Attracting droves of tourists every year, Europe promises the ancient, the diverse, and the completely fascinating. Most travelers scurry past the major sites and cram in as much as possible in order to get through a list of ‘must sees.’
Unfortunately, much is overlooked due to lack of time and money while the infinite unique treasures sometimes hidden for the resourceful traveler remain undiscovered and unappreciated. Not that visits to the key attractions should be dissuaded! On the contrary, I’m simply inviting the European travelers to dig a little deeper into their destination country and find the gems that will make them smile as they recall them even decades later.
Remember and celebrate the taste of a fresh German pretzel, the sweet smell of the air in a Tuscan vineyard, or the baby soft petals in a colorful field of Dutch tulips. Savor an entire spectrum of sensory bliss as you skip from one country to the next, searching for that tiny unique detail that you will fondly relish for the rest of your life.
When pondering European crystal, the Czech Republic or Austria normally comes to mind. Germany, however, holds its own when it comes to the crystal and glass market. Its sleepy town of Bodenmais, near the German/Czech border, snuggles in among the surrounding Bavarian Forest and promises more than just delightfully sparkling treasures.
Scenery fit for a postcard, Bodenmais is as breathtaking as it is full of fun. The little village, which traces its history as far back as 1300, is chock full of crystal and glass shops along its quiet streets. The Joska factory is the highlight – an enormous complex of shops for watching demonstrations, blowing your own glass, savoring a delicious meal, and of course – purchasing exquisite crystal. Joska has a family-friendly atmosphere about it – little hands and feet can explore its Kinderland.
Full of activities, education, and a grand playground, children play safe while the crystal lovers of the family enjoy the delicate wares that the factory has to offer. Not ending its premium customer service at the checkout counter, Joska packs its customer’s finds in cushioning packing paper and study boxes and will even ship internationally, if needed.
There are plenty of other activities in Bodenmais besides those involving glass. What’s crystal without candles to heighten the ambiance? Joska stocks a selection and there are several candle outlets throughout the town. Or handmade wood accents for the home? Bodenmais is home to talented craftsmen. Shopped out? Cross-country skiing is avidly enjoyed in the countryside of Bodenmais.
Stores offer ski rentals for visitors before skiing and more offer hearty meals after enjoying the sport. For a more relaxing experience, explore the Silberburg (Silver Mountain). The mines are not only interesting but provide special therapeutic results to those suffering from respiratory disorders. A myriad of other recommendations can also come from one of many friendly families that run the adorable mountainside bed-and-breakfast homes throughout the town.
Full of dazzling crystal, Bodenmais welcomes both local and international visitors to its quaint paradise. Whether in a ‘shop-til-you-drop’ or ‘just let me relax’ mood, Bodenmais beckons you to just breath in the crisp alpine air and enjoy all that awaits.
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