|Subject: Re: Going to Germany; any suggestions?|
Guten Tag Majeba! Wie geht's?
You'll certainly enjoy the Vaterland. I do. I'm an american living here for 2.5 years and it just gets better and more interesting.
There are plenty of resources on the web to whet your appetite,
What's going on at the moment: German Times - www.germantimes.com Deutsche Welle - www.dw-world.de/english Frankfurter Allgemeine - www.faz.com Ex-Berliner - www.exberliner.de Munich Expats - www.toytownmunich.com
The style and appearence of Southern Germany (especially Munich area) is the first image that comes to mind of many Americans when you say Germany. Mountains, villages, beers, Lederhosen and all
that. Partake in that stuff it's great (Hint: go to one of the big beer (e.g. Hofbrauhaus - http://www.hofbraeuhaus.de - and the ilk) halls for a night of fun.
Another fascinating city is Bamberg. Technically still in Bavaria but has a quite different vibe than Munich. Definately take a walking tour of Bamberg with these Veronkia Gensleih Genz-lie http://www.erlebnis-weltkulturerbe.de/ - (you can tell them your interests and they create something for you)
Berlin is also a monster of history and sightseeing. Can't help you much there - one been there once myself. Maybe the exberliner link will tune you into some things...
Overall suggestions: Transport: Public transport is great, especially the longer the distance. A few hours on a train between cities allows you to write some postcards, regroup, plan, catch some shut-eye, or even chat with a neighbor. A rental car is unbeatable for getting off the beaten track and allowing you to simply explore at your own pace. The car thing is trickier in the cities where you have to park it, navigate, etc. and travelling w/o a navigator can make it even more trickier. You can always rent a car for one or two days to take excursions from your main destination. Example: Arrive in Munich, do Munich for a couple of days, rent a car for a drive and stay in the Alps, drop off the car in Munich and take the train to the next city. Decide which cities you want to go to first and then figure out the train later.
Pack light. I think there are hints on the Travelzine homepage about that... Can't be emphasized enough. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
There is no pleasure in carrying around extra bags and clothes. (Besides you'll probably be hauling load of gifts back).
Forget about learning German. It is a wonderful language and the mother of English but it seems like a very distant Mother!... 99% of the people you meet will be able to speak English. Especially the elementary stuff (which unless you know German is all you can learn in a couple of months). Personally, I think a travellers time would be much better spent in learing (in English) about Germany, its history, or the places you're going rather than struggling with the language. You'll enhance you trip more with a knowledeable background of Germany than a few words of German. IMHO ;-) Don't overdo it. City hopping can be tiring and frustrating. Try to find destination and then do day travels from there or just let yourself soak into the local gig. This might mean going to a local joint finding a talking with the locals and trying to get some geheimtipps - local pointers - about what to do and where to go. If nothing else, just interact and enjoy socializing with your ancestors (you, me and about 35-40% of other Americans - factoid: more Americans have German ancestors than any other ancestrial nationality)
Feedback some of your interests or initial plans and the list can help you shaped them into a trip! Castles? Middle Ages? Former East Germany? Fairy Tales? Martin Luther? Gutenberg? Wine? Schnapps? Oh, Germany is so cool.
Grá aus Frankfurt Brian