When I was first asked to start writing a travel column where I could depict a certain country and its features, a stylish tips & tricks type of article, I unhesitatingly said: I want to teach people how to Discover Germany.
It may well be because Germany is so much more than just the Oktoberfest cliche or the economic superpower with dull old cities and their extremely punctual people – what i know for sure is that Germany is well worth being discovered! It is beautiful with wonderful landscapes and an amazing cultural heritage, its people are kind and very civilized and the whole country is very quaint and yet gracious. The varied architecture makes the city views rich and historically diverse, the country is a great destination in every season and for everyone, it is one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
Germany lies in the heart of Europe and is relatively close to us due to nowadays’ modern transportation means. Surrounded in the South by the amazing Alps with its equally breathtaking lakes, in the North by the Baltic and Northern Seas framed by hundreds of islands, this 82 Million inhabited country is a very intriguing mixture of both old and new, of medieval burgs with ancient city walls ready to seduce its wanderers throughout its secret passages and narrow streets like for instance Heidelberg, Augsburg and Nurnberg or never sleeping metropolis such as Berlin, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt.
Society & Culture
Germany’s society is a multifaceted one, with over 10% of the population holding a different passport than the German one. Around 7% have a “migration background” so this translates into a dynamic and continuously changing demographics.
Discover Germany is synonymous with Beethoven and his wonderful festival organized each year in the beautiful city of Bonn along the Rhine, with Goethe, Grass or Hesse and their important legacy and wonderful Frankfurter Buchmesse – the most important worldwide recognized book fair, but also with more modern exponents of German culture – from Rammstein to Scorpions, from Boris Becker to Michael Schumacher, from Marlene Dietrich to Diane Kruger in their convertible Porsche, Mercedes or BMW – they all represent the finest of the German universe and are “typisch deutsch”.
Transport & Shopping
The country where you could get my way around the fastest and most effective is definitely Germany – this may come as a surprise to many, probably due to the language barrier, but the public transportation system in Germany (where most people speak English) is very well organized. A great way to enjoy some lovely landscapes along the countryside is to simply take the train – the earlier you book the tickets, the cheaper they are.
Tip: children up to 14 travel for free and for groups of at least 6 people there is as much as a 70% saving offered.
In 2001 Germany introduced the Euro, which is approximately 1.35$ and 0.67 British Pounds. It is always a good idea to keep cash at hand, as most cafes and restaurant do not even take a debit card, much less a credit one. Less flexible, very few stores are kept open after 8 o’clock p.m. and even fewer on week-ends, so please keep that in mind when going for a shopping spree. As for the more enjoyable aspects of shopping in Germany, I must say I am delighted whenever I have a few days off to stroll around the galleries in the old, but smart streets of German cities – I recommend the Maximilianstrasse in Munich and the famous Königsallee in Dusseldorf – you will love the experience of discovering Germany!