Germany has so many different sides to it – read about them in Part I , travel through the country here in Part II! Let us wander:
Personally, Hamburg is one of my two favourite cities in Germany. It is rough, honest, unique, chic at times as well, authentic. The city attracts wealthy people who move to the ‘Außenalster’ (a large lake) with the sunny summer and exclusive lifestyle but also all kinds of ‘Average Joes’ just because of its raw beauty and overall great atmosphere. You have the ‘Reeperbahn’ to go out at night – but be aware of the fact that the beginning of th street is still normal but it then turns into a red-light milieu. The ‘Speicherstadt’ provides you with endless places to explore and sit down in one of the unique cafés every once in a while. Also, Hamburg has many canals, which might remind you of Amsterdam. They are especially beautiful at night.
Not many cities in Europe are so rich in history and are so vibrant. Berlin, being Germany’s capital, invites you to discover its alternative districts such as ‘Prenzlauer Berg’ with a hipster-vibe, the ‘Museumsinsel’ with renovated museums and artifacts and the ‘Regierungsviertel’ (where the government lays) just around the corner, ‘Potsdamer Platz’ providing a great discovery route through many sites towards the ‘Alexanderplatz’ . When you are in the capital, you should definitely visit one or two DDR-museums which explain what exactly happened during WWII, it will help you understand the city and the people much better. And last but not least, ‘Grunewald’ with ‘Teufelsberg’. I would never want to have missed going there, that was one hell of a ride, but this story is to be told at another time… 🙂
Dresden can be described as an elegant restoration. The city lets you dive into history, which is a great stop right after Berlin – also being only 190 km apart from each other. About 90% of the old town were actually destroyed by Allied bombings in 1945. Therefore you will find some old buildings which have survived as well as reminders of the war but also modern architecture, making the city so interesting and diverse. Most of the time the city is rebuilding historical buildings, which is why it can be seen as a living restoration. Wander the enchanting streets of Dresden with a postcard from the 19th century and try to find out what is original and what has been restored 🙂
If you were wondering what my other favourite city in Germany is, here you have the answer: it is Düsseldorf. The city is famous for its rising entrepreneurship and is influenced by modern technological changes and sructures, such as the ‘Medienhafen’ (‘media harbour’). Yet what really gives the city its charm is the old town. It is a delightful place to spend some time with unique stores, great restaurant, pubs such as the ‘Füchschen’ at which you have to drink a beer, street artists and so on. The ‘Schneider-Wibbel-Gasse’ is a beautiful street in the old town with many different restaurants to go to. Oh my, memories are coming up again – what would I give for a laid-back evening under the summer sky there.
I was about to write a nice introduction to Munich, but all I could think of was ‘No, the Oktoberfest does not take place every week and no, the people are not walking the town in their traditional clothing all day long’. 🙂 After seeking the exclusive boutiques in the city centre, you could head to the district of ‘Maxvorstadt’, which has many modern art musuems and boutique shops and cafés. Another possibility would be to go to the ‘Englischer Garten’, a large park in Munich, and adapt to the way how the locals live by maybe even renting a surfboard in the park? Okay, I see, that was too fast. The English Garden has a large river with a small area where large waves are made and where you can (river-)surf in summer. Hang loose, Munich!
The Allgäu Alps are located in Southern Bavaria and many Germans as well as Dutch, Swiss etc. go there for holidays. It is a very calm area which provides you with enough space, time, activities, scenery and peace and quiet to let all your sorrows at home and take in the Alps. In summer, it is perfect for hiking and you can dive into the many mountain lakes. Winter time, especially the time before Christmas, is magnificent. With fairy lights decorated around wooden houses, snow covering the streets and mountains, christmas markets with punch, gingerbread and just overall the feeling of Christmas. It will bring a little peace to your soul after hitting the slopes all day long.
The ‘Bodensee’, known as Lake Constance in English, is very special. You can wake up in Germany, cycle to Switzerland for lunch and make it to Austria just in time for the sunset! Why so? Because the lake combines three countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I would recommend visiting the small towns by the lake and going there in sumemr – you can easily cool off at any time. The evevings at Lake Constance are very relaxing, it give you a differnet perspective onto Germany. I do not want to say too much, go travel and explore yourself! Do you know a place which borders many countries? If so, write it in the comments!