By Charlie Cooksey
With a vibrant air that is rich in history that brings you to medieval ages all intertwined with a modern flourish; Germany is a must-visit country. The lively culture and variety of regional distinctions allow for the opportunity to have a unique and exciting experience in every city and town.
I jumped at the chance to tour three distinct parts of Germany. Each beautiful in its own way, my journeys through this quaint European gem took me to Stuttgart for one night, Baden-Baden for two nights, and Essen for three nights. From the Middle East, it’s an excellent location for a holiday, offering something truly special to every type of traveller.
The Overall German Experience
Perhaps you’ve heard the jokes about Germans being on time and precise, and I can assure you, this is no joke. If you value timeliness and orderliness, you will feel right at home in Germany. Everything I experienced from the trains, tours, and metro services is always right on the dot with the ETA.
During my trip and time with the German Tourism Board, they made strong efforts to reveal the nature-rich country, more so than the notorious German cities most people are already aware of. I was impressed by this whole new side of Germany which I had never seen before or was even aware of.
There was a focus on sustainability and “eco-friendliness” during this trip by use of Germany’s excellent public transport system to cart around the country and its cities. I also found that ‘Lime’ scooters offer a fun and quick way to affordably get around cities. At just 6.99 Euros for 60 minutes, it’s both cheap and sustainable and makes for a great way to take in the new surroundings of whichever city you’re in. What also surprised me about Germany is that the food is delicious. Other countries are often hailed for their cuisine, and after visiting, I think Germany deserves far more praise for its incredible cuisine.
Now, let’s get on with the cities and what you’ll want to discover in them.
If the name of this city sounds familiar, that is because it is the home to Porsche and Mercedes. This industrial-based town with a similar format to San Francisco with roads that wind up and down would likely be the last place you’d expect to find good wine. In fact, wine from Germany isn’t something I’d even given much thought to before.
Yet, that’s precisely what you’ll find here as Stuttgart is Germany’s biggest wine-producing city. A trip to the Weingut Diehl vineyard was a sublime way to partake in the wines and offered stunning surroundings to envelop us as we sipped the selections.
Another fascinating thing about Stuttgart is that there are well-preserved homes from the 1800 and 1900s. In the war, most of Stuttgart was blown to pieces and these relics are among the few buildings that remain from this era. Stuttgart is rich in history.
During my short stay in Stuttgart, I also visited the Bauhaus Museum. This creation consists of two semi-detached homes crafted in 1927 by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. It remains the only Weissenhof Estate building that is open to visitors and earned a lot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
On to Baden-Baden where they say it’s a city so nice that they named it twice. This quiet and calm city is the perfect respite, especially if you feel a bit washed out from your travels. Baden-Baden was the highlight of my trip. It’s picture-perfect and full of stunning European architecture.
The name comes from Baden in Baden which means water or bath, but they didn’t want confusion with cities like Vienna. And with that, it’s well worth visiting the spa quarter and thermal baths.
Promoting wellness through these restorative thermal waters, they bubble from 2,000 metres below at temperatures up to 68°C. Brimming with healing minerals, it is the ultimate experience in Baden-Baden. You can use the baths without the need for anything else. It’s just 35 Euros and they provide everything you need. It’s great for when it’s wet and rainy to soak all your cares away.
While Essen is popular with European tourists, few overseas travellers knew of its existence. Until now, that is. With abundant opportunities for recreation in the fresh air and its own slice of unique German culture and hospitality, I truly enjoyed finishing the last leg of my Germany trip here.
Named the green capital of Germany in 2017, it is the city of contrasts, a place that is as excellent for hiking as it is feasting. In fact, after a particularly long and neurotic hike, we stopped mid-way for a beautiful and delicious lunch at Jagdhaus Schellenberg, which boasts a spectacular biergarten accessible from April through October, weather depending, in the afternoons from Wednesdays to Fridays and on weekends and holidays. The menu offers delectable foods and even offers a vegetarian selection.
My journey was almost complete, with a last stop at the Krupps house. Residing on the outskirts of Essen, set beside railway tracks, you’ll find The Villa Hügel as it is known, a home built in the early 1870s as the residence for a famous German steel family. Since the entire country has always been famed for manufacturing and engineering, seeing the house of the Krupp family was an excellent way to complete my journey.
My six-day tour of Germany was a whirlwind of unique experiences, adventure, meeting interesting people and eating plenty of food I’d never tried before. It was all so eye-opening. I strongly recommend exploring this great country – with so much to see, be sure to give yourself an ample amount of time to check out different cities and regions; made so easy with the excellent public transport system. On this 6-day adventure, I saw plenty, yet there is still so much more to see.
To learn more visit: www.germany.travel/en/home.html