Suggestions for Germany?

May 25th, 2008, 10:14 AM
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Suggestions for Germany?

My wife and I are flying into Frankfurt next May (09) and have 4 days and 4 nights on our own before meeting a group on the 5th day to fly to Ukraine (Bessarabian area) the following day. On the way back the group will stop in Stuttgart and surrounding areas for 3 days.

It takes us about a year to visualize a trip, so we’re just starting and seeking suggestions.

We’d like to go to one place for those first 4 days on our own and tour locally from there.

We’re open to ideas. The first things that come to our mind are:
* the western end of the Mosel (perhaps at a country B&B near Wittlich spending days in Trier, Mosel river, and Burg Elz)
* Bamberg and its surroundings
* Someplace in the Neckar valley
* or ???
We could either drive or use the train, depending on the plans.

Our interests:
We usually try to do touristy things in a non-tourist area ( … hmmm … a contradiction?).
We like to meet residents and experience the culture. We look for more than just visual “eye candy”, but do enjoy both city and natural sights, history and art museums, castles, old towns, etc. We’re in our mid 60’s, very active, tend to be going strong all day long from early morning to mid evening – strong walkers, hikers, bicyclers, classical and folk music listeners. We’re budget conscious, so tend to stay in 2 to 3 star places, but splurge occasionally.
In 06 we went to the Bavarian Alps, Salzburg, Cesky Krumlov, Prague, Dresden, Olbernhau (my wife’s dad’s hometown), and Berlin on our first exploratory trip to Europe. After we retire in 2010 we hope to live a few months in Germany.
elbegewa is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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>>We usually try to do touristy things in a non-tourist area.<<

Then you named exactly the very few places in Germany where you most likely will meet American tourists.

I have an really honest question: Why do 95% of the posts on Germany mention the Rhine, the Mosel, Burg Eltz (as if there was no other castle in Germany) and Bamberg and why do Fodorites ignore 90% of Germany completely?

What about visiting the Münsterland, the Ruhr, the Harz, the Baltic coast?

There are so many attractive regions in Germany but everyone goes to Burg Eltz, Rothenburg and Bamberg. No wonder that these places are packed with tourists who wear white tennis shoes.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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What's your problem, traveller? So what if others like a restricive set of places? On the bright side: It allows you to go wherever you want with fewer of us there to bug you.

As for the white sneakers pot-shot: Lighten up, Francis.
JN is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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I agree ... that's why in 2010 we hope to live in Germany for a few months.
But this time our stoppover in Germany is only incidental and timing controlled by others.
So I'd like to find some place to spend all 4 days *relatively* near to Frankfurt.
I posted to get more ideas rather than the "standard things" I listed.
elbegewa is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 01:14 PM
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I like the idea of the Neckar River Valley.

A couple of years ago, we stayed in Bad Wimpfen, about an hour or so from Heidelberg, for several days. It's a lovely town and we saw no other American tourists -- this was in May also.

From Bad Wimpfen, we did a few day trips to Dinkelsbuehl and Schwaebisch Hall. More tourists in Dinkelsbuehl but not as many in Schwaebisch Hall.

Some of the other towns along the Neckar River are equally lovely.
bettyk is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 01:37 PM
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Let me add the romantic university town of Tübingen, Bebenhausen monastery, the old imperial city of Rottweil to bettyk's Neckar valley list.
quokka is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 02:03 PM
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Based on where you have been before I would say definitely go west or south of Frankfurt. Not because Bamberg isn't the best German experience for tourists because I think it is. But, because you have been east by north already.

I suggest you hop the train at the Frankfurt airport and head to Sasbachwalden in the black forest. Savor the most romantik little vineyard burg this side of your dreams.

Then, after gorging yourself on wine and fabulous meats and cheeses, take a hike in the fabulous wine hills. Burn off the 'speck'.

Next, plan a day in Strasbourg France. One of the neatest small cities in the world. Tour the phenomenal cathedral and walk petite France and the half timbered houses. Then, have dinner at Maison Kammerzel and sit in 400 year old chairs. ( ok, at least the building is that old).

Next, take the black forest high road or train to Triberg and hike the beautiful falls country of the forest. Smell the aroma of high forest pines. Then, buy a cuckoo clock and give it to someone you love. These things are always received with wonder and enjoyment. It never ceases to amaze me how people of great means will sit and watch a little wooden bird come out of a tiny house for hours on end.

Lastly, take the train north to the Maulbronn Monastery and stay anywhere in the area. Just breath the history in. Also, have some more black forest cherry cake before you leave because that stuff is really, really good.

Next, head back to Frankfurt and try and figure out where in the black forest you are going to live for those two months when you come back.
iwannagonow is offline  
May 25th, 2008, 02:14 PM
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Bettyk mentioned Bad WImpfen. You mentioned that you are cyclists. I did a nice ride from there years ago along the jagst and Kocher rivers. I remember that at that time one of the guide books (Michelin perhaps) mentioned that the region was so seemingly isolated that other Germans had trouble understanding their accent.
bigtyke is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 02:37 AM
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elbegewa: you could also go up the Rhine, ending your 4 days in Cologne. Beside the cathedral (and a lot of other churches), it also has some very good museums, both archaeological and art. The advantage is that there´s now a high speed train going from Cologne to Frankfurt airport in about an hour, so you can easily connect to your next flight.

