Chapter 18 Germany: romantic roads.
Germany was divided into two separate governments after World War II but has been reunified. German, of course, is the national language, though many Germans do have a good command of basic English.
When people think of Germany, the area they probably envision is Bavaria, in the south. With Munich [MYOO-nik] as its center, this is the land of Alpine terrain, oom-pah bands, beer halls, and mountain skiing. Meandering north from Bavaria is the
Romantic Road, so named because of its enchanting medieval villages. Running down the west side of Germany is the legendary Rhineland, with its stunning scenery along the Rhine River. This leads into the Black Forest, found in Germany's southwest corner.
Cutting east to west across the country's center are the rolling hills and magical palaces of the Castle Road. Nearby, in the middle of Germany, is Frankfurt. The flat, northern part of the country is less visited by foreign tourists; travelers do go to Hamburg, but it's mainly for business. And Berlin, once divided, has regained its status as Germany's preeminent city.
FYI FOR YOUR INFORMATION GERMANY CAPITAL: Berlin AREA (SQUARE MILES): 137,787 TIME ZONES: GMT 11 DRIVE ON: Right POPULATION: 83,000,000 RELIGION: Protestant, Roman Catholic LANGUAGE: German CURRENCY: 1 euro 5 100 cents ELECTRICITY: 230 volts, 50 cycles AC CAPSULE HISTORY: Germanic tribe, the Franks, controls Europe, 800 A.D.; Treaty of Verdun (843) and of Mersen (870) set German boundaries; Reformation, 1547; country divided by war, 1618-1648; Frederick rules Prussia, 1740-1786; Bismarck dominates, 1862-1890; Germany reunified, 1871; World War I, 1914-1918; Hitler, chancellor, 1933; Holocaust begins, 1938; World War II, 1939-1945; Germany divided, 1945; communist influence reduced, 1989; reunification, 1990. For reference sources, tourist bureaus, and suggested lengths of stay, see the Appendices.
How Travelers Get There
You can take a shower at Frankfurt Airport's Terminal 1.
The major gateway into Germany is Frankfurt Airport (FRA). Munich Airport (MUC) and Dusseldorf Airport (DUS) are also used heavily. Secondary airports are in Berlin (BER), Hamburg (HAM), and Stuttgart (STR).
Germany's national airline is Lufthansa (LH) and the country is also well serviced by U.S. carriers. Flying time from New York is seven-and-a-half hours; from Chicago, it's eight-and-a-half hours; and from Los Angeles, eleven-and-a-half hours.
Hamburg is an important port of arrival and departure for cruises to the British Isles, Scandinavia and the Baltics, and other European destinations. Passau is a launch point for Danube cruises into Eastern Europe.
[FIGURE 18-1 OMITTED]
Summer days are very pleasant, with temperatures in the 70s, but nights can drop to the 50s (see Figure 18-1); temperatures in Bavaria can run even cooler. Winters are cold and often overcast or foggy, with rain and (especially in Bavaria) snow. Indeed, when the sun comes out, it seems as if every German heads outdoors. Fall and spring are chilly, but in general quite lovely and less crowded. Summers are the peak tourist season, whereas winters see a drop-off in tourism. One exception: the Alpine area gets very busy in the winter with skiers.
Germany's rail system is one of the world's finest--so good that it often beats traveling between cities by air, though most major cities have excellent airport connections. Rail service is especially convenient, since rail terminals are located at several airports. The autobahn is a wonderful way to travel through Germany. On some of its stretches, speed limits are nonexistent or only "suggested." Car rentals are widely available. Tourists who plan to buy a German car can order it before leaving home and then drive the vehicle around Germany once they arrive.
Germanrail Tourist Cards and Eurail passes can be bought only in North America. On the autobahn, stay in the slower right-hand lanes--unless your're prepared to hurtle along at breakneck speeds.
Rhine River cruises have been popular for well over a century. Cruises down the Elbe (from Hamburg to Dresden and on into the Czech Republic) provide a creative way to sightsee in eastern Germany.
