My husband and I just got back from a trip to Germany, our first. I know, I know, not an ideal time to go with the strong euro (although weakening) and weak dollar, but we used points for hotels and airfare and weren’t extravagant, and we had a ball!
We spent most of our time in Bavaria, first flying into Frankfurt, renting a car (thank god for GPS or only one of would have come back alive) and following the “Romantic Road” to the south, stopping in wonderful towns along the way.
Our very first stop was in a town called Wurzburg and we arrived on a Friday and everything was closed! I mean, I know they said Germans take vacation in August, but I didn’t think a whole town would shut down! We later found out it was a holiday and everything opened the next day.
From Wurzburg we went to Rotenburg-ob-der-Tauber – the cutest little Bavarian town. It’s the “be all, end all” tourist destination, but well worth the stop. Other stops included Neuschwanstein, Lindau (with a side trip to Austria) and a few days in Munich. Then we flew to Berlin as the end cap to our trip. A brisk pace, but worth it as there was so much to see!
During the trip, I was delighted by so many things, I started a list of all the things I loved about the country. Here are the highlights:
- German Weiss Weine (white wine) - True, their beer is delicious, but so is their white wine – who knew?! I also love that they offer to serve it in many different sizes (small glass, big glass, .5L, etc – brilliant idea!)
- Local Germans were very friendly (stopping on the street to offer directions to us, unsolicited)
- German dogs are the most well behaved dogs I’ve ever seen – seriously, they walk on the street w/o straying, follow their owners contently, go into stores and restaurants and sit patiently
- Dining with Strangers –if there are extra seats at your table, they will sit others with you – it makes for a cozy and friendly atmosphere
- Germans walk with a purpose (so keep you’re head up and pay attention to where you’re going) - yet they don’t seem to bump into each other
- The cars! Our “basic” rental car options were BMWs and Audis
- The Autobahn – the Germans truly know how to drive; unlike Americans, the left lane is really the ONLY lane for passing – so you pass someone, then get back over to the right. It’s a simple system that works (oh, if only our dear American drivers could learn from them!)
- The history – from the Prussian empire, to world wars, to the Berlin wall, Germany is a country bursting with a robust history
- Looking like a local – Unlike when my husband and I were in Greece, everyone in Germany spoke to us first in German (in Greece, it was always English) – then of course we tried to say in very bad German “I’m sorry, but do you speak English please” and they’d “A little” but their English would be perfect!
- Mercedes Taxis
- Flower (Blumen) Stores everywhere!
- Giant pretzels
- Bicycles – you see all ages on them, all the time – they ride they everywhere, it’s so lovely! I also decided that there was an unwritten rule about road travel and that 1) first come bicycles, 2) then pedestrians and 3) finally cars = remember to stay out of the bike paths!
Last thing I want to mention – if you ever get a chance to fly to Germany, I highly recommend Austrian Airlines (yes, I know it’s not German, but it’s an easy connection through Vienna). That is the BEST airline I have ever flown overseas – lots of leg room, private tvs, amenities, free booze, and actually good food!