Sommerach (Franconia in Bavaria)

Old Nov 10th, 2004, 09:37 AM
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Sommerach (Franconia in Bavaria)

I am back to this website after nearly 5 months of being away.

I was in Sommerach, a small town in the wine region of Franconia, along the Main River for 2 months this summer.I rented a great apartment in a really nice town. Took my 3 year old Black Lab with me.

Did alot of exploring in this part of Germany. Nicest thing about the trip was that in the 2 months in was in Sommerach, not one American was to be found. No one spoke English. The dollar went reasonably far.

If anyone wants some info about this wine region, or some input about what it took to get my dog through Customs, please let me know

Mark
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Old Nov 10th, 2004, 10:52 AM
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Wherever I go there seems to be at least one of those pesky Americans around. I wouldn't be surprised to find one even if I went to Sommerach.
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Old Sep 29th, 2005, 10:38 AM
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SOME INFO ABOUT FRANCONIA
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Old Sep 29th, 2005, 04:42 PM
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Good thing you had your dog along. That is always an "ice breaker" in Germany. Better than takingkids along in Germany.

This my start a big argument: But why was it so important that you did not encounter a single American? I agree that groups of Americans can become at times a bit tiresome (but then, have you been to the Jungfraujoch in Switzerland recently and encountered the groups of Asians there?) Has it ever occured to you, that any group of Germans, visiting here in the US or in other countries in Europe can be just as "auffallend" as Americans in Germany?

PS: I was born in Wuerzburg and grew up in Germany, yet am not ashamed of my fellow US citizens.
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Old Sep 30th, 2005, 12:29 PM
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Let me put my "gloves" on.

First of all, I have been to Europe, primarily Germany 30 times. My mom and dad were born and raised there. I have all my relatives in towns outside Frankfurt and Munich.

I enjoy Germany the most of the countries in Europe. However, there is a part of Germany that is so much more authentic and genuine when there aren't a bunch of tourists running around. The costs are less, the people more genuine, the food and drink usually comes at a better price and nothing nicer than a small town that no one from America has ever heard about.

I did the three months and travelled around Germany and Austria. Spent 90% of the time in my efficiency in Sommerach. I did many of the bigger cities and some of the smaller ones. Enjpoyed spending time in Sommerach with my black lab, Bismarck.

Had a really great time. Your part of the country is absolutely beautiful. Being from Wurzburg, I am sure you are familiar with Sommerach and the other small towns in that part of Germany

Take care.

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Old Sep 30th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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Perhaps I was unfair to you. If so, accept my apologies. It's just that some (many?) Americans are down on their countrymen as "tourists", and that upsets me. I rather meet the tourists and encourage them to go beyond the "Grand Tour" of Heidelberg, Rothenburg, Fuessen and the Oktobefest. As you implied, there so many gems off the beaten track - -Ochsenfurt, Fraenkische Schweiz, Aschach (outside of Bad Kissingen), etc. But to do this, we have to encounter them.

I do know Sommerach. Many, many years ago my grandfather taught there and also in Aschach.


The reverse side of the coin is that Quite a number of Germans can be a real pain: I once was stuck with another guy in a cable car from the Pfaender to Bregenz, and the whole way down he berated me about what he though about Busch. He never was interested in what I thought, he just wanted to be right. (There is a Germnan word for the likes of him,"Rechthaber". Similarly, in the middle if a hike to an old silver mine in Arizona, a few Germans aboslutely ruined the hike for me by comparing the Holocost to what Americam did to the slaves.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2005, 06:54 AM
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treplow:

Having met the occasional US-bashing European myself, I've found it helpful to point out that slavery was institutionalized by EUROPEANS on the North American continent 150 years before our Declaration of Independence. And that it was American principles that freed slaves less than 100 years after.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2005, 04:27 PM
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Russ, I agree with you 100% But try to explain that to a German "Rechthaber", who wouldn't even listen to what I had to say.

I have gotten to the point that, when visiting relatives in Germany, I declare a priori that there are 3 subjects I won't discuss: US (or German) politics, religion (even Pope Benedict XVI)and sex. The latter because I'm 80 years of age, and what's the use of talking about it?

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Old Oct 2nd, 2005, 04:29 PM
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PS: And now let's drop the subject and instead talk about which of the good Bocksbeutel (Frankenwein) we prefer.
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 09:11 PM
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Winnepeg/Mark - will you be posting a slightly more detailed report? I'd enjoy hearing about Sommerach, your rental, how you spent your time, etc.
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 10:21 AM
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Hey Russ,

I have a few minutes to spend writing a summary of what the 2 1/2 months were like. I hope you'll find it interesting.

I have been in Europe many times in my 43 years of life. I just never spent more than 3 or 4 weeks, as an adult, in Germany. (We used to visit the family for entire summers while growing up, but I never did the 2 to 3 months that I always wanted to.)

Anyway, I had decided to make a change in my life. Sold my house in Jersey and re-located to Tampa. Before leaving for Tampa I decided to go to Germany, find an efficiency in Southern Germany and spend the time as far off the beaten path a spossible.

I think the website was called vacationvillas.com. Can't seem to find it, but on the website it listed a bunch of apartment rentals for Germany. Did my research and decided to settle on Sommerach on the Main River. It was near the Beer Street (bierstrasse.de) It is also very near Iphofen and a bunch of other very nice small towns. Rothenburg wasn't too far. (Was too busy, never made it to Rothenburg.)

Took my dog with me. Bismarck flew for $200 round trip. That was probably the toughest part of the trip. Putting him in a box for the flight. Anyway, we arrived in Frankfurt and got from the airport down to the train station. I had sent all of my luggage via the Post Office six weeks before I left for Germany. (All I had to deal with was Bismarck's cage. My relatives in Frankfurt were able to meet me at the airport and took the cage back to their house.)

