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Germany must-sees?

 
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I'll be heading to Germany and possibly France this winter to see my son and for a short break. Anyone have any "must-sees" that shouldn't be missed on a trip like this? Unfortunately it will be time-limited (a week and a half), but I'm thinking of heading to Cologne (for the cathedral, and especially the beer -- I'm partial to Kölsch beer -- YUM) and to Rheims, again to see a cathedral and to taste some champagne. My end-points are I'm starting in Mannheim, Germany and ending in Paris, France.

Thanks for any suggestions!
 
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Mad King Ludwig's castle (Neuschwanstein) is a nice day trip from Munich. There's plenty to see in Munich as well.
 
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I thought that Berchesgarten (spelling?) was beautiful, and its salt mines fascinating.
 
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Well I heard about the Oktoberfest, but then I suppose it's in October. All the lovely beer and the lovelier mädchen.
 
pete stein
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Thanks for the advice!!

And yeah, Octoberfest is over. My son had a school trip to Octoberfest unlike any school trips that I remember. They dropped him and his classmates off in Munich at 9 AM Saturday morning and then picked them up for the return trip at 6 AM Sunday morning. Ah to be young and indestructible again!
 
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If you are an American, you should have a German driver take you out on the autobahn in the open areas, in a fast car. The Germans don't run all day wide open, but they do move down the road. And the lane discipline will boggle your brain. Drivers really do stay in the slow lane. It really is feasible to drive 300 km for a business meeting and be back for dinner. I do not recommend that an American on a short stay try to drive on the autobahn.

Walking around any "old town" part of any city will give you a lot more understanding of why Germans drive small cars.

A lot of German architecture leaves me cold, at least stuff since the 1930s. The Bauhaus is just too functional, and a lot of the buildings built after the war damage by the Allies is hardly any less of a "function defines form" look.

There is good beer all over the country. Each region has its own local style, plus the usual more national styles.
 
pete stein
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Pat Farrell wrote:If you are an American, ....



Thanks! (fishtoprecords?)
 
Pat Farrell
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pete stein wrote:Thanks! (fishtoprecords?)


You are welcome. that is a non-d'web that I've used for ages. So when I signed up here at the 'ranch, that is the userid that I picked. There was no hint on the registration page about the "true names" policy. So when I got the usual friendly reminder from a barkeep, I changed the display to my real name. And its really my real name, and I even have my own domain, pfarrell.com, for my vanity stuff.

Perhaps with a good GPS, you could drive some in towns, but when I was there, I just used taxis, trains, trams, and other public transportation. The streets in most towns are tiny and twist a lot, and its easy to get lost. And if you are going to sample any of the fine German beers, don't even think about driving. They are very serious about that. Plus, there are taxis to solve that.
 
pete stein
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Pat Farrell wrote:

pete stein wrote:Thanks! (fishtoprecords?)


You are welcome. that is a non-d'web that I've used for ages.


Yes, I recognized your picture from java-forums.org. I learned much from your posts there. And again thanks for the helpful suggestions!
 
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Maneesh Godbole wrote:Well I heard about the Oktoberfest, but then I suppose it's in October.


Oddly, much of it is in September. It ends the first weekend in October.
 
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Stuttgart hosts a Porche museum which is pretty cool. I think the benz museum is not too far either.

Out of curiosity what does your son study ? and where ? I know a few student folks in Germany
 
pete stein
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Deepak Bala wrote:Stuttgart hosts a Porche museum which is pretty cool. I think the benz museum is not too far either.

Out of curiosity what does your son study ? and where ? I know a few student folks in Germany



He's studying engineering and (of course) German out of Mannheim.
 
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Hi Pete,
first, i can approve everything Pat has written.
To your question: there's not the one main attraction or city and that's historically grown. Germany as a nation is younger than the United States for example. It has been a patchwork of kingdoms, countships, etc. As result every region has its own centers. And you'll find plenty of historical sites, parks, castles/palaces and cathedrals virtually everywhere.

Considering that you only have 1.5 weeks i'd propose that you focus on the southwestern/western part of the country and travel roughly along the river Rhine (Rhein) from Mannheim to Cologne (Köln) and maybe the valley of the river Moselle (Mosel).

