About a Week in Germany

Jan 21st, 2019, 08:34 AM
  #41  
 
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Yes, there's enough in for sure Worms and Heidelberg for a day; at least, with travel from and to Frankfurt and lots of walking and stopping in several sites, I spent a full day in each of those. There's less to see in Speyer, but I would not have tried to combine it with any other.
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Jan 21st, 2019, 04:14 PM
  #42  
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Texas,
Thanks. Heidelberg together with Worms or each on its own?

neckervd,
Again, thanks.
What you suggest is only slightly more than a half hour more and no running from one place to another to catch the train. A little too much time between trains but better than rushing.
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Jan 22nd, 2019, 04:26 AM
  #43  
 
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mokka4 is referring to a part of the train station quarter in Frankfurt though with him it sounds as if these were large areas of the whole city (avoid the crossing Tanusstraße/Elbestraße if you are overly sensitive to red light districts). It's not as if Mainz is a cute small town and that huge a contrast. I haven't commented on hotels in Frankfurt because I obviously don't use them living not too far away but there are tons in all different price ranges near the train station. Mainz and Frankfurt are in fact at least 33 minutes from each other by regional trains AND then you have to wait for your connecting train elsewhere.

Basically from Frankfurt you can go in pretty much every direction. With Mainz you get far easier access to the Rhine axis but you lose out on all other directions from northwest to southeast. You get better access to Worms and Speyer (not Heidelberg) and to the Upper Middle Rhine valley (though some people would arguably prefer to stay in a smaller place there). The region southwest of Mainz isn't all that thrilling. That's why overall Mainz clearly loses as a base town.
But reducing options is sometimes a blessing in disguise. Your aversion to museums or churches however makes some of the options less attractive. The whole region up the Rhine towards Heidelberg was completely destroyed by French troops from 1689 onward. Often the only surviving older buildings are the main churches. The new baroque old towns built on the ashes are nice but often on a slightly smaller scale. Worms and Darmstadt were additionally carpet bombed in WWII so they have no coherent old town. Why texasbookworm thinks that there is less to see in Speyer (which at least wasn't bombed and has a walkable old town) than in Worms (where you have to hit the individual highlights) is his personal secret.
I would have no problem filling a week with the three imperial cathedrals in Mainz, Worms and Speyer, some visits to the towns in the Upper Middle Rhine valley like Bacharach or Oberwesel, a peek around Darmstadt's art nouveau Mathildenhöhe and its great Hessisches Landesmuseum plus trips to Heidelberg or Schwetzingen (see the palace but especially its garden). You just should be aware that you are moving slightly out of an area with multiple old towns to one where the offer is much scarcer thanks to the French terror and the RAF.
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Jan 22nd, 2019, 07:44 AM
  #44  
 
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Marburg also makes a wonderful day trip from Frankfurt - lovely university town with sweet castle on hill in middle of town - about an hour each way by trains.
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Jan 22nd, 2019, 11:02 AM
  #45  
 
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Heidelberg is definitely enough for one day. Daytripping for Two Weeks (or more?) in the Frankfurt Area is about a trip with many day trips; day 5 was Heidelberg ( I also went to Mainz)

So does Worms; An Unexpected Journey: Spring Break in Frankfurt has my full day there; scroll down to Wednesday.
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Jan 22nd, 2019, 02:22 PM
  #46  
 
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Ah PalenQ appears again. Though the discussion has shifted to Mainz as base town - a post out of nowhere about Marburg which is way less convenient from Mainz and was already recommended here. But why not? After all there is a post count one has to boost.

texasbookworm I read your travel reports. Apart from consistently misspelling Worms as Wörms which isn't encouraging you don't mention once that one does walk through a bombed and rebuilt city. You list the highlights which are almost completely either churches or museums and that's pretty much exactly what OP isn't after. And Speyer seems to have been the lesser trip for you because you failed to take into account that most museums are closed on monday. That's arguably exactly the kind of trip report that isn't helpful especially if you pass it on as general wisdom ("There's less to see in Speyer") in a comparison for others.

