultural spectrum to the other. What an amazing experience that was.

Last month I headed to Brussels and Luxembourg with a good friend. To our surprise, a jazz festival was in full swing on our weekend visit . I don’t know if I could have asked for a better time. What beats Belgian waffles, beer, music and good company?

Next up Dresden, Germany, a trip back to Berlin and the (very anticipated) indulgence of wine in Germany’s best vineyards. Oh July, how I long for you. Knowing that an escape is within an hour’s reach, and knowing that the price I pay consists of laundry, kids and cooking, doesn’t seem so bad in the scheme of things.

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