Reflections on travelling in Germany

In the Germany we loved –
Dresden, what an amazing skyline and so much to explore.


The Elbe River valley.
Cycling and walking in the Elbe River valley.

Saxon Switzerland National Park.


Quedlinburg – with all those wonderful framework buildings it’s no wonder it has a UNESCO listing.

Freiburg with its wonderful student atmosphere.
The mountains, valleys and lakes in Bavaria.

The Bodensee (Lake Constance) area.

Favourite meals –
Kingfish at Café Bar Lounge Sol Y Mar in Leipzig
Schnitzel at Feierling Brewery in Freiburg

Favourite drink –


Great places to stay –
The apartments at Haus Königsbrücker in Dresden
Quedlinburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber or any other small town or village.

Great places to eat or drink –
Café Bar Lounge Sol Y Mar in Leipzig, sit at a table or lounge on a couch and eat and drink from a low table, this place has a wonderful Moorish atmosphere.
Planwirkshaft in Dresden. Décor is reminiscent of the old east Germany but excellent food sourced from local suppliers.
Café Mezzo at Lister Meile 4 in Hanover. One of many excellent cafes in this part of Hanover.
The restaurant at Feierling Brewery in Freiburg, just across the road from the huge beer garden.
Lüdde Brauhaus in Quedlinburg. Excellent beer and a broad menu of traditional and modern meals to choose from.

Unexpected highlights –
Meeting some great people whilst sharing tables at cafes, breweries and restaurants.
The sensational but super expensive porcelain in Meissen.

The massive Hohentwiel fortress at Singen.

Saxon Switzerland National Park.
Travelling on the ICE trains with our First Class Eurail Passes.

What you must do when you travel to Germany –
Check out the museums and galleries in Berlin and Dresden.
Get out into the countryside and visit a National Park to walk or cycle.
Visit Cologne or Ulm cathedrals and climb their steeples.

Ulm cathedral (Munster)
Ulm cathedral (Munster)

Visit Berlin – we have twice before so didn’t go there this time.
Travel on a very fast ICE train.
Take a boat trip on the Rhine.
Visit the Zugspitze by cable car.

Stay with a local – couchsurf, use Airbnb or if you’re lucky enough, stay with a relative to get a better perspective on daily life in Germany.

What you should avoid doing –
Riding over glass on a bike. Really stuffs up your day’s cycling.
Staying in Munich during the Octoberfest.

What you need to be prepared for –
A train to actually run late. It doesn’t happen often but when it does!!!!


Freiburg and the Black Forest

Going from our base in the town of Viersen to our next stop in Freiburg meant three train journeys after a quick taxi trip to the train station. Our first train duly came at 10:15. Swapped at Duisburg onto an ICE to Mannheim. Along the way went through Cologne. It’s massive twin towered cathedral easily seen from the station. Lots of scaffolding on one tower at present. At Frankfurt airport station the train sat for a long time due to technical problems. So by the time we reached Mannheim we were twenty minutes late. As the changeover time had been 16 minutes we had missed our connection! Fortunately another IC train to Basel was waiting on the next platform. It would stop in Freiburg so on we clambered just in time! Arrived in Freiburg about thirty minutes later than scheduled so not a bad result all things considered. Lugged our cases up to the entry area of the station but no tourist information centre. So while Karen looked after the luggage I quickly walked towards the centre of the old town to the tourist information centre. They were able to give me a map and directions to where we were staying which was back on the other side of the station to the west. Once back at the station Karen and I quickly made our way to the StayInn Hostel and Gasthaus where were staying. Reception was on the second floor but only stairs, no lift! Our room was on the third floor so lots of effort to carry our cases up. The bedroom and en-suite bathroom were in an upstairs loft so we decided to leave our suitcases in the main room, which had a table and two chairs plus an IKEA chair, small fridge and a TV which we discovered had all the pay TV channels locked until you paid! Once we were settled in we walked back to the Aldstadt to look around. The Rathaus Square had a number of cafés as well as the Tourist Information Centre where I had been already. A trio of talented string players were playing there. Very good!


