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Need a little help choosing December Germany/Netherlands itinerary

Need a little help choosing December Germany/Netherlands itinerary

Sep 24th, 2003, 08:59 AM
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Need a little help choosing December Germany/Netherlands itinerary

O.k., I need to get serious now about my Germany/Netherlands trip upcoming in December. I'll have just about 9 days (work obligation) and I need to wind up the trip in Amsterdam (social obligation). The first plan I set out for myself involved landing in Hamburg, visiting Lubeck and Luneburg, then heading to Amsterdam via Groningen. The second set of plans has me landing in Frankfurt, staying in Wiesbaden or Mainz at first, then heading to Trier, on to Maastricht, then Amsterdam. Based on the season, the length of trip and my mode of travel (trains), please give me your thoughts. My German is extremely basic, but it allowed me to attempt conversation, understand announcements, and read signs in Austria. This would be my first time in Germany, but not the first in Amsterdam. Thanks!
dovima is offline  
Sep 24th, 2003, 01:23 PM
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Bitte schon,
Anyone staying up late over there in Europe? Or perhaps bored at work in the U.S. (just like me!) I look forward to your sage advice.
dovima is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 02:08 AM
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All I can add is that if you had no trouble with the language issue in Austria then you won't have any trouble in either Germany or the Netherlans in terms of navigating the train stations, etc.
Are you aware of the train schedules? If not, you can check them at www.bahn.de
Sep 25th, 2003, 04:00 AM
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I have been to Germany many times, unfortunately, however, always for work and never for vacation. I do go to Frankfurt about once a month, again for work, but have enjoyed seeing the city at night and have had many good meals there. I have, however, been to Maastricht. I found it a lively city with a great bar scene and very friendly people but not a lot to do during the day. There is a American Military Cemetary in Margratten, which is less than 1/2 from Maastricht, if you are interested in seeing.
swissgirl is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 05:09 AM
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Dear dovima,
I'm afraid deciding between the two itineraries is really a matter of personal taste and preferences:
A northern one with Hamburg being one of Germany's largest cities packed with cultural things and high-class shopping and an interesting setting. And then one of the twon of the old hanseatic league with a maritime and historic feel and one (Lueneburg) that I haven't been to yet.

On the other hand there's the southern solution (which I personally would choose - but I'm from southern Germany myself ;-)) Like the scenery and the people there better. Perhaps you even want to train somewhere up the Rhine/ Mosel for a day to the smaller places?
Trier must be great (the oldest Roman settlement in Germany, isn't it?) and I like Maastricht a lot, too.

In my opinion both itineraries are fine for your length of trip. The weather can be anything at that time of the year with probably lower temperatures and more wind in the north. Travelling by train both routes should well be feasible.

I'll take some time later to take a look at a Germany map to give better feedback.
Kascha912 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 01:24 PM
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Thank you everyone for your replies.
If I go with the Frankfurt plan, can someone recommend a smaller town close to Wiesbaden or Mainz that has a Christmas market worth going to (Michelstadt or Limburg an der Lahn, perhaps?).
dovima is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 02:45 PM
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I think I had repilied already to an earlier post of your's advocating the Northern solution.

It is basically a matter of personal preference- the Northern part of Germany is not exactly accomodating during those winter days- but neither is the region around Frankfurt/ Wiesbaden.

You have got some good advice advocating Maastricht if you should opt for flying into Frankfurt.

Luebeck actually is a terrific option in the Northern section of your plans- there should also be a very nice Christmas market there- and you could indulge in the marzipan at Niederegger.

Hamburg is home to me and I am probably a bit prejudiced about it- but it offers splendid Restaurant options combined with some good cultural life- I will not rave about outdoos activities as most of them are not that relevant during winter time, but I am sure that you would enjoy your time here. Also great shopping opportunities in various malls and shopping arcades throughout downtown, something you might want to factor in as the shopping climate will be considerably more comfortable than in places where you are restricted to open streets.
I will gladly come up with specific suggestions, should you choose the Northern route, cannot unfortunately advise as well on the other route.
hsv is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 02:47 PM
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it should read "replied" in the first line!
hsv is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 03:17 PM
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Regarding your Christmas market question - Michelstadt has a lovely market and also, although not a small town, Wuerzburg has a (in my opinion) great market... several booths with wonderful wood carved items and it covers a very large area and there is also a market up at the fortress. Mainz itself has a nice market. There are also medieval christmas markets that take place, the one I have been to is Ronneburg, to the east of Frankfurt - that is good fun and a change of atmosphere from the "traditional" markets. I am unsure of what date this market is taking place this year though, sorry.
gottatravel_europe is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 03:53 PM
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Thank you everyone for the continuing input!

Note to HSV,
I was hoping you would see this post!
I do remember your reply to my previous inquiries, and your encouragement regarding Hamburg and environs.
Would the Wedel restaurant at Willkomm Hoft be good at Christmas time? I'd like to sit and look at the ships going by. Also, does the Sunday morning Fischmarkt have anything special going on during the Christmas season? Thanks again.
dovima is offline  
Sep 25th, 2003, 10:19 PM
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sorry for replying only now- took my eight hours (as P.G. Wodehouse might have phrased it...).

Willkomm Hoeft restaurant in Wedel/ Schulau is basically a summer affair in my opinion- the place is a bit tacky and too touristy for my taste. I also would not recommend it for its food.
What it has going for it is the explanations of the ships entering or leaving the port by retired captains plus the respective national anthems played. Overall, this can be enjoyed more from their terrace than from indoors- from there even the view is a bit restricted as the terrace in front is very extensive.
In any case: it is not recommendable to go there during the weekends as it can get pretty crowded (though not in winter, is suppose) and there won't be too many ships entering the port usually because they are trying to avoid longer periods of being in port and paying more for services during weekends.
I suggest one or two cruises of the port on ships leaving from Landungsbruecken (one on a small "Barkasse" and if you haven't had enough on a bigger boat, probably a dinner cruise) if you want to indulge in the ships and the port. Again- do not particularly choose a Saturday.
You can get an overview of the ships expected from Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper when you are in town or at www.smd.de (in the right column where it says "Hamburg erwartet GROSSE Schiffe").

Regarding Fischmarkt: I will try to find some information- it starts so early usually that I have not been there in a while- and when I have, it was not during the winter!

hsv is offline  
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