And while we are at it I'm pretty sure that neckervd hasn't seen the Valentinian exhibition or he wouldn't recommend it for foreigners. It is small, almost exclusively made up of the museum's own stuff with few exhibition pieces and more text to read which is completely in German and therefore useless for foreigners.
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Jan 23rd, 2019, 10:46 AM
  #47  
 
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Marburg was meant to be a good day trip from Frankfurt - or Mainz I guess, but nothing to do with Mainz.

Man in one post you lambaste three other posters - rather haughty as usual. Sometimes foreign tourists know more about what foreign tourists like than jaded locals like you who recommends a few days in Cologne when most foreign tourists say it was not much to their liking. Get that chip off your shoulder and quit alienating everyone.

so, in one post you slam three regular posters who have contributed lots of good info for foreign tourists and offer nothing much of value yourself. God show.
PalenQ is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2019, 05:24 PM
  #48  
 
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Look PalenQ I really dislike it when people give assistance on things they in reality know little about. I'm slightly sceptical that having been once on a day trip somewhere qualifies anybody for giving advice to others. And huge post counts aren't necessarily proof of competence.
OP considers Mainz as a base town because it's more quiet. But OP doesn't want to travel more than 60-90 minutes for a day trip which strikes me as very sensible. It's supposed to be a holiday after all. When you just drop a sentence about how nice Marburg is then you should also mention that it is over two hours on regional trains each direction from Mainz. From Frankfurt it's just one. That is the advantage of basing yourself at a major railway junction.

And the jaded local stuff is simply nonsense. I'm not recommending any obscure places. I'm also trying to tailor my recommendations to OP's interests which remarkably many people on these forums don't. When somebody is interested in beer/wine and nature I don't feel the urge to respond because I have very little to say about that. But as a local I know the places and recommending Worms over Speyer without mentioning that one town was carpet bombed and the other was not is an absolute no-go which devalues all the other information.
Generally listen to OP's requests and interests. If they make sense don't throw other stuff at them. To take Cologne - if you want to stroll through a beautiful old town and you don't care about museums and churches then it is a rather pointless destination. If you are interested in museums and your appreciation of architecture isn't limited to the "bigger is better" school of thinking (hence Cologne cathedral) then you will appreciate the unique ensemble of Romanesque churches only Cologne has to offer. and then three days is pretty exactly the time you need for the city. But it is all about individual interests.

Plus I don't mind at all alienating people who give questionable advice.
Lubitsch is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2019, 11:50 PM
  #49  
 
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The main sights at Speyer (Spires in English) are the cathedral, the Technik Museum https://speyer.technik-museum.de/en/ and the Historic Museum of Palatinate (actual temporary exhibition: Valentinan 1st and the Palatinate in late antiquity). https://museum.speyer.de/en/current-exhibitions/

The visit without the museums takes a few hrs, count a full day with both museums.
neckervd is offline  
Jan 24th, 2019, 02:03 AM
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by neckervd View Post
The main sights at Speyer (Spires in English) are the cathedral, the Technik Museum https://speyer.technik-museum.de/en/ and the Historic Museum of Palatinate (actual temporary exhibition: Valentinan 1st and the Palatinate in late antiquity). https://museum.speyer.de/en/current-exhibitions/

The visit without the museums takes a few hrs, count a full day with both museums.
Technically true, but don't forget the cathedral's crypt (which costs entry), the Holy Trinity Church (especially for this church check the opening times: https://www.speyer.de/sv_speyer/en/T...nity%20Church/ ) and the Jewish heritage especially the Mikve. I understand that lovers of technical stuff can spend a whole day in the Technik Museum while the Historic Museum is fine with some very interesting items - but it is also completely English unfriendly except for some ridiculous short name decriptions in the wine museum part. And as I already said recommending the mostly text based and modestly interesting Valentinian exhibition for foreigners can only result in disappointment.