We travelled by train from Frankfurt to Wurzburg. From Wurzburg I could have taken a bus, but it had been a long day so I decided to pay the 40 Euros and take a taxi from Wurzburg to Sommerach. Found my efficiency just in the shadows of the town square and a really beautiful church.

Checked in. I arrived on the 26th of May. My birthday was the 25th. It turns out that the owner of the house where I was staying was also born on the 25th. Just as it was getting to be evening, the woman that owned the house invited me to a small party in her home to celebrate both birthdays. Had some great cake and coffee, a few glasses of Franken Wein and called it a day.

I paid just under 30 Euros a day for the apartment. It was rather large, slept 4 very comfortably. It came with the use of a bike which I used the first day to travel about 8 KMs to Volkach where I ordered my USA Today. (Didn't want to lose too much contact with America.)

My day usually started the following way.

6AM up to walk Bismarck. Usually went for a 45 minute walk down to the River Main.

Back home for breakfast and general housekeeping chores.

Bike ride to Volkach for my USA Today.
While in Volkach, I usually stopped at a local spot for lunch and a beer.

Usually read my USA Today at an outside bar while enjoying my meal.

After a few beers, back on the bike, back to Sommerach for Bismarck's afernoon walk and swim in the River Main

Home for a short nap.

Prepare dinner.

Evening walk for the dog.

To the local Wein Eck for wine and beer until 10PM. In bed by 11:00

Same routine while in Sommerach the entire time.

As you know, there are plenty of great wine fests all along the Main during that time of the year. Went to as many as I could get to wit, or without the dog.

Sommerach sits on the River Main and is surrounded by Vinyards nearly 200 feet high. We spent many days biking through the Vinyards and travelling to all the small towns within 3 hours of Sommerach. Dogs are absolutely adored in Germany, as long as they behave.

The next 2 1/2 months went something like this.

I did 3 short trips while I was there:

A week to Going Austria
A week to Bayerische Zell
A week to Garmisch.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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Here is the rest of what I wanted to write about. For some reason this part got cut off:

The three towns that I spent away from Sommerach was Bayerische Zell, Going Austria, and Garmisch.

Since I was in Bavaria to start with all of these trips were covered under the train pass for all of Bavaria. It was ridiculously cheap to go from Sommerach. Connected through Kitzingen or Wurzburg for Going, Bayerische Zell and Garmisch.

Going is a really nice village about 35 minutes from Kufstein. I usually stay in a private home that is still unbelievably affordable. Spent 5 days just hiking the mountains, enjoying scenery and relaxing, while enjoying apple struddle and plenty of adult beverages.

A trip to Bayerische Zell, which is about an hour south of Munich and about 35 minutes from Kufstein is always one of my favorite. Again, did alot of hiking, lounging by Austrian lakes and rivers, bike riding through the woods and enjoying much of the local flavors.

When ever I am in that part of Germany I usually make it a point to get down to the Tegernsee. They have an absolutely excellent brewery and hofbrauhouse that sits right on the Tegernsee. It is certainly a good idea to check out any of those towns that sit around the Tegernsee region.

Garmisch is also one of the places I most like to visit. Much has been written about garmisch and many of you enjoy spending time in Garmisch.

Sommerach plus doing these towns for 5 to 7 days each time really made my trip to Germany unforgettable.

I had no car when I was in Sommerach. There was no train to get you to Sommerach. But the bike ride along the canal to Volkach took me about 25 minutes. It's probably an 8 Km ride. I walked it a time or 2 and it took me about a hour. there are some really excellent restaurants and outdoor cafes in Volkach. I can't seem to remember some of the other towns in the area, but there are some real beautiful small German villages that are all within a days bike ride from Sommerach. Having a car to explore Franconia from a base of Wurzburg would also make alot of sense.

Thanks and have a great time travelling.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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Hi Mark
I am curious about getting your dog through customs. And did you travel to other countries as well as Germany? (With the dog)
Thanks.
Yolanda
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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There was no problem getting him through Customs.

There is a form that needs to be completed to assure the German Customs that the dog has had all of his shots.

I believe that I received the form from the German Consulate in New York. The form is in German and will need to be completed by a Vet. There is an English translation so the Vet knows what needs to be done.


As far as travelling through Europe, I can't be sure. We landed in Germany. Spent most of our time in Germany. Went into Austria by car. Can't be sure about the other countries.

We had such a great time in Sommerach. The Main River was a big hit for Bismarck. Plus there was a large campground along the river and there must have been 200 new dogs every week for Bismarck to hang out with.


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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 04:39 PM
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Enjoyed hearing about your stay, Mark. An acquaintance of mine also thinks Sommerach is tops so I've been considering it and several other spots for a possible extended stay similar to yours.

I've made many trips as well, but outside of a complete year in Germany during college, I've never stayed longer than 2 weeks in Germany itself. Two months would be truly ideal at this point. As always, it's the rest of life rather than the stay itself that requires enormous manipulation to work something like this out.

Anyway, thanks for the snapshot.

One question now - the brewery on the Tegernsee - have you got the town and the name of the place?

Thanks much.
Russ
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Old Oct 13th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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Russ,

As you more than likely know, there are plenty of rather "higher end" towns around the Tegernsee and the Schliersee.

The Hofbrauhaus is actually in the town of Tegernsee.

Based on your contributions to Fodors, it seems that you have been in plenty of Hofbrauhaus's while seeing a bunch of Germany, but this one is probably the oldest and the least renovated one I've ever been in. It's an old monastery from the year 800. It seems to me to be as authentic as it probably was 1200 years ago. Again, not a bunch of tourists. It's certainly a consideration for a few afternoon beers.
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