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Old 12-29-2005, 03:29 PM   #1
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I'm planning a trip in June. It will be a 2 week trip flying into Paris and then most likely heading the Swiss Alps, Prague and back to maybe Nice.

I like big city's and all but would prefer to feel out a small community for a bit too. Maybe a couple nights of camping as well. Destination would have to be reachable by rail. All suggestions are very welcomed.
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Old 12-31-2005, 02:13 PM   #2
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I am not as familiar with the Swiss Alps as I am with the German and Austrian Alps. Most of my time was spent between Zurich, Davos, and the other ski towns. Switzerland is expensive... I would really go online and plan your route and hostels along the way to avoid getting stuck and having to pay waaaaaaaaay too much for a room at the last minute.

Prague is nice; Pilzen is along the way, and just as pretty but smaller (and has the Pilsner Urquelle brewery there).

As far as small town culture, I can't put in enough plugs for Germany and the Bavarian and Unterfranken regions. That's where I can give you the best info about small town lodging and hangouts.
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Old 12-31-2005, 05:16 PM   #3
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lilwings...where would you recommend in germany and bavarian areas? i will be in germany for a few weeks this summer and would like to see that side of germant!
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Old 01-01-2006, 04:00 AM   #4
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A good guidebook will either tell you or give you the impression which areas are more heavily travelled than others. I'd read through a couple -- I usually read 2-3 per destination -- and see what catches your fancy.

I always like to get out in the countryside a little, too. A full trip spent in nothing but big cities isn't the same, IMO...

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Old 01-02-2006, 09:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nemesis331@Dec 31 2005, 06:16 PM
lilwings...where would you recommend in germany and bavarian areas?* i will be in germany for a few weeks this summer and would like to see that side of germant!
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I lived in Schweinfurt for three years, and just recently returned to the states... too bad. I could have at least hooked you up with some free lodging.

Ok, to start: catch the train from Frankfurt, and see Wurzburg. It used to be a Bishop Principality. The Residence is beautiful, along with the Cathedral in the market center. I would also suggest taking a couple of days to stay there. There are cheap hotels all throughout the city, and you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a place to stay there. If you want to checkout the night life... there are clubs and great bars all around the area. My other big suggestion is Mainfrankish Museum at the Marienburg castle on the hill (trust me, as soon as you get there, you'll see it over the city, surrounded by grape fields). There is also a beautiful, small art museum in the Am Dom (old church on the main shopping street).

Once you've gotten a couple of days there, take a day trip north by train to Bad Kissingen... it's a classic German spa town. Beautiful in the summer. I used to have friends who lived there, but we all recently left. Yet again, great food, a couple of nice quite bars, and you can find rooms all over the place. There is one dance club there, called The Look (not too bad)... but it's frequented by US military as well as the locals. Be advised. If you really want a treat for the day... try the Kiss- alles spa. It's up on a hill... every local knows where. It's new and very fun to at least give it a try... watchout for naked Germans in some parts of it.

If you feel up to it... try Schweinfurt, south of Bad Kissingen, but it's a soldier town. There is a Brigade from the 1st Infantry Division there. It's still a nice day trip. I highly advise the Baroque museum there and the local church at the town square... it had cannon balls lodged in the steeple because it was an artillery target. There are plenty of places to stay and eat there.

Bamberg is also amazing. So is Nuremburg. Nuremburg has a great museum of German history (and it's open on Sundays- good Sunday trip). Nuremburg also has good clubs and bars... Bamberg tends to be more reserved, but it's focus for parties is cafes and little pubs. If you want places to hangout and stay, I'll ask some friends who still live over there, and get back to this thread... If you opt to try it at any of those places.

I would also checkout Rothenburg ober de Tauber. It's touristy, but it's a real medival walled city. If you haven't eated yet, see the museum of torture. It's a good one. Great food and a beautiful patio at a place called the Reichkuchenmeister right next to the St. Jakobs Kirch. The cathedral there is a must see... it costs like 2 Euros to get in but it's to preserve the Tilman Riemenschnieder wood carvings there! I would also advise an afternoon stroll around the wall of the city. Great views of the Tauber Valley! The train station isn't very far from the walled part of the city... short walk. If you plan to over night there... stay outside of the wall, it's cheaper that way. You actually might want to surf the net and book in advance for a place if you come in the nice months because it is pretty touristy.

