Like any other country in the increasingly well-mapped and tourist-oriented lexicon of trip advisers, Germany has its share of highlighted locales and much-advertised scenic attractions. Also like any other country, there are a great many fascinating aspects that are often overlooked in the travel brochures. From ancient history to post-war memorials, and from the ubiquitous beer gartens to the grandest hotels, Germany offers all the diversity anyone could wish.
Take for example the Propeller Island City Lodge in Berlin; it’s more of a destination than a hotel, and the rooms are not just rooms but a ‘sleeping experience’. Each one is a work of art in its own right, from the flying bed in the “Therapy Room” to a platform in the “Orange Room” that matches the orange walls, ceiling, floors . . . it’s orange everywhere. No telephone, no TV, no internet, cash only; it is truly one-of-a-kind.
At the other end of the ‘unusual’ spectrum, visitors may want to plan a side trip to an authentic concentration camp, a reminder of the most infamous period in recent history. Dachau in Munich is a place for introspection, not entertainment. It is certainly not a scenic attraction, but it is a part of the country’s history and well worth your time for that reason alone.
You can forget any grim reminders and visit one or more of the wonderful castles that can be found all over Germany, many as monuments to another age, and many more converted to modern accommodations with historic grandeur intact. A good example of the latter is the Schlosshotel Schonburg in Oberwesel on the Rhine River. The castle dates back to the 10th century, but a section of it has been turned into one of Germany’s most luxurious hotels, with breath taking views from every room.
Just traveling from one area of the country to another you’ll find the whole range from old tradition to modern technology, often side by side or intertwined. In Berlin there is a melange of bureaucrats of the new capital, financiers, scruffy artists and disco-techies. From Heidelberg, city of romance, to rowdy port cities like Hamburg and Bremen, and from medieval castles to a city rebuilt from dust such as Dresden, the variety is endless.
Germany is world famous for its Oktoberfest’s. In fact most of the Western world has borrowed both the term and the tradition, so the social gathering with music and dancing and general carousing is not unfamiliar. However, the Germans take their beer seriously, and it is a major part of their culture. Germany boasts at least 1,300 breweries, about half of them in Bavaria. You may find the one nobody has heard of yet.