Schloss Dagstuhl, a research and seminar center hosting computer science seminars, is located pretty much in the middle of nowhere in the northern part of Germany’s federal state Saarland. While Dagstuhl seminars are as famous as the library and the cuisine, it takes some serious research to find the many interesting things surrounding Dagstuhl. Saarland offers many nice spots, and the border with France offers a serious accumulation of Michelin-star awarded restaurants.
What to do
- While you’re staying there: Raid the unique computer science library! Not just the paper – roam the electronic subscriptions from the lokal network!
- On the hill behind the seminar center, you’ll find the remains fo the former Dagstuhl castle. 10 minutes waling time.
- In the village of Marpingen, the apparition of the Holy Virgin Mary created some furore in the recent years. The catholic church denied a miracle after investigation. Believers still believed. Interestingly, this recent event happend approx. 125 years after the first manifestations of Mary in Marpingen, which are historically interpreted as a showdown between the Vatican and the Prussian state (that sent troops to chase off the believers) in their fight about power and influence in society. David Blackbourne’s book of the 1800’s apparition and its context is quite interesting, while the location of the recent apparition is rather boring (even though driving up the road where all the kids are ready to sell you holy stuff is somewhat exotic, reminding more of Naples than Germany).
- Take a hike to a former celtic fortified village at Nonnweiler.
- The UNESCO world heritage site Völklinger Hütte is a complete steel works plant from the early 20th century. You can get guided yours right into the labyrinth of pipes and ovens, check out the museums, or visit festivals and concerts in the facility. The site preserves the period of steel-and-coal industrialization of the area, including the steel works and the worker quarters around.
- Make a trip to Mettlach. You can visit the famous ceramic factory of Villeroy & Boch, including their castle, a ceramic museum, and a number of factory outlets.
- While you’re in Mettlach, don’t miss a side trip to the view point at Saarschleife, an impressive river loop of the Saar river.
- Saarburg, the wine making capital of the Saar area, has a nice castle. And winemakers and restaurants, of course.
- Visit Saarbrücken’s Saarland Museum, which hosts and old collection, and a modern art collection. The latter,in particular, owns a decent collection of serveral hundred of Chagall’s works – and you can ask for an appointment to get a personal tour into their archive to see them.
Where to stay
- Hotel Schloss Münchweiler is a typical small castle of the area. Often used for weddings and anniversaries, the hotel’s cuisine is up to date. It offers a calm environment in a rural setting.
- It’ll be either the bus to the next railway station, or your own vehicle. A rental car is highly recommended if you should plan side trips.
Where to eat
- This is a bit to to south, however, you’ll be rewarded with a blend of French cuisine and German preference for meaty dishes. The gourmet restaurant Rützelerie Geiss in Kirkel is definitely worth a visit. Residing in an old stone house, you will be served either in the garden or inside the building. After eating, you can take a short walk up to the local caste remains.
What to bring home
- A few bottles of wine from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer area, e.g. Saarburger Rausch, Mosel-Riesling and perhaps a little bit of Beerenauslese & Eiswein.