Travel Germany and Berlin between Christmas Markets and Castles

For some time I wanted to travel to Germany and now seemed to be the moment. In this travel diary, we tell you the main points of our stay in Germany. This trip took place started in the second half of September, when began the Oktoberfest, the beer festival, to which I wanted to goat. My stay was until the end of December, allowing me as much to enjoy the cultural and historical wealth of Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg as its many Christmas markets.

Two months before the date of the trip, it was an odyssey to find hotels that would be good, pretty and cheap. Apparently, the reservations begin at the beginning of the year and by now we could not find anything and what little we found had exorbitant prices.

We flew directly to Munich, on the first flight of the morning, with the aim of having breakfast stepping on German soil. Flying over the Alps in clear weather is already a gift for the eyes! At the airport, we took the metro to the central station, next to which was our hotel, the most economical we had found on the Internet in the month of August.

The first route of the situation left me in awe. Munich is a really beautiful city, elegant and stately, with a well-preserved old quarter, in which stands out the Neo-Gothic town hall of Marienplatz with its dancing sculptures, the neuralgic center of the town. It has nothing to do with the cosmopolitan and ultra-modern Berlin. In Munich, the Bavarians walk around in their traditional costumes without having to be festive and in broad daylight.

It is time to visit the city where the most emblematic festival in Germany, the Oktoberfest, is celebrated. In addition to this, the city has several interesting attractions, including the BMW Museum. But eventually, we realize that life in Munich really revolves around beer. I will not go much into the theme of Oktoberfest because I have an exclusive article for it.

We ate in a central and famous place, on the main street, with our own beer. We order a delicious knuckle and some typical Bavarian white sausage called Weisswurst with puree. For dessert, an apple strudel served us as the first immersion in German food!

In the evening, we make a visit to the Hofbräuhaus, the largest brewery in Germany, founded in 1591. A traditional place with a history, where there is the beer of all kinds and textures. If you order a beer (normal) they will give you a liter jug. I always asked for a "small beer", and they put me the smaller size they serve half a liter.

The charming Biergarten unfolds in the parks. Ideal for the sunset, it is an impromptu outdoor beer garden where they set up beer stalls and typical food such as sausages, to enjoy at long tables with wooden benches. It serves as an excuse to engage in conversation with the locals. They are all over Germany. In Munich, we were recommended the largest, next to the Schloss Nymphenburg, which even has a park with deer. The Nymphenburg Castle is an imposing baroque palace. It was one of the main summer residences of the Wittelsbach.

And, to finish, we got up the courage to approach by train to Dachau, the one that was the first Nazi concentration camp, preserved as a Memorial.

On the third day, we rented a car at the same train station and set off to the south of Bavaria on the edge of the Alps, very close to the Austrian border. Leaving the Bavarian capital and leaving behind the busy highway, the real Germany begins. It gets green and greener. There are meadows with cows and horses, farms where they sell milk and fresh cheese, and continental forests. But we could not entertain much admiring the landscape. Our goal is the so-called Castles of the Mad King, built by Ludwig II of Bavaria, next to the beautiful village of Füssen, in a dream landscape. It is perched on a cliff in the foothills of the mountain, between forests and waterfalls and at the foot of a glacial lake.

The visit to the castle of the father, Schloss Hohenschwangau, and then to that of Louis II takes a whole day. You can take the ticket right there, in a modern box office where, fortunately, we only wait fifteen minutes in line. Both are spectacular, but it is Neuschwanstein that takes the cake. Inspired by Wagner's romantic operas, it recreates in a fantasy world of medieval legends, with rooms covered in tapestries painted with princesses and nymphs of story, typical of the romantic era. It inspired none other than Walt Disney to create the castle of "The Sleeping Beauty".

Late in the afternoon, we took a walk through Füssen, a town as beautiful as it is quiet. On a terrace, we had a beer and a salad, before going to rest from the long day. As for accommodation, we booked in the Hohenschwangau itself, at the foot of Neuschwanstein, a village ski resort with only hotels and shops. From the balcony of the room, we slept with the glare of the lights of the solitary castle shrouded in fog, which only its creator could enjoy a few days since he died shortly after in strange circumstances.

We said goodbye to a Neuschwanstein wrapped in the mist first thing in the morning to get to Bodensee, Lake Constance. Known as the German Blue Coast, this huge lake, besides being the largest in Western Europe, borders three countries of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

At midmorning, we glimpse the blue in the distance. Bodensee, more than a lake, looks like a small sea from the south, whose cities look splendid on its shores. There are stately and ancient cities, bustling and happy. The first time we arrived was the beautiful Lindau. After a splendid time, we went through its cobbled streets of houses with a colorful facade, elegant and flowered.

Immediately we understood the nickname of Costa Azul, small pleasure boats in the port! We bought bread, sausage, and fruit and had a very pleasant lunch in a park on the edge of the lake, with the background noise of the jingling of beer steins when toast in the Biergarten. After lunch, we went to Meersburg, an adjoining city and as beautiful as the previous one. There are cobblestone streets, "toy" houses and a stone castle with a drawbridge just like in the movies.

