Subject: Re: Germany in October
Just thought I would add my comments on your German trip. My boyfriend and I took a driving trip there for two weeks in 1995-1996. We left the day after Christmas and spent New Year's Eve with friends in Hamburg. We had originally planned to only go to southern and some part of the former eastern Germany. But we were able to go to all the small, picturesque towns that I had wanted to go to for so long.

We both love classical music so we went to as many places associated with composers as we could. It gotdark early so our days were short but everything was so close that that wasn't a problem.

We made a circular tour arriving and leaving from Frankfort. Upon arrival, we got in our rental car and were on the autobahn and at our first stop so quickly. This was Wurzburg where we toured the Marienburg Fortress. Then we went to the Residenz in town. It was the Prince-Bishop's Palace and was as ornate as the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg with extensive gardens as well. It's supposed to be the greatest Baroque building in Germany.

Next stop was Bamberg which didn't look too promising at first as we came to a big US Army base. But our guidebook said it was the most perfect of all Germany's ancient cities so we went on and found the old part. It was our favorite place. We bought two posters of it at the tourist office. I especially liked the Kaiserdom, the cathedral with four, tall towers. Our guidebook was Fodor's Exploring Germany and it was excellent. It had good maps of all the areas, color pictures but the best part was they were so right in assessing the towns and how beautiful they were. We stayed at the Inn of the Little Mug---a brewery dating back to the 16th century.

Beyreuth was a favorite because here Wagner had his dreams come true. He completed his Ring cycle and built a special theater where it was performed. We went there. It's called the Festspielhaus. Also, we went to his home Wahnfried and to a lavish, Baroque theater, the Margrave's Opera House, built by Frederick the Great's sister, Wilhemina.

They we went east to Weimar, Dresden, Leipzig, north to Potsdam, Schwerin, Hamburg then south again stopping in Eisenach. If you have time to go a little north, I highly recommend this place. Wartburg Castle, dating back to the 12th c. is here. It's a hotel so you can even stay there. Of importance to us was the fact that it was Bach's birthplace and we were able to visit his home.

We drove down past Wurzburg and on the Romantic Road to Rothenberg, the gem of medieval towns. Completely enclosed by walls with many gates and towers, set in a hilltop location, it has everything. It was a photographer's paradise. We wanted to continue on the Romantic Road but our friends in Hamburg had insisted that we go to Nuremberg which was not on our list. So we went there next and I'm so glad we did.

Nuremberg's old town is just as interesting as the others with its walls and massive towers, its castle, the artist--Albrecht Durer's house, etc. From there we went to Munich which had TOO MUCH TRAFFIC and was too big for our tastes. We did, of course, go to the Hofbrauhaus for dinner and beer. I think if I was in Germany for Oktoberfest, I'd have to go just to experience it for one time. We now have friends from there which we didn't have at the time so that would make it better also. But I'm from New Orleans and used to the crowds of Mardi Gras. But now we try to leave New Orleans for that week. It is just too crowded in the French Quarter where I live.

We stopped at Garmisch, a pretty town with lots of paintings on the outside walls then went to Oberammergau, one of the loveliest villages of them all. We stayed at the Post Hotel right on the square. We had to get our room early because it was the ski season and places were full at this time of year. They have the most wall murals of any place and I love that form of art. We visited Linderhof Castle, King Ludwig's Rococo jewel. I used to not like the Rococo but now I love all its sumptuousness. Today was our Rococo day as we drove out to the Wies Church. Its simple exterior does not prepare you for the splendor inside.

Next day we went to Neuschwanstein, decorated more like a hunting lodge inside. But it is King Ludwig's finest creation. Took the sleigh ride up to the entrance then spent hours climbing stairs to go to all its rooms. I liked viewing the vistas from out the windows.

We went back on the Romantic Road but didn't stop at Augsberg as it was getting dark but made our overnight stop at Donauworth where I got my first view of the Danube. An ice storm came up and we were afraid it would affect our plans for the next day.

But the day dawned sunny and warmer so we were able to go to six towns, each unique and special in its own way. We stopped in Nordlingen then Dinkelsbuhl, both charming medieval towns surrounded by walls.

Then we drove into Swabia and went to Schwabisch Hall--one of the prettiest places of the trip. It had a beautiful square with a Baroque Rathaus. But along the River Kocher, a tributary of the Neckar, were an abundance of half-timbered houses with swans and ducks at the river's edge. From there we went to Bad Wimpfen on the Neckar River. Once the imperial residence of the Hohenstaufens, its half-timbered houses and ancient towers were set on steep, narrow streets.

We went back to the Romantic Road to the last village called Tauberbischofstein where we enjoyed its pretty Christmas decorations. These were different in each town. Also the snow-covered landscape was so intriguing for me who never hardly sees snow. It was one of the coldest winters and even the Elbe was frozen in Hamburg. But I love the snow-covered trees which looked like they were full of spring flowers. It was all like a winter wonderland, cold and sunny the whole time.

We ended our day at Miltenberg, the very essence of medieval Germany. We had a room overlooking the Maine River. I had gone to every place I wanted to see. This was perhaps the nicest of all! We didn't go to Wertheim because the guidebook only gave it one star while the other places we went usually had three stars. But it sounds as good as all the rest.

I'll be anxious to hear what places you chose to go to on your trip and find more interesting places to explore in Germany.

Sandy from New Orleans