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Anyone been to Germany?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Brent_H, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. Brent_H

    Brent_H Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to be going to Germany for spring break this year...our base of operations will be in Frankfurt ( we have some friends there on the military base ) and I was wondering if there were some places of interest that you guys could recommend to me. Pretend like I don't have a budget at this point....we are also planning a day or two trip to Rome. Any info/comments on anything would be appreciated!!

    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Philip_G

    Philip_G Well-Known Member

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    I was just in Neu Isenburg back in September, just a little ways from Frankfurt. I only went into FRA one night, so I can't help much there, but it's a cool town from what we saw. The old part of town is neat, if a little touristy. We ate at some steak on a stone place that serves the steak raw on a hot lava rock, it cooks as you cut it, a fun experience but cost us 180 euro for 3 of us by the time we had a few beers, appetizers, and desert [​IMG]
    I spent the rest of the week in neu isenberg so I guess I can't offer much more help aside from germany is cool and you'll have a great time. Oh, and the next time someone tells me "oh don't worry, they mostly speak English" they're getting kicked square in the nuts.

    I'm not sure which, if any, of the low cost carriers fly into FRA, but out of london next spring I can fly to amsterdam and back for a day trip for around 40 USD. A quick hop to rome shouldn't be too bad if you can catch easyjet or ryanair.
     
  3. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Well-Known Member

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    Depends what you might be interested in!

    Right south of Frankfurt (60km) is Mannheim. Just east of Mannheim is the city of Heidelberg, with its castle (one of the largest in that style) on the river Neckar. Across from the castle and the river is a hill with the so-called Thingstaette, all the way up - it's a long walk, but wth some stunning views of Heidelberg. Downtown H. is well-preserved, lots of old buildings there, and well worth a visit, as is the old bridge. Going from there, along the Neckar, there must be 20 or so ruins, some better preserved than others, of various castles. You're also in the middle of the Odenwald, a nice if somewhat dark forest, good place to hike.

    Mannheim itself is an old residence city, laid out in a square pattern, and there's a few things to see there, too; the castle, the old tower, etc., plus there's an excellent view of the surrounding area from the restaurant at the Collini Tower. Also, the botanical gardens are gorgeous, but that would be more in the summer...

    West of Mannheim is the town of Speyer, with its ancient cathedral (coronation site for several Holy Roman Emperors). Incidentally, just in front of the cathedral, to the right, is a small restaurant that serves some excellent food; I like and can recommend the Braten with Spaetzle.

    The town of Worms is also in the area, another beautiful cathedral.

    Further west and going back north, is the Pfaelzer Wald, a coniferous forest that is a wonderful place to go hiking - and some excellent trout.

    West of Frankfurt, down the Rhine, are several smaller towns, Bingen on up to Koblenz and Koeln (Cologne). the boat tour along the Rhine is neat, lots of really pretty little places - but again a thing better done during the summer. Bingen itself has a great Indian restaurant; cross the street to get to the park, then go up the street right there until you see it on the right. Excellent curry.

    Northeast of Frankfurt is a small town by the name of Bad Homburg. You can find a very well restored Roman fort there, at the limes, or the limit of the Roman empire.

    Futher up is Kassel, a large town with quite a few things to see.

    Frankfurt itself has a ton of things to do. Downtown can be fun, the Goethehaus is an interesting place, the Opera is neat, etc.

    That's a brief rundown. There's lots and lots more to do in the area; I haven't even touched on the stuff in the Black Forest, which starts about 2 hours drive south of Frankfurt and extends all the way to Switzerland.

    Have fun!
     
  4. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Well-Known Member

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    Hey, Philip, they DO largely speak English - but it is British... most everyone learned it in high school. Since at least the mid-seventies, one or two foreign languages were mandatory. Of course, some chose Latin and Greek, but, hey, at least they had to learn one! Most choose English and French, with a bit of Italian or Spanish thrown in for good measure.

    There are quite a few people, however, that for one reason or another then do not choose to speak the languages they learned. Never could quite put my finger on what causes that, to me it is as natural to use another language as it is to get up in the mornings. It is kind of fun to go back to Germany speaking a different language (English) and seeing the difference in reaction to that vs. speaking German. There are whole HOSTS of preconceived notions that kick in... somewhat similar to here, in Texas, with people speaking Spanish vs English... [​IMG]
     
  5. Philip_G

    Philip_G Well-Known Member

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    This was not my experience. In particular the people I need to interact with the most were least likely to speak much English, taxi drivers and waiters/witresses for example. Of course everyone in my office spoke perfect English, and I had enough German to get by, perhaps our definitions of "largely" are different.
    I did find that in many cases my German was so bad I was better off pointing and using very simple English phrases however.
     
  6. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Well-Known Member

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    Michael
    I was in Germany for 3 months earlier this year. I'm military, and my main base was Rhein Main, which is right smack-dab next to the Frankfurt Airport.

    My observations:

    Heidelberg is awesome...

    Sachsenhausen (old part of Frankfurt) is a lot of fun on Friday and Saturday nights. Lot's of bar's/pub's/dance clubs there...O'Dweyers is the main hangout while I'm there.

    Watch out for the Red Light district in Frankfurt [​IMG] Nice Gentlemen's Club there called "Pure Platinum"...or so I hear [​IMG]

    I worked a lot while I was there...so I really didn't get to do as much as I wanted...but I would go back in a heart-beat. Everything is so much more relaxed than it is here in the states...I miss that.

