This past weekend you may have noticed on my Instagram @travelsofadam that I’ve been traveling around Germany. This country is one of my favorites in Europe for a few reasons. Perhaps that’s not unexpected, considering that I live in Berlin. But seeing as how this is my adopted home, I didn’t always have a fascination for German history and culture. Over the years of living here, though, I’ve become more and more fascinated by Germany’s unique place in the world.
You see, I’ve gotten to know this country quite well. Even though I’m a city boy through and through, my desire to see more of Germany is fueled by my interest to live here. Being an expat living in Berlin, I feel a special pull toward seeing more of my new adopted country than most other European destinations. Thankfully, Germany has some great sites to offer up.
This weekend I left Berlin and headed south on a “Visionaries and Pioneering Thinker’s Route” to see and learn more about Germany’s innovative history. That includes sites such as the Lutherstadt where Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses on a church door, starting the Protestant Reformation. And also the cities of Weimar and Dessau which is where the Bauhaus school of art & design began (soooo cool!). Along the way I’ll stop off at the major UNESCO sites (a handy guide as I only have a day in each city) using this free app and Germany’s official UNESCO guide.
TRAVEL TIP: Germany’s official tourism website offers suggested itineraries and plenty of information for tourists. They even have an app (free download here) which outlines all 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites across Germany with suggested itineraries from city to city. Visit Germany.travel for more information.
And now… the reasons why I love traveling around Germany….
5 Reasons to Travel Around Germany
There’s history here
And not just that WWII history. Germany has been the site of major innovative thinking throughout history. I sometimes forget how much of my European history classes in high school took place in what’s now Germany. From the Holy Roman Empire to the Reformation, Germany has always been at the forefront of history. I mean — this is the country where Gutenberg printed his Bible, where Luther successfully split the church, where Beethoven, Bach and other classical composers created new sounds. Germany has more than an extensive history. It’s where so much of so many things began.
Germany has a history of style
When we think of art and design, Germany probably isn’t the first place to come to mind. But it should. This is the country of Romantiscim. Goethe penned many of his deeply moving stories in Weimar. Caspar David Friedrich captured the strangely beautiful if not surreal German landscape in his 19th century paintings. And Walter Gropius (along with more than a few others) founded his new way of modernist thinking and Bauhaus style in the cities of Weimar and Dessau. Then there’s that whole fashion industry, of which Germany is a leader not just in innovation but in style.
Germany is pretty
Maybe this is the most surprising thing I found about Germany. While on my previous Eurotrips, I’d always gone the more classically beautiful destinations in southern Europe, traveling around Germany has taught me to appreciate the strange beauty that is indeed here. German castles such as Hohenzollern and Neuschwanstein are popular destinations, but when traveling by train in Germany, it’s easy to spot the beauty of Germany’s extensive countryside. (Remember: Germany is a BIG country, too!)
One of my favorite ways to travel around Germany is stop off and visit the smaller towns and cities. That’s where you find the most beautiful traditional German architecture. The people are friendly and generally welcoming. And the cobble-stoned streets and colorful roofs just add to that German atmosphere. Even in Berlin we like to say that “Berlin is a village” meaning the city is made up of a thousand different neighborhoods each with their own special local flair.
The German Language
It’s taken me years to get a grasp on the German language but now that I’ve got a somewhat tenuous grasp on it, I actually kind of enjoy it. Never having studied the German language before arriving in Berlin, it’s been a long road trying to learn it (and even now I’d just classify myself as an intermediate speaker), but it’s certainly one of my more interesting achievements. With English being a Germanic language, there are a lot of strange similarities between the languages. And like I’m sure many native speakers and foreign learners will add to the conversation, there’s a certain amount of poetry in the ways of German grammar. My favorite way to practice the German language is to get outside of Berlin and visit these small towns & cities — where I’m even more of a foreigner but where the locals are just all too happy for you to be speaking their language. While most Germans speak English, it’s always fun to speak a bit of the local tongue!
TIP: Follow the #DailyDeutsch hashtag on Twitter to see what funny words people have found from the German language. Every now and then I like to add my own in :) Search #DailyDeutsch on Twitter.
Have you visited Germany before? What are your reasons for traveling in Germany? Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter to get in-the-moment updates from my German travel adventures over the next few days!