In Munich, the U-Bahn is a very good subway system that connects with the S-Bahn local trains. There's also a well-run bus system. Taxis tend to be a little expensive. Berlin is usually reached by air, car, or train.
Though most people think of Germany in terms of Bavaria, the country's many regions are diverse in their attractions.
Surrounded by the Alps, Bavaria is a robust area, with picturesque castles and medieval villages. The heart of Bavaria is the region's capital, Munich.
Street names change often in Munich, and these names can be very long. Always carry a street map with you.
Like the rest of Bavaria, Munich is a lusty place, with beer halls, cabarets, and a lively nightlife, especially during the renowned Oktoberfest celebration. It's also, however, a sophisticated city with world-class opera and symphonies, high fashion, excellent museums, and important centers of learning. This 800-year-old riverfront city appeals to almost everyone. Among its best attractions are:
* The Marienplatz, the heart of Munich, a town square with its famous glockenspiel clock.
* The Deutsches [DOY-ches] Museum, the world's largest science and technology museum.
* The Hofbrauhaus, a renowned huge, lively beer hall.
* Hellabrunn Zoo, Europe's largest.
* Nymphenburg Palace, a seventeenth-century castle with vast gardens and a museum. Located just outside town, it also houses a china factory.
Munich serves as a hub for travel throughout Bavaria and the Alps. Here are some interesting day trips:
* Fussen [FEW-sen] is famous for the spectacular castles built by King Ludwig II. Just about every country has a castle that claims to have inspired the one in Disneyland, but Neuschwanstein [NOYSH-vahn-shtine], the most remarkable of Fussen's castles, is the one.
In the seventeenth century, the villagers of Oberammergau vowed to stage the play every decade to give thanks for being spared during the Black Plague.
* Oberammergau has put on its legendary passion play since the 1600s. The drama is presented the first year of every new decade.
* Dachau is a stirring and disquieting memorial to the victims of Nazi concentration camps.
* Garmisch-Partenkirchen was the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics. It's a modern yet charming town--beautiful in summer and a premier Alpine ski resort in the winter.
The Romantic Road
Beginning in Fussen, in the heart of Bavaria, and winding north nearly 200 miles to Wurzburg, the Romantic Road is a string of medieval cities and Roman ruins. Suggest a visit by car or motorcoach tour. Among the attractions you might recommend are:
* Nordlingen, a town where, on market day, villagers often dress in period clothes from the Middle Ages.
* Dinkelsbuhl, a walled city with fanciful houses.
* Rothenburg [ROTE-en-burg], perhaps the finest preserved medieval village in all of Europe.
In Rothenburg's oldest structures, tourists regularly bump their heads on overhead beams and door overhangs. The reason: people were much shorter when Rothenburg was built.
The Castle Road
Stretching west to east from Mannheim to Nurnberg, the Castle Road is a path of castles and fortresses dating to medieval times. It's also a fine wine district. The route can be driven or taken as part of a cruise along the Neckar River. More commonly, visitors follow a portion of the route, from Mannheim to Heilbronn. Among its key towns are:
* Heidelberg, home to one of the world's great universities. Its medieval castles and churches are the setting of the operetta The Student Prince.
* Rothenburg, the well-preserved medieval town.
* Nurnberg (or Nuremberg), remembered as the site of the World War II war-crimes trials. It's also famous for its gingerbread, toy making, medieval structures, and massive Christmas Market in December.
Although not precisely on the Castle Road, Worms, a historical town associated with Attila the Hun and Martin Luther, has the oldest synagogue in Germany and is the center for Liebfraumilch wine.
The 825-mile Rhine is one of Europe's oldest trade routes. The Rhineland proper is generally considered to stretch from Mainz to Koblenz, though some feel it goes all the way up to Cologne. Winding its way past charming villages, castles high on cliffs, and vineyards, this
river passes through the region from which many German legends spring. Though the Rhineland can be seen by train or car, perhaps the most popular way of visiting this scenic area is on a cruise. Most cruises are run by KD River Cruises and range from a half-day to four-to-eight days (the multiday cruises cover more of the river and use ships with overnight accommodations). Among the Rhineland's most interesting towns:
Binoculars are essential for a Rhine cruise.
