Reflections on travelling in Germany

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

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

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Saxon Switzerland National Park.

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

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

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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 –
Beer

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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.

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The massive Hohentwiel fortress at Singen.

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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.

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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!!!!

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Leipzig

As we approached Leipzig the train slowed and then had to stop to allow another to leave the station. From our seat we had been seen right through the front driver’s window the whole journey. A very different insight indeed. Once at the station we checked an information board and walked to the tourist information centre. We were given a map and good directions to both our accommodation and the car hire office. As we headed towards our apartment we passed the old market square and several lovely old buildings including the St Thomas cathedral.

St Thomas cathedral
St Thomas cathedral

 

This is where Johann Sebastian Bach was the cantor and is also buried. Our apartment was at the start of the street so we didn’t have to go far. We asked a member of the staff, at the restaurant our host owns below the apartment, if we can leave our luggage and a male member of staff put our cases safely away. From there we walked back past the old part of town and made our way to the Budget/Avis car hire car office. The lady there agrees to our request to a later booking, which means we can leave Quedlinburg later on Sunday morning and not have to rush to Hanover. Next stop is lunch at a local Backwerk store. Lots of yummy rolls and cakes to choose from. We ate in before going down to the St Nicholas Cathedral. Before the Peaceful Revolution in 1989 prayer services had been held here every Monday evening. They still continue to this day.

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From there we made our way to the Zeitgeschichtliches Forum, which is a museum/display of the history of Germany since the end of the Second World War. We spend an interesting time here before moving on to the Museum ‘Runden Ecke’ which is on the actual site where the Stasi operated from during the Cold War era.

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We hired an audio guide which proves to be a good move as everything is written in German on the displays. With the audio guide and actual objects/rooms on display we found ourselves absorbed in the material here and able to understand most of it. About 17:00 we returned to officially check into our apartment. Robert, a young staff member took us up and showed us around. Karen had a quick cup of tea before we went into town to a stock up on breakfast supplies at the Lidl supermarket. When we returned it is just starting to rain. We changed and went downstairs to the Sol y Mar Restaurant for dinner. Robert has secured a window table for us. The layout is described as ‘your peaceful oasis’. There are bar seats, tables and chairs and also an array of low tables with couches and cushions to recline on. The decor is quite middle eastern. We started with drinks, coke and yet another different beer for me.The food is modern. Karen enjoyed an egg, prosciutto and leek salad. I have red kingfish with ratatouille and potatoes which was just delicious. Karen finished with a hot chocolate before we returned upstairs to watch TV and update emails before a long and restful sleep on one of the two massive beds.