From there we walked further to the square where the imposing Münster stood. This square was very busy indeed. On closer inspection we found that there were long tables all along the Münster with a long line of bread on them. We watched then asked a man. He explained it was a special day for the local bakers and butchers. They had made the longest loaf of bread that they could. For one donation you could get two servings of what turned out to be delicious fruit loaf. Sausage were also available in the same way. We sat at a cafe and I had a well earned local beer, a Ganter, while Karen had Coke.


After that we walked around the Münster. From there we walked to a larger local beer garden which had been recommended in Lonely Planet. The beer garden didn’t serve meals we found out so we went across the road to the restaurant section of the Feierling Brauerei. It was very busy but we asked a couple if we could share a table with them. They said yes so we sat down. The man spoke very good English and his wife seemed to understand well but spoke less. They helped explain to us about the drink and food options. Then a young waitress offered us the English version of the menu! During our conversation we found out that the man was an air traffic controller who was just about to retire and the lady was a supplier for a medical equipment company. The beer was unfiltered but good. Karen ate a salad with ham, cheese and eggs. I had a schnitzel with roasted kartoffel and a side salad. After a while the other couple left and another group asked to share with us. It was an older couple with a young girl who was a friend of their daughter’s. We had a good chat with them too. They were going to Italy to the CinqueTerre. The girl was studying in Freiburg but had been to India last year. We’d enjoyed the excellent atmosphere but after some time we left them and went back to the Münster square. The Münster was floodlit with pink lights and a few blue lights on the columns. It was very spectacular! From there we walked back to our room for a long sleep.


The next day Saturday 20th September we woke about 8:45 so sleep hadn’t been an issue. Showered and walked to the nearby bakery and purchased some items for breakfast which we ate back at our room. Did some washing and caught up on email and news via the Internet. About 11:20 we walked to the station. As it was nice weather we had decided to go to Titisee. The train took us through farmland and into the Black Forest area. We arrived at Titisee about lunchtime so purchased rolls for a picnic. Karen bought a hot chocolate so we sat in a ‘Kurgarten’ with a nice fountain and relaxed for a while. We walked through the town, which was very touristy with cafés, ice cream parlours and souvenir stores, and down to the shore of the lake. There were a number of boat trips available as well as small boats and canoes for hire. We found the walking trail which at first went up but then continued along the side of the lake through the forest. It was very pleasant. After some time we came to a point where we could access a large rock at the edge of the lake which became our picnic seat. As we ate the larger tourist boats went past.



After lunch we continued to walk on the path around the lake until we came to the Terrace Camping area. It was certainly a nice spot to camp or have a camper van or caravan.


At this point we decided to return the same way we had come rather than going all the way around the lake. The path was sunny at times but mostly in the shade so we walked briskly until we returned to the town of Titisee.


We browsed the souvenir ships for a while, purchasing a couple of things then we went back to the station. We decided to take the next train to the end of the journey to Neustadt and from there did the complete return trip back to Freiburg. Another hot chocolate for Karen and a mint chocolate chip ice cream for me at an ice cream cafe at the station was next on the agenda. We returned to our room at the gasthaus for a while. Karen had a late afternoon nap and I updated the blog. About 19:00 we walked back into the old town for dinner. Karen had chosen another Lonely Planet tip for dinner called Schlappen. However when we reached there we found it was very warm inside and smokers were outside so we continued past a few other cafés and restaurants in the same street. We finally chose Cafe Legere. It looked small and nice but as there were no tables available outside we went inside. Not long after we had ordered the table next to the window became available so we moved to it. Our meals of burgers and kartoffel came along with drinks of Coke and a Furstenburg beer for me. The burgers were yummy, as were the potatoes. After we had paid our bill we walked to the Münster square but last night had obviously been special as there were no flood lights. On our way back to our gasthaus we checked what platform our train to Singen would leave from the next day. After another interesting day we headed to bed.