If you arrive by train you go towards Altpörtel and therefore one could and should as well visit the nearby impressive Memorial church plus take a peek at St. Joseph at the other side of the road. It doesn't hurt to dig into some of the smaller side streets north and south of the imposing Maximilianstraße. E.g. walking back via Kleine Pfaffengasse and then going a bit south along Herdstrasse leads you along the typical baroque rebuilding after the destruction of the town in 1689.
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Jan 24th, 2019, 02:27 AM
  #51  
 
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Thanks Lubitsch

I remember now that the last time when I was in the Historic Museum (Maya exhibition) almost all explanations were written in German only.
neckervd is offline  
Jan 24th, 2019, 06:19 AM
  #52  
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We are not averse to museums. When we see one whose description is of interest we go. But not all that many. We've been to several in Paris (last summer d'Orsay, Rodin and other on previous trips), the Prado and others in both Europe and the U.S.

My wife is a retired librarian so we visit libraries almost everywhere we go.
= = = = =

I'm looking at the Rhine between Mainz and Koblenz or maybe between Rudesheim and a little below Koblenz. While it's nice to see a few castles it would be nice to train to a few towns that have a decent walking town center. We could visit a few of those (and possibly a castle or two) on one day and on another take a boat ride possibly between Rudesheim and maybe Boppard (or maybe somewhat longer or shorter depending upon any suggestions we receive) and spent some time wandering there.
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Jan 24th, 2019, 10:29 AM
  #53  
 
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I mention Marburg as a good day trip from Frankfurt and get a broadside for doing it - and accusations unfounded - for years there was no posting count on Fodors and I never look at it - I was trying to give good info based on personal experience that's all - did not know OP had for certain settled on Mainz. And all my other posts here were IMO good tips based on multiple trips to the area.

Look PalenQ I really dislike it when people give assistance on things they in reality know little about.> Everything I post is based on personal experiences and from researching them for many articles I have written on practically every place in Europe from 4 decades of spending about a half-year in Europe traveling around. Take issue with me if I post wrong info but not for contributing comments as I have done above. Lubitsch is the most confrontation 'I know best' posters since Budman left. Be kinder, gentler, don't make sweeping assumptions about folks and try to put yourself in eyes of foreign tourists - try to value others inputs too. And, I've taken over 1,000 on bike trips thru this area - Americans - and very very few liked Cologne except for the cathedral. Anyway lighten up and make criticisms when valid and in a kinder, gentler way.

Cheers
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Jan 24th, 2019, 05:57 PM
  #54  
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I haven't 100% decided on Mainz over Frankfurt but close to it. I started thinking.

This isn't a two month travel of a lifetime. We've been to Europe multiple times but never to Germany.
My wife had mentioned a river cruise several times so I started to look at it. Comments about low water and a cruise becoming a bus trip, looking at Google earth and noticing that only very small stretches of the route looked really nice and most were level marsh, and boats packed side by side kind of turned me off.

I also found by speaking to a few people who've been on river cruises they always mention the positives about somebody else does the planning, you don't carry luggage, you have a floating hotel, etc. While I'm getting older, I can still handle all that.

So I decided for this trip we would focus on a self-planned version of a river cruise and restrict it to certain places; those of most interest.

Germany is a large country. To see different parts we'll just have to come back.

So it looks like Mainz is the right base for this trip.
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Jan 24th, 2019, 07:04 PM
  #55  
 
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Ok, PalenQ, let's take Cologne and Darmstadt because the latter is also in OP's range. Could you explain why you think carpet bombed Cologne is unlikely to appeal to visitors while carpet bombed Darmstadt is in your words "very very nice"?

Myer if you want walkable town centers then I already gave you my recommendations in post 19. Always assuming that you mean old pre1800 town cores with historic buildings. Obviously every larger city that was bombed has some major individual buildings rebuilt and therefore a walkable town center but I'm not talking about that. As for the Upper Middle Rhine valley, yes Bingen (or Rüdesheim) to Boppard is the interesting and relevant part for a cruise. Some argue to shorten it towards St. Goar literally no one suggests that doing it longer is a good idea. And obviously you go downstream as you have written it not upstream. The nicer towns in the Upper Midle Rhine valley are pretty but to some degree the Upper Middle Rhine valley is like Heidelberg less than meets the eye. It is a pretty ensemble which means that being in a river valley (like Heidelberg) and with all the vineyards and the castles and the small towns the appearance as a whole is nice and that ensemble character is what makes it so special. There are also disadvantages though. The most obvious one are the train line and the main road which are mostly seperating the towns from the Rhine and which also provide some noise. Also the towns are by definition small therefore there are limits to the exploration and regarding individual buildings plus they are elongated so you follow mostly one long road. And again the French terror from 1689 means that there are comparatively few really old buildings though it's not as bad as in Heidelberg.
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Jan 25th, 2019, 05:47 AM
  #56  
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Lubitsch,
The suggestions in post #19 are all really too far for a day trip. I'm trying to keep them within an hour by train or maybe very slightly above that.

