Planning trip to Germany

Old Jun 20th, 2009, 03:54 PM
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Planning trip to Germany

We're planning a trip to Germany...probably late May early June 2010. We're "young seniors". My mother was born in Berlin, my father was born in Goerlitz....they survived the war.... and this is my first trip to Germany

Preliminary plans:

Berlin 4 nights,
Dresden 4 nights (use as base for day trips to Goerlitz, Leipzig)
Vienna 3 nights
Munich 2 nights
Frankfurt 3 nights...return to US from Frankfurt.
We plan to use trains for travel between cities etc. Will fly from Dresden to Vienna.
Questions for the experts! Will we be ok with the weather at that time of year? Want to plan a few boat rides on the rivers...Am I giving us enough time in each major city? Not sure if we should include a few days for the Black Forest...might be a bit much in such a short time.
Will be arranging city tours & other tours in each city. Not going with large tour company. Planning independant travel.

Appreciate any comments and suggestions.

Thank you.
mjimjudi1 is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 04:24 PM
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We just returned June 10 from three weeks in Germany, which would be about the time you plan to be there in 2010. Our route took us from Frankfurt south into Wurttemberg (ancestors came from there in 1747), east just outside Bayreuth, Dresden, the Harz Mountains, and north to Hamburg. This by rental car; we took the train from Hamburg to the Netherlands where we visited friends. Back to Frankfurt by train.

We stayed in B&Bs and small hotels arranged through the internet with great satisfaction and savings. Too, in those kinds of places you get to meet and talk with people. In three weeks, we ran into only one American, a student in Hamburg.

The weather was in the 50s each day, occasional light rain, but not a problem.

Forget about the Black Forest, IMHO -- you have enough on your plate. The more you travel, the less you see -- it is our motto. I wonder why three days in Frankfurt -- there's not much there to see. Munich and its surroundings are much for interesting and picturesque.

Anyway,if you post your e-mail address, I will send you our complete trip report, if you wish.
USNR is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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You have plenty of time planned as a base in each city, except Munich. I would definitely switch a Frankfurt night for Munich. Maybe even stay 4 nights in Munich and take the train to Frankfurt the day before you leave, stopping somewhere along the way, like Wurzburg. You might also want to just leave from Munich, there is so much you can see using Munich as a base.

I know it breaks Mainhattan Girl's heart, but......
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 04:33 PM
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You must like big cities. I would spend half of my time in rural Bavaria and the Salzkammergut.
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 04:49 PM
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Hello mj:

I too would shorten my stay in Frankfurt in favor of lengthening my stay in Vienna or Dresden. As for Dresden, I hope Ingo weighs in on your trip. There is no one better to advise on Dresden and surroundings. Somewhere on this board I have reported on restaurants in Dresden, Vienna and Berlin; you may be interested. Best. Gradyghost
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 06:15 PM
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Thanks so much for the responses so far.

Not sure if I can fly back home from Munich, will be using frequent flyer miles. Will check. But I will definetly take your suggestions to add a day to Munich..

I do want to take a boat ride on the Rhine...and maybe visit Bad Nauheim, which is not far from Frankfurt...a place my parents visited as young children and talked about. Maybe I will make Frankfurt our first stop on our arrival in Germany..then on to Berlin..etc.

Thanks so much. I'll keep checking for more responses. Judi
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 08:00 PM
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Hi Judi,

If it were me I would skip Vienna and add the three nights to Munich/Salzburg. Are you driving? I would drive to Frankfurt on the "Romantic" Road and spend the night in Rothenburg.

Have fun planning your trip.
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 09:42 PM
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I know, I know, what can I say? I am simply passionate about this city! Believe it or not, people do come here and stay for days at a time and have a really good time visiting all the museums and galleries, checking out the wonderful neighborhoods, sitting in cafes or on the river simply people watching, going to the many concerts held in the Alte Oper or in our lovely old churches. They don't have to race around trying to cram all the "must sees" into their day. They can relax and just have a good time. Frankfurt does happen to be an excellent base city too for great daytrips to surrounding towns or to the Rhein.

You may also want to think about staying some place like Bad Homburg v.d.Hohe, which is right outside of Frankfurt, up in the Taunus mountains. Nice little palace, you can visit Hessen Park a large open air musuem with over 100 restored buildings where they show how things "used to be". Or the Saalburg, the reconstructed Roman fort and all the early Roman fortifications. Or look at Königstein, Kronberg, or Bad Soden, all pretty towns in the Taunus, just 20 min. away with the S-bahn from Frankfurt.

Heidelberg, Mainz and Würzburg are also easy to reach by train. This makes it easier than packing up and moving from hotel to hotel and lets you absorb the area a bit more.