    I too have eaten at the "Steak on the rocks" place mentioned above...pretty good dinner. Great beer!

    Lot's of beautiful women...but I won't go into that....

    have fun...I'm trying and hoping that I'll get to go back this summer....
     
  7. Brent_H

    Brent_H Well-Known Member

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    Wow, thanks for the comments! This will certainly help me on my way to planning the itinerary for the trip. I speak no German wahtsoever and my travelling companion speaks a little..so it will be interesting. [​IMG]

    Keep the info comin!!

    Thanks.
     
  8. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Well-Known Member

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    The thing I learned in my short stay in Germany: It's most every German's dream to go to California.

    I think it's a David Hasselhoff/Baywatch kinda thing. [​IMG]

    Frankfurt doesn't really give you a feel of the history of Germany because of its modern architecture. The city had to basically be rebuilt after WWII.

    Also, if your interested in WWII history.. try to get over to Berchtesgaden it's on the border of Austria and Germany and is much cheaper than staying in Austria. It's the home of Hitler's "Eagles Nest" which is a very interesting tour. And you can scoot across the border to see Mozart's birthplace and the oldest bar in the world in Salzburg. Oh... and also the "Sound of Music" tour... if you're into that.

    Rome is nice.. the colloseum is much smaller than it looks in the history books. Take a ride in a Roman taxi for a real thrill ride. [​IMG] Unfortunately, a lot of the tourist sites in Italy are rampant with pick-pockets and thieves.. so, be wary of your stuff. Another note about Italy... the Italian beer is not so good.. but the wine is great.. and really cheap!
     
  9. Jeff_Krueger

    Jeff_Krueger Well-Known Member

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    How long are you going to be here? Springbreak is what probably a week and a half? I'd have to recomend Munich of course there's a lot to see and you can hit up Neuschwanstein on the way to Munich or back. Plus it's only about two hours to Salzburg from Munich. Check out Prague it's really cool, you can take the night train spend two whole days in Prague and only have to pay for a hostel for one night. Spend the extra money for a sleeper car trust me.

    Haven't been up towards Frankfurt yet, so I got no suggestions there. But Germany is very cool, and many people do speak english. At least in Munich almost everytime I ask or say something in German they respond back to me in english
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Well-Known Member

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    Trier is a very interesting, very old city (dates back to Charlemagne) and well worth a visit. A must if you are interested in seeing some well preserved places of historical interest, but otherwise give it a miss.

    The right bank of the Rhine has the famous vineyards and has some great drives.
     
  11. Haggai

    Haggai Well-Known Member

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    My favorite part about visiting Germany a few years ago was a bike tour of Berlin. It was one of those things where you rent a crappy bike (I think mine had a banana seat), and it was just my friend and I, along with a really great guide. He showed us all sorts of historical stuff, including plenty of locations along the divide between what used to be East and West Berlin. The whole city is great, and that was a fabulous way to see a lot of it.
     
  12. Philip_G

    Philip_G Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to ask, you don't object to cigarette smoke do you?
    it seems like everyone smokes, and there wasn't such thing as a no smoking section anywhere I went. Same went for dogs it seemed, a couple times I'd see someone's dog hanging out under their table at a resturant
     
  13. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Well-Known Member

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    Berlin would be pretty cool to visit; back when it was still divided, I had a chance to tour both East and West Berlin. A difference like night and day - it was almost between black and white. Or more like everything with a reddish hue (not kidding here) and color. The coffee was absolutely vile - and expensive.

    That was back in 1987. 16 1/2 years later would be fascinating to see.

    If in Berlin, and interested in museums, absolutely go to the Pergamon (and others, there is a beautifully restored palace - Charlottenburg, I think, but it's been a while), it has a fantastic ancient history section, including a full scale version of an (Assyrian?) pictorial wall, as well as a large-scale replica of an Egyptian tomb.

    The Tiergarten is also wonderful, if you're into zoos. Might be a little cold.
     
  14. Brent_H

    Brent_H Well-Known Member

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    Yeah we will leave on a Saturday and probably come back the following Saturday or Sunday. I really would like to see some WWII stuff, especially some concentration camps or something.....the Eagles Nest would be cool too. Now on to my next question: How necessary is it to have your own transporation to get around while in Germany? We want to go as cheap as possible and if we don't have to rent a car that would be great. Just curious.
     
  15. Jeff_Krueger

    Jeff_Krueger Well-Known Member

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    well on the weekends you can buy the schönes wochenende ticket which is 25 euros and you can have up to five people travel on a train on it anywhere in Germany for one day. This is only on Saturdays and Sundays though. If your going to be in Bavaria there is an equivilant ticket called the Bayern ticket which will let you travel anywhere in bavaria for 25 euros for five people. This one runs during the entire week. That's probably going to be the best deal, though you will want to try and figure out where you want to go and what you want to do ahead of time so you can maxamize your time. If you want to see one of the concentration camps check out Dachau it's about an hour (maybe less) outside of Munich.
     
  16. Philip_G

    Philip_G Well-Known Member

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    Huh? my german is terrible, but the "shine weekend"?
    neat concept, strange name [​IMG]
     
  17. Jeff_Krueger

    Jeff_Krueger Well-Known Member

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    It's the nice weekend ticket, but yeah it's pretty cool hella cheap if you have three or more people. Normally it only covers destinations in Germany but it also runs to Salzburg, probably because it is so close to the border.
     

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