I’ve been interested in Germany since I was a little kid listening to my mom and Mema speak in German. Christmas and birthday presents were truly a surprise because all the planning for them had been discussed in a language I didn’t (and still don’t) understand! Technically, I have been to Germany. I had a layover in the Dusseldorf airport and I had just enough time to grab a beer before my next flight took off. But….I don’t count this as visiting. I would love to go some day and travel around.
Today Germany is bordered by many countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark. 81.5 million people live in Germany and while most of them are German an increasing number of them are from all over Europe, Turkey, Russia, central Asia, parts of Africa, and even Canada and the USA.
Here is a list of 5 things on my to-do list:
1) Neuschwanstein Castle
Nestled in the remote mountains of Bavaria, Neuschwanstein castle is a testament to King Ludwig’s single minded vision to create a refuge where he could rule as a god among mortals (even though he was a constitutional monarch). He built his dream castle in the second half of the 1800s. It is now a huge tourist attraction and has inspired other buildings most notably Cinderella’s castle at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.
Compare it to Cinderella’s castle at the Magic Kingdom:
2) Bavarian Alps
Since I’ll be in the Alps already visiting Neuschwanstein I might as well take a look around and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Road tripping would be a perfect way to enjoy the scenery. And depending on the time of year I could try skiing or hiking.
3) Berlin Wall
I saw a piece of the Berlin wall when I was a kid at the Richard Nixon presidential library. I’m curious to see how much of it still remains standing in Germany. I wonder if the graffiti and barbed wire is still there or if it’s all been removed.
4) Pergamon Museum
The art historian in me wouldn’t miss out on this museum! It houses the Pergamon altar, friezes from ancient Greece, and Islamic and Near East art. This is a must see place in Berlin.
Let’s be honest, what kind of tourist would I be if I didn’t plan a trip to Germany during Oktoberfest? I would be a terrible tourist if I didn’t. For a beer lover such as myself, Germany is the holy land. There is evidence of beer making in ancient Mesopotamia and Babylonia but serious, refined beer production didn’t take off until the middle ages thanks to monks in Germany. And if you were ever curious about the origins of the word beer here is some food (drink??) for thought:
The word beer comes from old Germanic languages, and is with variations used in continental Germanic languages, bier in German and Dutch, but not in Nordic languages. The word was imported into the British Isles by tribes such as the Saxons. It is disputed where the word originally comes from.
Many other languages have borrowed the Dutch/German word, such as French bière, Italian birra, Romanian “bere” and Turkish bira. The Nordic languages have öl or øl, related to the English word ale. Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan have words that evolved from Latin cervisia, originally of Celtic origin. Slavic languages use pivo with small variations, based on a pre-Slavic word meaning beverage and derived from the verb meaning “to drink”.
Have you been to Germany? What is on your Germany to-do list? Let me know in the comments below!