Thoughts on Traveling in Germany

Near Eltz Burg, Mosel Valley

June 6 – 14, 2011

If someone were to ask me of my opinion of traveling to Germany, I would recommend Germany to families traveling with young kids or older travelers. The reasons being:

  • Extremely easy to travel around
  • Efficient and friendly people
  • A good introduction to Europe – diverse range of sights
  • Doesn’t offer a distinctive experience, at least to the typical traveler over a short stay

Even though Germany is at the heart of Europe and is arguably the continent’s most important country, it is hard to pinpoint how it might appeal to a typical non-European traveler. That’s probably due less to Germany’s own shortcomings than a tendency to focus on what the country isn’t, especially when compared to other European nations like Italy and France. What Germany rises above its neighbours is its economic and manufacturing might, which is not something that excites people to spend their hard-earned holidays and cash on. The traveling experience was strangely familiar, just like a week-long road trip to the United States.

I didn’t get to visit Bavaria, the region most foreigners associates with German culture. I did see a large swathe of the country – Rhine Valley’s tranquility, the Rhine-Ruhr region’s urbanism, Thuringia’s ruralness and Berlin’s renewal. Traveling from the former West through the East to Berlin gave me a deeper understanding how different the country was under the two regimes. This difference remains, two decades after the fall of the Wall.

I appreciate the orderliness and adherence to rules. I have come to appreciate Germany’s stability and predictability, especially in the midst of the euro project’s possible collapse. There were no demonstrations or strikes, and people seemed to be going on with their lives just fine. Both because of the country’s economic strength and its industrious citizens, Germany has never been more influential since the end of the Second World War. What I will remember about Germany is not just the places and people I have come across during these eight days, but also within the context of the ongoing European economic crisis of 2011.

Itinerary:

Day 1 – Arrive Frankfurt, drive along Rhine Valley, sleep in Boppard
Day 2 – Visit Marksburg and Eltz Burg, drive along Mosel Valley with a stop in Cochem, sleep in Boppard
Day 3 – Drive to and spend the day in Cologne
Day 4 – Drive to Eisenach for Wartburg, sleep in Weimar
Day 5 – Drive to Dessau, sleep in Berlin
Day 6 – Stay in Berlin
Day 7 – Day trip to Potsdam
Day 8 – Stay in Berlin
Day 9 – Fly out

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