On the banks of the Rhine River is the Lorelei Rock. According to legend, a siren (sea nymph) would sing to lure sailors to the rock, where they'd shipwreck and drown.
* Cologne, with its renowned twelfth-century Gothic cathedral and beautiful stained glass windows.
* Rudesheim, a charming but touristy wine center.
* Bonn, the capital of the former West Germany and the birthplace of Beethoven.
* Dusseldorf, a fashionable city with an active nightlife and good shopping.
Near the Rhineland is Frankfurt, the main air gateway to Germany. Although the city is not a major tourist stop, Goethe's house is here, as are a few nice museums, a good opera company, and Gothic buildings.
The Black Forest
Lake Constance is also called Bodensee.
This beautiful region is rich with mountains, meadows, deep valleys, cool lakes, and dense forests. Beginning south of Frankfurt and continuing down to the thoroughly charming town of Freiburg, the area is particularly noted for spas, cuckoo clocks, and ski resorts. Among the towns associated with the Black Forest:
* Stuttgart, with its art and automobile museums, ballet and opera companies, and the nearby Mercedes-Benz car factory.
When a city has the word baden in its name, it usually means that it has a spa.
* Baden-Baden, one of the world's oldest, most famous, and trendiest spas, with an elegant casino.
* Furtwangen, with a unique clock museum.
During a famous speech he gave in Germany, John F. Kennedy said "Ich bin ein Berliner." Unfortunately, this translates to "I am a jelly donut."
This city sits in Germany's northeast corner, in the middle of what was East Germany. It's an active center of culture, with a world-class orchestra, noted theaters, and fine museums. Among its attractions:
* The Wall (or what little is left of it), the infamous 30-mile structure that once prevented East Berliners from going to the West.
* The Reichstag, the original, ornate German parliament building, now with interesting historical displays.
* Charlottenburg Palace, a grand, opulent structure built in the late seventeenth century.
* East Berlin (which used to be a separate area) with many worthwhile attractions. Sights include Unter den Linden, the soul of the city and its main boulevard, lined with linden trees and many historic buildings; the Brandenburg Gate; the renowned German State Opera; and an entire island of museums. Among the most visited of these museums is the Pergamon Museum, which boasts the Pergamon Altar (dedicated to Zeus in second century B.C.) and the Processional Way and Gateway of Ishtar (from ancient Babylon).
* Sans Souci Palace, a monument to the fanciful and elaborate excesses of the rococo architectural style. Located in nearby Potsdam, Sans Souci sits in a charming park.
This formerly communist region has opened itself wide to tourism. For the moment, Eastern Germany's roads, restaurants, and hotels aren't up to the overall standards of the rest of Germany; but it's catching up fast. In addition to Berlin, Eastern Germany features two other intriguing places:
* Dresden is a jewel of a city. Firebombed into near-oblivion during World War II, Dresden rose from the ashes and is largely rebuilt. Its palaces, art galleries, and opera are first rate.
* Leipzig's musical heritage is legendary. This graceful city is most often associated with composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
Because it borders so many countries, Germany is often included as part of a larger trip. First-time visitors should either spend at least five days exploring the Romantic Road and Bavaria, or take a few days on or along the Rhine. These destinations can, of course, be combined for a longer stay.
A small German-English dictionary is especially useful when ordering from a menu; remember to bring one along.
Return travelers may like to explore areas they haven't seen yet, such as the Black Forest or the Castle Road. A trip to Berlin would also be fascinating. You should keep in mind that Germany is very rich in attractions and can easily be visited in-depth for two weeks on its own.
Germany can be a fairly expensive country to visit, and lodging is a large part of that cost. Germany's luxury chain is Kempinski Hotels. For those looking for something less costly, Queens, Dorint, and Arabella Hotels are available. Steigenberger hotels range from first class to deluxe. Quite a few North American chains are present, as well. A voucher program, which can be purchased in advance, helps guests save money on lodging.
