Well, we’ve just spent the last month in Germany. This has been our first real trip into this huge country, and it’s fair to say we’ve had a fantastic time! This post attempts to sum up all of the highlights in just a few paragraphs, a near impossible task, but here goes :-
We’ve been to festivals where we realised the Germans like beer at least as much as The British, we’ve been to campfires where we realised the Germans are equally as daft as the British, and we’ve been to some beautiful places which (almost) match anything we have back at home. We’ve seen some fantastic sites, and been to some amazing places, but what we’ll remember most of our time in Germany will be the fantastic people that we met. Without exception, where ever we’ve been, the people have looked after us, or adopted us (!) and made sure that we had a good time.
(if you click on the images you can view them full size in a carousel)
Our first real foray into Germany was when we went to the small village of Limmersdorf in Franconia, for their annual festival. We were adopted by group of young Germans, who made sure that over the two days we were there, we tried all of their special drinks, drank lots of their beer, and tried all of their crazy food! We also had a couple of very special nights in the beer tent stomping away to some fabulous music.
As a parting gift we were given a couple of bottles of special beer which was produced in the local town of Bamberg. This was a smoked beer, and something of a speciality.
If you ever visit this area, make sure you never try this beer, (in my opinion) it’s dreadful, and tastes like water that’s been used to douse a bonfire.
In between other stops, we visited a campsite in Hammerschmiede, in Swabia, and had a truly wonderful and wild night around a campfire, with a crazy bunch of locals. (See blog post Here).
We went to a wine festival, where the local vineyard owner welcomed us to stay free on his vineyard, so we could walk into the festival. We offered our services for a couple of hours to repay his kind offer, and ended up picking grapes for the day. We felt just like students on a working gap year, but I think our backs ached at the end of the day a lot more than the students would’ve done. (See blog post Here)
As well as all the fun we had, we’ve been to some truly stunning places. This part of Germany is spoilt with beauty and it’s very easy to become blasé when you see another beautiful city or town.
We’ll never forget, the sheer beauty of the town’s of Strumpfelbach, Bamberg, Würzburg, Rothenburg, and Röttingen, medieval towns/cities with an astonishing array of amazing buildings, with something new and beautiful around every corner.
Or the beauty of the drive down the Romantic Road, and the Picturesque town of Triberg on the eastern side of the black forest with Germany’s largest waterfall, falling through the hills just above the town.
We spent a couple of periods in the Black Forest, once on our way through Germany as we were heading into Austria, and then again on our way back towards France. Everything you ever hear, read or see about the Black Forest is probably understated. Miles and miles of forest, tiny twisty roads driving through them and the most picturesque little villages dotted all the way along the road.
One of the absolute highlights of our time in Germany (and our whole trip) was our visit to the thermal baths in the Palais Thermal at Bad Wildbad ( see website Here). A fairly innocuous building from the outside, was secretly hiding one of the most plush marble clad interiors we’ve ever seen. We thought it was a bit steep at €17 each, but it was worth every penny (cent). When we left the changing rooms we were surprised that everybody inside was naked! We weren’t worried about this, and quickly hotfooted back to the changing room to lose our cossies. Inside there were three floors of small pools, large pools, private pools, foot pools, plunge pools, saunas, steam rooms, shower rooms and any other type of room with water that you can think of! To cap the evening off, we went into the incredibly hot Oriental sauna, followed by a relaxing swim and couple of beers on the rooftop terrace. Simply amazing!
A couple of valuable lessons – or things that made us laugh- when we were in Germany
- When you’re queuing in the supermarket and a new till opens, don’t expect anybody to be polite. Everybody from the back of every queue makes a mad dash for the front of the new Queue. Funny to watch, but frustrating when you’re caught out!
- When you’re paying for your food, whatever you do, don’t say thank you when you handover your money. If you say “thank you” it’s considered that you don’t want any change. Phil was caught out once in Austria with this, then again in Germany, the third time he asked for his change!
For fellow Motorhomers it’s worth noting the roads in Germany are brilliant. There are the obvious Autobahns if you want to move around quickly, but we haven’t used any of them in our time here. With regard to parking-up, there are tons of places for free or low cost parking (Spellplatz) with services, often even at the free ones. Be aware also that Germany now has a mandatory requirement that all vehicles must carry a special environmental sticker on their vehicle in order to enter the “green zone” of many German cities, and National Parks.
That’s it for Germany for this trip. This country is vast, and we really have only touched a few of the areas around the south. There’s so much more to see. We’ll definitely be back, we have new friends to come and visit!