That would essentially keep us between Koblenz to the northwest and Heidelberg or possibly Speyer to the south.

On a day we decide to take a day cruise on the Rhine what starting and ending points would you suggest for 3-4 hours.
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Jan 25th, 2019, 06:59 AM
  #57  
 
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I really can't tell you which is better. Some say 90 minutes on a cruise boat to St. Goar is enough and that continuing to Boppard is pointless because it's just more of the same. Others will find it absurd to make such fuss about one hour more when you can see the whole valley this way. You could even argue that you see two of the most important castles (Schloss Stolzenfels and Marksburg) only at the end towards Koblenz which is where the landscape is uninteresting. But that is really a personal decision. The cruise is simply for a relaxing good view and I would rather advise against using it as a hop on hop off springboard for that you have the trains in the major towns.
As you probably have noticed these are Bacharach, Oberwesel and Boppard. Don't let anyone deter you from a visit to Koblenz it is a fine destination including the cable car and the fortress on the other side and don't forget Schloss Stolzenfels. The right bank is slightly less interesting and the more interesting places there are arguably before the valley in the area called Rheingau with Eltville or Rüdesheim. Rarely mentioned but also interesting are Burg Sooneck in the vein of Schloss Stolzenfels and Pfalzgrafenstein which is the second undestroyed castle in the area.
The hinterland of Mainz towards southwest is as already said not that thrilling but you might want to take a trip to Meisenheim. It is a small historic town which was not destroyed during the repeated French incursions and is a very little known but worthwhile destination.
At some point when going south to Worms or Speyer you might want to admire the Katharinen church in Oppenheim and do a short stopover for that. Also you can go from Worms to Bensheim which has a decent old town and on the way you can hit the local UNESCO world heritage site, the Carolingian abbey hall in Lorsch.

It also should be pointed out that Wiesbaden is pretty awesome as a 19th century city though the comparatively small bombing damage was exactly in the center and even the tourist brochures and guide books often don't quite understand which parts of Wiesbaden are the great ones. But you can walk there for hours and hours in the villa quarters and the late 19th century extensions.

Last edited by Lubitsch; Jan 25th, 2019 at 07:01 AM.
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Jan 25th, 2019, 07:24 AM
  #58  
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Thanks.

I wouldn't use a day cruise as a hop on hop off. Depending upon where we start, the only town visited that day would be start and end towns. A day for trains to hop on and off would be planned.

I'm leaving Mainz and Wiesbaden to the end for investigating though I started looking at a few videos of Wiesbaden yesterday. Originally, I kept reading about spas all the time and was hoping there's more than that. Now I'm starting to see there is.

Actually, Other than Heidelburg and may Speyer, I really meant that the cruise and train days would be to the north west.

Heidelberg and Koblens are definitely days on their own (maybe Speyer added to Heidelberg).
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Jan 25th, 2019, 08:21 AM
  #59  
 
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Could you explain why you think carpet bombed Cologne is unlikely to appeal to visitors while carpet bombed Darmstadt is in your words "very very nice"?

I like Cologne and really liked Darmstadt as a base - but most foreign travelers though I think would not.>
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Jan 26th, 2019, 02:09 PM
  #60  
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I'm having a bit of trouble trying to picture the tourist area of Mainz.

I seem to picture it starting at the train station and moving towards the river.

When I do a search for hotels in that area I find about 4 right in front of the train station (that's usually both good and bad). Is that good?

Then along the river but quite far from the train there are a few.

There doesn't seem to be much to choose between those two areas.

Is the tourist area larger than I'm picturing?
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