I realize people think that there is nothing here to see but skyscrapers, but nothing could be further from the truth. Because most people don't stay long enough to see anything. Perhaps they are on a bus tour or boat cruise, they pop into the middle of the old town square, get a boring 30 min. speech from a German tour guide about Frankfurt and then they are off again. They go in none of the old churches, they go to none of the historic buildings, they NEVER go to the Holocaust Memorial Wall, they never go to any of the pretty neighborhoods where the streets are filled with sidewalk cafes, they never walk through the art filled park that completely surrounds the city center, or any of the other 48 parks the city has, they never get to go any of the fun little street festivals that are here either. Or, they stay down by the main train station overnight, without doing any sightseeing at all cause their flight is early the next morning, so they think that area is what Frankfurt is all about. There is a misconception that this city was completely wiped off the map in the war. Yes, the city center was almost gone, but the rest of the city wasn't. We have tons of Jugendstil architecture here, most of the neighborhoods were built in the late 1800's and very early 1900's, but you won't see if you don't spend a little bit of time exploring.

This is a fun, diverse, historic and interesting city. With a 30% foreign population, how could it not be? Heck, they were electing Emperors here before Munich was even a town!

For anyone who is not sure about whether Frankfurt is worth a visit, come to the Museumufer Fest the last weekend in Aug. Then you can see how Frankfurt puts on a party. The last 2 years, 3.5 million people came to this 3 day fest. You can visit ALL the museums, hear organ concerts in all the churches or choir concerts, watch the dragon boat races, wander through all the gardens behind the museums where there are also shows, eat to your hearts content any number of ethnic foods, and shop for artwork and hand made items. Did I mention the fireworks and the music?

ok, all done. I have had 2 cups of coffee now and am ready for all the rebuttals to come.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2009, 01:46 AM
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Weather will be somewhat volatile. This year we had anything from hot and sunny to mild/cool and rainy during that time you mentioned.

You'll be amazed about Görlitz. This town has turned into a true gem that should be in the league of towns like Rothenburg or Quedlinburg - but still gets no major international tourism.

Boat rides are numerous in each city you mentioned (except Munich).
Berlin has lots of lakes, and the river crossing town. A nice day trip is taking the boat to Potsdam palaces and gardens. That takes no planning ahead, as those rides leave every day at many hours from several locations in town.
Ingo will probably tell you more about the options in Dresden for river trips to the world famous Elbe Sandstone Mountains or nearby Meissen.

A "side trip" to the Black Forest makes no sense (timewise), indeed.
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Old Jun 21st, 2009, 02:21 AM
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Görlitz is something between beautiful and depressing. Lots of beautiful buildings, biedermeier, yet no people living in them. While quite a few houses are perfectly restored, speculators form all over the world have bought large parts of the city, unwilling or uanable to restore them. A ghost town. Actually, if it weren't so far from anywhere else, it would be a good place to live. However, I've seen quite a few "Nazis" in town!, so if that is concern please be careful.
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Old Jun 21st, 2009, 08:44 AM
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Hallo Judi,

you have made an excellent, highly personalized itinerary. If the weather is fine, you can do a daytrip from Frankfurt to the Rhein. The most scenic section is between Rüdesheim and Koblenz and I would recommend a rather short one-way trip (you can take the train on your way back). Do not board the boat if it is raining.

Visit Kloster Eberbach, Marksburg (in Braubach, near Koblenz) and several of the picturesque villages on both sides of the Rhein.

Here are the boat schedules:

One word about Frankfurt:

Fodors is a wonderful forum. But one of its weaknesses is that it produces false legends. One of these legends is that Bayern is the most beautiful part of Germany (written by people - among them a certain Rick Steves - who have never been to other parts of Germany). Other legends are that Frankfurt, Zürich and Cannes (to name just a few) are ugly cities. Those legends are posted by people who have never visited these cities and they do not become true because they are repeated so frequently.

You will enjoy your trip!
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Old Jun 21st, 2009, 09:02 AM
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There you go again traveller.

You have no idea where Rick Steves (I am NOT a fan of his ultra-cheesy traveling advice) has or hasn't been unless you know him or have read his books or watched his programs. If you had you would find that he has been to other parts of Germany ( I just did a quick Google to confirm that).

I don't even know if Steves does write about Bayern being the most beautiful part of Germany, but if he does that would be his opinion. It is an opinion shared by many. It doesn't make it true but neither does it make it a "legend" that needs to be debunked.

Places become popular for a reason; people vote with their time and their money. When both are limited they will choose to go where they get the most emotional return. If you don't like where they are ending up, or need to label them as gullible, for your personal reasons, those are your issues alone.
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Old Jun 21st, 2009, 04:15 PM
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Thank you again for all the comments. I appreciate them all and will revise my itinerary based on some of your comments.

Thanks again,

judi1 is offline  
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