Several cities come to my mind on this way:
  • Worms. Funny name for Anglophones , founded before 14 BC, romanic cathedral, 830 years old, winegrowing area.
  • Mainz, also very old and winegrowing, roman foundation, 1000 y. old cathedral, hometown of me and Gutenberg -> Gutenberg Museum. The fact, that we find something roman if we dig a hole here has led to several other Museums among them the Museum of Ancient Shipbuilding and a city train station with an attached amphitheatre.
  • Wiesbaden, just opposite of Mainz. Not so old but it survived the war with almost no bombings. Has whole quarters in Wilhelmine style with oppulent facades. Gives you an idea what Germany looked like before the war. It's also the "Capital of Sekt". Sekt is German variant of Champagne. It's seat of many sekt wineries.
  • Trier in the Mosel region. Maybe it's a bit to far off, but it's Germany's oldest city with a very old cathedral, roman artefatcs like the famous Porta Nigra, Basilica of Constantine and several other sites.

  • Unfortunately you are here in winter but if anyhow the weather allows it, do take a boat trip on the Rhein from Rüdesheim to Boppard. The company Köln-Düsseldorfer has a winter shedule. The trip downstream the Rhine Gorge passes
  • the Germania monument, made from French cannons. In 1877 -_^.
  • countless real old castles, unlike Neuschwanenstein, which is rather a romanticising Disney castle. It's also too far off in my opinion beeing near at the border to Austria.
  • the Loreley a myth-enshrouded rock.

  • For more detailed questions, see Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Forum for Western Europe/Germany. There are very helpful Users. If you are lucky, a woman with the nick abadala (or so) will answer your questions. She's a living travel agency and timetable information

    Apropos online timetable information: the German Railroad (DB) has the best. Just enter Napoli - Beijing for the fun of it It's not only for trains but also for local busses and subways. You can enter town and street where you leaving and then enter town and street of the hotel of your next stay and it will give you a detailed travel plan from door to door. By the way, you should at least do one leg in our highspeed trains and in France too.

    cb
     
    pete stein
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    Chris Baron wrote:Hi Pete, ....



    Wow. What a detailed and helpful post; much more than I expected or asked for. Chris, many, many thanks!

    Pete
     
    Chris Baron
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    Pleasure
    Here is a good overview in English.
    Pick Rhinehesse, Romantic Rhine, Moselle and Our neighbor Hessen for the right bank of the rhine.

    And by the way, my favorite beer, Bitburger, comes from Bitburg in the Eifel region. You can visit the brewery on tuesdays and saturdays in winter.
     
    Chris Baron
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    One last thing: take a Taxi on the Nürburgring race track



    The Ring is right between Trier and Cologne
     
    Pat Farrell
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    Chris Baron wrote:One last thing: take a Taxi on the Nürburgring race track


    Note the "take a taxi" part. My cousin totaled his Porsche on the 'ring. They let anyone drive, you just bring a car and pay the fee.
     
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    pete stein wrote:I'll be heading to Germany and possibly France this winter to see my son and for a short break. Anyone have any "must-sees" that shouldn't be missed on a trip like this? Unfortunately it will be time-limited (a week and a half), but I'm thinking of heading to Cologne (for the cathedral, and especially the beer -- I'm partial to Kölsch beer -- YUM) and to Rheims, again to see a cathedral and to taste some champagne. My end-points are I'm starting in Mannheim, Germany and ending in Paris, France.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    If you go to Cologne, be sure to pick up some after-shave. Also, if you like meat, there's FrankFurt, Hamburg, Kaesburg mit Pickles, Wien (in Austria, actually), Bologna (Italy, but not far from Austria), Hodt Dogge, Spaemme, ....
     
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    Hi Pete,

    My suggestion for you is:

    From Mannheim go to Heidelberg its very near lot of Americans there then take a ICE train for Cologne then Aachen (frontier to Belgium) then Brussels (Belgium) then Paris. It is all on one route. Step out whereever you like and take the next ICE or TGV train for Paris.

    Good luck in good old Europe ;)
     
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