I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m apoplectic with rage if a person answers “Oktoberfest” as their first and only thought when asked what they think about Germany.
There’s nothing wrong with the raging keggers and oom-pa-pa at Oktoberfest or the beautiful city that is München. But there’s a lot more to Germany than Oktoberfest. Besides, there’s always the months-long Karneval on the Rhein …
As I’m very fond of the country and its people, I can be defensive when it comes to my “alternate” home that is the Deutschland. Yes, the people can be a little ornery, but break past their gruff orderly fastidious exteriors, and they are a lovely warm and generous people.
Sounds a lot like you and me, doesn’t it?
To encourage a different (and hopefully favourable) set of views about other parts of the country, here are five favourites while I’m in the big D:
I’m in Berlin to catch sunset’s silhouettes on Strasse des 17. Juni.
In Berlin, a ride on the upper-deck of either the 100 or 200 city-bus from Zoologischer Bahnhof will take passengers through many of the sightseeing and talking points of the German capital. As far as the Tiergarten park is concerned, many visitors will visit the Zoo, Brandenburg Gate, and the Siegessäule (Victory Column). Some time to see the Gate and Column illuminated at night are also worthwhile, but I like my silhouettes, too. Click here for more.
I’m in Hamburg to check what’s on store in the Speicherstadt.
Sitting adjacent to the river Elbe, Hamburg is a port-city with historical links to the Hanseatic shipping league. The Speicherstadt (Warehouse District) consists of 19th- and 20th-century brick warehouses, like proud markers of an island oasis on the river. If you’re interested in spices, the Spice Museum is where you can learn about how spices arrived and were traded within Europe. Today, harbour activities take place across the river on the southern banks of the Elbe in the Hafenstadt.
I’m in Köln for my favourite Turkish food.
An important thing I’ve learned from friends in Köln is the quality and variety of Turkish food. I’ve always tried to visit neighbourhoods where resident German-Turks go for their favourites. Whether it’s in Mülheim, Hansaring, Zülpicher Platz, or Ehrenfeld, it might be hard to pin down the best places to eat; my “Kölner Kiez” has got my kind of food. Placing in front of me a plate with Döner meat or grilled Lambspiess accompanied by rice and salad is always a good way to start; a serving of Künefe is always a great way to finish. Click here for more drooling.
I’m on the North Sea coast to gaze out into the open sea.
It’s easy to forget Germany has access to open seas which are a part of the nation’s history and Hanseatic traditions. About an hour north by train from Bremen, you arrive at the coastal town of Cuxhaven, which is a good place to start exploring the Wadden Sea (Wattenmeer). The area includes coastal mud flats, vital for conservation efforts of local wildlife. The site’s importance has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I’m up top at Zugspitze for big mountains and big skies.
Although the tallest parts of the Alps are located in neighbouring countries, an altitude of 3000 metres (9700 feet) on the German side isn’t so bad. The ascent to Zugspitze is worth the trip on its own, whether it’s with the cogwheel railway from Partenkirchen or with the gondola up from Eibsee. At the summit, you can pass between Bavaria, Germany and Tirol, Austria with ease. If you squint your eyes on a clear day, you can see all the way to mountains at the Austria-Italy border. Click here for the ascent.
I made all of the photos above in the D-land. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.