WHEN The Beatles pitched up in the Hamburg red light district in the summer of 1960 they were an under-rehearsed rock and roll covers band with five members who had only met their drummer two days before travelling.
By the time they left in 1962 they had released their first single and were on their way to conquering the world and changing the face of pop music forever.
The fascinating story of how the Fab Four were moulded into the supergroup they became by their experiences in Hamburg was the highlight of my visit to the city, as it was told by professional musician Stefanie Hempel on a guided tour of the St Pauli district.
At the heart of St Pauli is the Reeperbahn which still has strip clubs and sex boutiques but is also the home of the Beatles-Platz, where tourists can pose with statues of the band on a piazza designed to look like an old-fashioned vinyl record.
At the Maulbronn Monastery in south-west Germany, visitors can learn how to make ‘God-cheaters’.
While visiting the state of Baden-Württemberg in south-west Germany, I found myself in a monastery’s former donkey stable learning how to make Maultaschen, a type of German stuffed pasta. My hands were covered with the meat-and-cheese filling. I imagined Cistercian monks making the dish on these grounds centuries before. But as I learned, there is more than one version of Maultaschen’s origin story.
Maulbronn Monastery is a place of legends. The name appeared in historical records as ‘Mulenbrunnen’, which suggests a site by a source of water (‘Brunnen’ in German) that fed a mill (‘Mulin’ in Middle High German). It also appeared as ‘Mulibrunnen’, which suggests a mule (‘Maultier’ in German, nicknamed ‘Muli’). Legend says that when the monks set out to find a site for their new monastery, they took a mule, and when the animal stopped for a drink of water they interpreted it as a sign from God that they should stay and build their monastery there.
The Cathedral and the Church of the Abbey in Hildesheim are rightly famous. Not only the architecture, but also the interior design create the idea of “total works of art”. The question is in which way this came about? And what role the elites played?
Hildesheim holds two world famous treasures – the Cathedral and the Abbey Church. Both listed as UNESCO World Heritage, they are some of the most impressive examples of what in German is called a “Gesamtkunstwerk” or “total work of art”. Not only the architectural heritage, but also the objects of art, created by and for these churches, witness to the conscious intent of the elite, as well as the intellectual context, in which they were commissioned.
For the last two years, a research project funded by the German Federal Government has united the efforts of medieval historians and art historians at the Universities in Kiel, Potsdam, Osnabrück and Bonn as well as the Dommuseum in Hildesheim to uncover the social context of Hildesheim between 1130 and 1250.
Germany is a fantastic destination no matter the season. Whether you are visiting in spring, summer, fall, or winter there are plenty of things to do and see. We’ve asked the people who know best, travel bloggers, which cities they want to visit during spring in Germany. The answers are varied and all are interesting. I’ve still got to get to a few myself so maybe I’ll see you there.
Liechtenstein Castle by Hannah and Adam of Getting Stamped
Germany is the perfect place to visit during the spring. The amount of tourists is nothing compared to the summer months and with that comes lower hotel prices. We love visiting all the famous castles in Germany and one of our favorites is Liechtenstein Castle in the Echaz Valley. This gorgeous Gothic-style castle has incredible views of the valley and town below. The castle was built in 1840 but was damaged during World War II and has since been restored. You can still go inside the castle but you’ll have to purchase a guided tour for €8 to do so.
Nope, NRW is not some new black rap gang, rather the region of Germany where my birth town is located. Interesting piece on why one should go there for a holiday:
NRW has Germany’s most popular beer and a little-known Japanese community that adds panache to its cuisine. Need more? Read on…
Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), is often associated with the decline of heavy industry and the area’s resulting socio-economic difficulties, so it’s not necessarily an obvious holiday destination. But, of Germany’s 16 Bundesländer it is definitely one of the most diverse in what it has to offer tourists, and probably the most accessible transport-wise.
There are direct high-speed ICE trains from Berlin and Munich to its largest city Cologne. Meanwhile three of Germany’s major airports – Düsseldorf, Köln/Bonn and Dortmund – are located in the state, so it’s definitely worth hopping over for a weekend trip or longer.
NRW has the highest urban density and the largest number of cities of any of the German states.
The six caves holding the oldest figurative artworks made by humans were discovered in the Swabian Alp region. In 2017 they have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In its annual list “52 Places To Go,” the New York Times recommends Germany’s western states as a travel destination for 2018. “Nowhere is the spirit of Teutonic tolerance more alive than in the country’s progressive western states, abloom with new visitor draws like the ancient Ice Age cave art in the Jura Plateau, inscribed on Unesco’s World Heritage list in 2017”.
The Venus of Hohle Fels
This curvaceous lady, called the Venus of Hohle Fels, is the world’s oldest depiction of a human. She is the most famous of the more than 50 figurines that remained hidden for 40,000 years in caves in the Swabian Alps. The ivory figurine is held at Blaubeuren Museum.
Admired for its stunning medieval city center, the small city of Regensburg is one of Bavaria’s must-visit destinations. Located in southeastern Germany on the Danube River, I fell in love with this storybook town on an exploration of the greatest Christmas markets in Europe.
Nicknamed Italy’s northernmost city, this UNESCO World Heritage spot has a rich history and is chock full of architecture that is just begging to be Instagrammed.
Regensburg is located about 80 miles from Munich and 140 miles from Salzburg.
A town of about 140,000 people, the closest airports are in Munich and Nuremberg, which is just about an hour away by train. It’s a bit off-the-beaten-path for most tourists but well worth a visit.
Regensburg has over two millennia of history, and that’s just one of the many reasons why history-buff travelers adore this town.
Merry Christmas! Since Met Monday falls on Christmas Day this year, I’m putting this post up a bit early. I guess my Before and After this week is a travel one since I’m spending Christmas in a way I’ve never done before: floating down the Rhine River stopping every so often to visit the Christmas Markets and historic sites we find along the way.
The Christmas Markets have all closed now, but our program director has said there will be additional markets to shop in later during this trip. Forgotten where those are now…maybe Heidelberg. For this Met Monday I thought I’d share a few photos from the Christmas Markets we visited while in Cologne. Photography is a bit of a challenge because even during these last few days before Christmas, the markets have been packed.
When the folks at the German Tourism authority reached out and invited me to explore Bremen as their guest as part of the #citybreakgermany campaign I found my curiosity piqued. This post and the two that follow are done in partnership with Bremen Tourism who suggested my itinerary and arranged/provided all lodging, accommodation and a suggested itinerary. The premise for the visit? Get an overview of what Bremen has on offer over a three day weekend (arriving Saturday AM, departing Monday evening) without a frantic schedule or over-the-top luxury experience.
What I found was a charming city that was intimate, easy to explore, had distinct personalities and a clean polished experience and functionality that made getting around and exploring the town extremely pleasant.