Bodenmais - Germany's Crystal Town
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.
Want more information? Check these sites:
• www.joska.com – the website doesn’t do the Joska factory justice, to be honest…there’s SO much to see. For those military families in Germany, bring your VAT form! You can shop at all of Joska’s different shops, then take all of your receipts to the Customer Service counter and get then all put on one VAT form – as long as all your shopping occurs on the same day.
• www.bodenmais.de – official town website. Click on the British flag in the upper right corner for the English version.
• www.weinfurtner.de -- Weinfurtner das Glasdorf – another crystal/glass factory about 20 minutes outside Bodenmais (straight down the road in Arnbruck, so it’s easy to find).
• http://www.haus-michael.de/en/ - adorable bed and breakfast that I’ve stayed at several times. The family is really nice and it’s only 18 euros per night per person, breakfast included!
• Bodenmais is on the ‘Glasstrasse’ (glass road) – if you are feeling a little adventurous, just follow the brown ‘glasstrasse’ signs and you’ll make your way through town after charming town full of glass shops.