In Munich, hotels are clustered south and east of the rail station. The Bayerischer Hof is a deluxe hotel once used by King Ludwig I, though not quite as grand as it once was. Munich's Vier Jahreszeiten is one of Europe's most luxurious hotels. (An equally distinguished Vier Jahreszeiten can be found in Hamburg.) In Berlin, many hotels (including the noted, luxurious Bristol Kempinski) are near the Europa Center.
Germany offers assorted lodging alternatives. Many castles have been converted into hotels; they're beautiful but can be expensive (the Schlosshotel Kronberg near Frankfurt is a prime example). Gast im Schloss is an association of somewhat reasonable castles that you might want to look into. In addition, spas (especially in the Black Forest) are popular; Brenners Parkhotel in Baden-Baden is almost legendary. For those on a budget, pensions offer pleasant and inexpensive lodging.
Germany is centrally located in Europe, which is one reason it's often combined on a vacation with other countries, both by land and by sea. It borders Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Switzerland and Austria, because of their similar cultures and proximity to Bavaria, are the most frequent add-ons to a trip to Germany.
Located in the heart of the continent, Germany represents a rich mixture of Western European traditions and Eastern European ways of thinking. With the major changes this area has undergone in recent years, it's particularly important that business travelers, especially, are sensitive to its cultural diversity:
Munich's Oktoberfest begins in late September and runs through the first week of October.
* Germans tend to be somewhat reserved. First names should be used only when one has been given permission or knows the person well; if uncertain, a visitor should follow the lead of the person to whom he or she is talking.
* Germans often hold strong opinions and will challenge others to defend their own. Be prepared to address questions that may arise.
* Punctuality and thoughtfulness (for example, acknowledging a birthday) are very important to the Germans.
* It's considered rude to talk with one's hands in one's pockets.
* Prepare for an unusual custom: to show their appreciation at the end of a meeting, Germans will often bang their fists on the table.
Factors That Motivate Visitors
The Kiel Canal in Germany, which connects the Baltic and North Seas, carries more traffic than any other canal in the world.
Among the reasons for wanting to visit Germany might be:
* Bavaria's scenery is spectacular.
* Germany is very accessible, clean, and organized.
* The country is filled with cultural riches and architectural landmarks.
* The people are friendly.
* The food is wonderful and hearty.
* Hamburg is a major cruise port, and the Rhine is an important cruise waterway.
* There are lively festivals.
* Winter sports facilities are extensive, especially for skiing.
As spectacular as Germany is, some may feel reservations toward this destination. Among their concerns:
* "It's expensive." Yes, but there are bargains; and certain areas, like the Romantic and Castle Roads, can be a bit less costly. All-inclusive tours help minimize unexpected costs.
* "The Nazis caused World War II and the Holocaust. Neo-Nazi sentiments still exist." Be very sensitive about this. Some people, indeed, will never go to Germany. For those who might, but have some reservations, suggest visiting the Dachau Memorial. A new generation now leads the country and only a small (but vocal) few still harbor Nazi-like sentiments.
* "Germans are a cold people." In fact, the locals are quite friendly toward visitors.
* "They don't speak English." Germans are very well educated and many people do, indeed, learn English as a second language.
* "It's so far from the United States." Germany is almost as close as Paris and is closer than Rome; a trip can easily be combined with one of those cities.
* "The weather's bad and there are no sun resorts." The weather is nice in the summer. A Bavarian resort or spa may do just fine; otherwise, Germany may be the wrong place for sun-and-fun types.
Fasching, usually held in February or March, is the Munich version of wild Mardi Gras revelry.