If you want the non- tourist version of a walled city, try Dinklesbuhl. It's Rothenburg, without all the camera clickers. It's south of Rothenburg. I am not as familiar with their train station, but I would imagine it's not far from there.

I would continue to look south. Try any place in the Black Forest (Schwartzwald). If you want to stick to the Romantic Route (medival villages and countryside leading to the Neuschwanstein Castle), the train follows the route. I drove many times. Another must see is Berchesgaden! It's beautiful. Not many bars and clubs, but the Kehlstienhaus (Eagle's Nest) is a good hike. There are buses and trams that go up if you don't want to walk. Take the tram car... it's cheaper. If you are really ambitious... I walked up and down it... it's a fair walk up the OberSaltzburg, but it's a groomed, paved walking path. Garmisch is nice... but it's expensive unless you go online and find a place in advance. It's a ski and mountain climbing town, but it's classic Bavaria (partly because of the Zugspitz... tallest peak in Germany). While you're climbing the Zugspitz, there is a little lodge and resteraunt for the climbers. Believe it or not, they can only get resupply from helicopter. Ask around, and the locals will tell you which path to take to get there. Pardon if I can't remember, the day I found it, it was socked in with fog, but I remember that there was a tram to take you there. As far as I know, it wasn't that expensive to over night there. If you can find a cheap bus to get you there, see if you can't arrange a tour of Linderhof... Prince Ludwig's private estate. It's touristy, but every bit as beautiful as Neuschwanstien... and cheaper. The grounds are very beautiful too.

Every little town you stop at along the train tends to have a little gasthaus with a hotel attached. Just ask... the locals will direct you to good places. Most aren't too expensive. Most of the smaller towns have beirstubes, but they aren't anything like clubs... those tend to be reserved for the larger towns. Never the less, even if you stay in a larger town (like Schweinfurt or Wurzburg), you're very close to the countryside (five minute train trip). There are walking paths everywhere. That's the German favorite past time. Watch travelling on Sunday... you might not be able to find places that are open in Unterfranken and Bavaria (very religious at times).

The best bet for a simply Germany trip might be to fly into Frankfurt, take the train around, and end your trip in Munich, flying out from there back to home.

If you get the chance, and you're ambitious, you could try going North too. The best areas to see are along the Rhien River. Wine Country. Base out of Weisbaden or Mainz, and take the train to the country towns for day trips. The castles along the Rhein are a sight to see, but you have to take public transpo buses or tour buses to get to them.

If you have any other questions, just ask. I loved Germany.

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Old 01-02-2006, 01:38 PM   #6
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Germany is amazing and just about anywhere you stop, you'll be greeted by wonderful people and a great atmosphere, plus lots to see. We spent a lot of time in Idar Oberstein (as Lilwings said, go to Frankfurt and hop the train) as we have family there. It's a small town with lots of shops (huge gem area), some great cafes and bars. You can hike up the hill and see the Neu Schlosse (new castle) or Alt Schlosse (old castle) and they have a church built into the side of the hill. Very cool.

I fell in love with Mainz as well, although it's a little bigger. The Rhine River is an easy trek from the train station and there's some great restaurants and shops as well.

We went in search for towns off the beaten path as well. We'd look at where the train went and randomly selected towns. It was amazing, we found so many neat cities and wonderful people.
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Old 01-02-2006, 02:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by jamiepeaski@Jan 2 2006, 02:38 PM
We spent a lot of time in Idar Oberstein.
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I completely forgot about I.O. Even better is that it's a great stop from the train to Trier, which has ancient Roman ruins.
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Old 01-02-2006, 05:47 PM   #8
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Oh I forgot about Trier!! Beautiful town. Porta (?) Negra is worth the trip alone. We went during a festival (by accident) and the town was bustling. Oh, and they have an H&M.
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