If you´re interested in Heidelberg, you could think about a stop-over on your way to Stuttgart (it´s pretty much on the route from Frankfurt to Stauttgart).
Hans is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 08:16 PM
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Thanks for all the ideas.

Now out come the websites and books while we sort through the possibilities and let them percolate in our minds. There are so many possibilities for those 4 days after arriving in Frankfurt before leaving to the Ukraine.

On our way back from visiting former Bessarabia in the Ukraine we’ll be in Stuttgart for 3 days (4 nights). One day we’ll visit the Bessarabiendeutscher Verein Heimatmuseum and other things in Stuttgart. One day we’ll for sure visit Strasbourg. And the third day we’ll play by ear, maybe visiting more in the Alsace or maybe Tübingen.

When the time gets nearer we’ll probably have more questions.
elbegewa is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 06:23 AM
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Why people tend to go to the same places? Many people on vacation tend to go places that are the most scenic or have the most interesting historic sights and museums, architectural masterpieces, artistic masterworks, etc. Otherwise we'd all go to Nebraska for our vacations--nothing against Nebraska (my family is from that fine state), but it really isn't worth the time and expense as a vacation destination when compared to other options.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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Germany sounds great...we are going in December....would the places mentioned above be nice in Winter?
Have fun planning elbegewa!
RosieinOz is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 03:37 PM
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If you want to include Bamburg in that 4 day period, (which I found delightful), you may want to consider Franconia. this area,known as the(frankische schweiz)given its name by Romantic artists and poets in the 19th century who compared its landscape to Switzerland.Especially in spring this area is lovely with blossoms, caves to explore, half-timbered houses, smoked trout, breweries and lots of hiking or biking. Definitely not inundated with tourists and we lived in Erlangen for 3 years and loved it. check out the following website:
misscarol is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 12:56 AM
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You come into Frankfurt/Main and leave it four days later.

Frankfurt is the financial center of Germany. It has kept some (not that much) of its former free city charm, the town hall called Römer has been rebuilt so that it looks optically like the original.

Frankfurt has to offer some museums concentrated at river main (Museumsufer), which might be worth a visit.

To meet the locals, go to Sachsenhausen, a district known for its inns where drink cider and have Handkäs mit Musik (curd cheese marinated with vinegar and onnion) with it, a treat for the real Frankfurters.

Some 50 km (or 35 miles) to the west, you are in Mainz (Mayence) and Wiesbaden. The river Rhine area between Mainz and Koblenz is said to be the most pittoresque part of river Rhine.

If you follow river Main eastwards you will come via Aschaffenburg, Miltenberg, Wertheim, Lohr to Würzburg. This might be a lovely area for you, historical towns and natural sights in abundance. The locals like to have a good beer or even better wine with good bread and sausage, as, after all, you are in Franconia.

Southern from Frankfurt, between Darmstadt and Heidelberg to the East, you have the Odenwald, a hilly and woody area. Michelstadt is known for its half timbered town hall.

Frankfurters who can afford, live in a region called Taunus, located to the Northwest, around Bad Homburg.

Do further research on the river Main area. Maybe here you find most of this what you are looking for.
hhildebrandt is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 03:04 AM
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You might enjoy the Altmuhltal area north of Munich. You would encounter German tourists there but few Americans. there is a large "Naturpark" with many good hiking and biking opportunities. You could spend several days there and then head north to Bamberg and circle back toward Frankfurt.

The Main River near Wurzburg is also an interesting area to explore
Vttraveler is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 03:52 AM
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"...Handkäs mit Musik (curd cheese marinated with vinegar and onnion)..." ??? No wonder they've lost the war.
Eli is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 02:25 AM
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Andere Länder, andere Sitten (other countries, other customs)a German proverb says.

Here a link to a traditional Sachsenhausen cider inn (no promotional interest, just to show the type of those):
A glass of cider 0,3l and a portion of the famous Handkäs will cost you less than 5.00 EUR.

So, if you happen to be in Frankfurt/Main, don´t miss the chance for an excursion to the Sachsenhausen cider taverns.
hhildebrandt is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 04:16 AM
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Heres a vote for the Mosel Valley area, about a two hour drive from Frankfurt...we rented an apartment in Bernkastel-Kues, a beautiful village on the Mosel River. Post card picture beautiful, great views along the river, numerous winestraubs, great restaurants and the remnants of a great castle. From Bernkastel it is an easy drive along the Mosel to the villages of Zell, Traben-Trarbach, Cochem and Trier, as well as numerous other villages. Along the Mosel you will see numerous castles, vineyards, and beautiful colorful half timbered houses...we went last October, I would think it would be even nicer in May...all very doable in four days....Mikek
mike1728 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 04:21 AM
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I think hhildebrandt has given you a lot of good suggestions for exploring the area near Frankfurt and minimizing time lost in transit. However, I have to admit I would concentrate on the Apfelwein and avoid Handkäse mit Musik

Other places to visit close to Frankfurt include the three great Romanesque cathedrals in Mainz, Worms and Speyer.
Vttraveler is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 04:50 AM
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"...Andere Länder, andere Sitten..."

You are 100% right - that was just a good-humoured remark, of course. And I love the Sachsenhausen Apfelwein!

Eli is offline  

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