Germany's strengths lend themselves to a great many sales enhancements. For instance, staying in a castle high above a forest, though expensive, would be magical. A cruise down the Elbe, Rhine, or Neckar may be the best way to see those regions. Spas have long been famous in Germany and they're now catching on with Americans. Because there's so much history spread out across the country, an escorted tour might be perfect for some. City tours (especially of Berlin) are a good option. And don't forget the hotel voucher programs. A rail pass, too, provides efficient travel among Germany's far-flung attractions. Car rentals, because of the autobahn system, appeal to many. And "European Delivery" Mercedes and BMWs appeal to the upscale.
TRAVEL TRIVIA Europe's Most Famous Spas * Incosol (Costa del Sol), Spain * Baden-Baden, Germany * Albena, Bulgaria * Biotherm Spa (Deauville), France * Centro Benesere (Lake Maggiore), Italy * Clinic La Prairie, Switzerland * Evian (Lake Geneva), France * Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic * Sandanski, Bulgaria * Thermal Hotel, Hungary * Wiesbaden, Germany Source: TravelAge magazine
NAME -- DATE --
MAP ACTIVITY [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] A traveler wants to visit the places listed below. Which number represents each on the map? Place/Attraction In/Near Which City? Number on Map A. Charlottenburg Palace A. -- A. -- B. Europe's best-preserved medieval town B. -- B. -- C. Neuschwanstein C. -- C. -- D. The Marienplatz D. -- D. -- E. An automobile museum E. -- E. -- F. The university town where The Student Prince is set F. -- F. -- G. The Hofbrauhaus G. -- G. -- H. Goethe's house H. -- H. -- I. The remains of the Wall I. -- I. -- J. The Deutsches Museum J. -- J. --
NAME -- DATE --
CASE STUDY Clark and Ellen Griswold and their two teenage boys are planning a 21-day excursion to Germany, France, and Italy. The parents have been to France and Italy, but it's their boys' first trip to Europe. With four people traveling for three weeks, they don't plan to be extravagant, but they do want to be comfortable. Circle the answer that best suits their needs: (1) How many total days in Germany would you recommend for their trip? Three Six Fifteen Twenty Why? (2) If they want to concentrate on only one area, which would you suggest? The Castle Road Bavaria Eastern Germany Vienna Why? (3) Which region should they visit if they want to take a cruise, as well as see some castles? The Lowenbrau River The Elbe River The Loire Rhineland Why? (4) If they wanted to see medieval towns, to which of the following should they not go? Rothenburg Nordlingen Garmisch-Partenkirchen Dinkelsbuhl Why?
NAME -- DATE --
CREATIVE ACTIVITY Which German city should you recommend to a traveler who likes each of the following? (Be prepared to justify each choice.) For Travelers Who Like ... Recommended City: (1) Medieval history (1) (2) Recent history (1) (3) Drinking wine (1) (4) Visiting castles (1) (5) Skiing (1) (6) Cuckoo clocks (1)_ (7) Christian religious pageantry (1) (8) Literature (1) (9)Spas (1) (10) Festivals (1)
Marc Mancini, PhD
Department of Travel
West Los Angeles College
Figure 18-2 Qualifying the Traveler Germany APPEAL FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT HIGH MEDIUM LOW Historical and * Cultural Attractions Beaches and Water Sports * Skiing Opportunities * Lots of Nightlife * Family Activities * Familiar Cultural * Experience Exotic Cultural * Experience Safety and Low Crime * Bargain Travel * Impressive Scenery * Peace and Quiet * Shopping Opportunities * To Do Business * FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT REMARKS Historical and Cultural Attractions Beaches and Water Sports Scenic lakes Skiing Opportunities Bavarian Alps Lots of Nightlife Mostly Munich Family Activities Primarily sightseeing Familiar Cultural Experience Exotic Cultural Experience Safety and Low Crime Bargain Travel Impressive Scenery Especially in south Peace and Quiet Only in countryside Shopping Opportunities Steins, cameras, cuckoo clocks, porcelain To Do Business A major trade partner with the United States
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|Title Annotation:||PART IV EUROPE Continental Flair|
|Publication:||Selling Destinations, Geography for the Travel Professional, 4th ed.|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2004|
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