In Meersburg, we had enough problems to find accommodation. It was a very touristy place! Luckily we found a little hotel on the outskirts that just had just one room for 70 euros. A little out of our budget, but there was no other! After this trance, we toured the charming city and even took a refreshing swim in an area of the lake, taking advantage of the pleasant ambient temperature of about 20 degrees.

To end a perfect day at the Bodensee, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the pier. The day dawned as sunny as the previous one and we had breakfast very animated with the idea of ​arriving that same day in the Black Forest. But first, a small detour to neighboring Switzerland and a stop in the medieval city of Schaffhausen, where the Rhine passes with all its power and plummets vertiginously and noisily into spectacular waterfalls.

To enter Switzerland we only had to show the DNI in a "customs" a bit fictitious, without even getting off the vehicle. The tour of the falls costs 5 euros and is a descent of a hundred steps with incredible views of the water, where it is almost impossible to stop getting wet. You can also get on a boat and get close to the outgoing central rocks, too expensive. In Schaffhausen, we took a walk and we wanted to have a coffee. It was 5 euros! We ran back to the "affordable" Germany.

An hour later we finally arrived at the Black Forest, named after the Romans because of the dark and impenetrable wooded thicket that perches on the slopes of the mountains. Place of legends of fairies, elves and naughty goblins who go out to wander through the forest on full moon nights. The entrance to this vast extension from the south is made by Titisee, a small town with a beautiful lake of the same name.

We found accommodation in a Gästehaus highly recommended in the surroundings. The owners, who did not speak a dash of English, offered us a spacious room with terrace and bathroom and a magnificent breakfast for € 50. We ate in the house, in the sun on a terrace full of German tourists, a menu of goulash (a kind of potato pasta) with meat and beer for € 9. For dessert, we have coffee and tart from the Black Forest, made with cherries and chocolate. It is a delight for the sweet tooth!

That night a tremendous storm fell, reminding us that we were beginning September and the arrival of autumn. So in the morning, the weather was much cooler than the day before and much more cloudy. Even so, we do not stop making an alternative route to reach our next destination. Freiburg is the capital of the Black Forest. The previous day they had recommended to us in the town that, instead of taking the main route, we take an alternative that consists of going up and down the Feldberg (1,493 m), the highest peak of the Black Forest. We did it and despite the fog, the landscape captivated us. It is a winding little road between trees and waterfalls. It is a trip between pure nature!

Mid Morning we arrived in Freiburg, in the heart of the Black Forest. We found accommodation in a gästehaus on the outskirts, on the entrance street as we left the Feldberg, in Schwarzwald Straße. We were treated by a dear lady who did not even speak a word of English. We stayed 2 nights, with the idea of ​​visiting the university city quietly.

We spent the whole day, and the next, walking through the charming city. Its Romanesque cathedral of the year 1200, made of pink stone, is the oldest in Christendom. It is worth the visit, walking among its lonely walls while the medieval stained glass windows, donated by the guilds back in the 13th century, project on the floor the colors and shapes of their rose windows.

The square of the cathedral is also the center of the city, surrounded by ancient and emblematic buildings, such as the Archbishop's Palace, where the statue of Emperor Maximiliano and his son Philip the Fair stand out, recalling the glorious times of the Empire, when Spain and Germany were related by means of matrimonial and political alliances.

In the Münsterplatz, in addition, the central market is mounted. It is a pleasure to walk through it, among flower stalls, crafts and the delicious smell of the sausages sold in the stalls.

Our second day in Freiburg gave us to fully explore the small city. We see the towers that were built to cross its entrance, the old and new town hall, the church and convent of San Martín, the XIV century. Regarding food there is nothing better than a delicious bratwurst. We buy a beer from a little street stand, taking advantage of the good weather! In the Jewish quarter, we see plaques with the names of the people who were deported from there to the extermination camps.

In the morning we dive again into the sea of ​​trees on our route crossing the Black Forest from south to north, to reach one of the wildest areas. Triberg is the small towns famous for their handmade cuckoo clocks, which have been manufactured since the eighteenth century.

Our first stop is Schonach, a small town of just 2,000 inhabitants. Here we admire the one recorded on the Guinness Book of Records as "The cuckoo clock in the world". Although they later built another little bigger, in the neighboring Triberg.

Just a few kilometers down is Triberg, a village next to which is located a leafy natural park with the highest waterfall in Germany. After having lunch and looking for accommodation, in a brand new wooden gästehaus by the river, we enjoyed a lovely walk in the park, surrounded by the greenery of the trees, the moss and the refreshing sound of the waterfall. At the entrance, we bought a bag of peanuts to feed the funny squirrels. They were jumping and playful. It was impossible to get them to remain still to immortalize them in a snapshot.

In the afternoon the town was totally dark and dead! Not a single bar to have a beer. With this "lively" panorama, we bought food in a Lidl that was on the outskirts and we had dinner in the room. We are north of the Black Forest and it shows in time, cooler and wetter. A foggy morning receives us without taking away the desire to continue north, to the spa town of Bad Wildbad.

In Gutach we made a long stop to visit the Museum of the Black Forest. It is a set of traditional farms from several centuries ago, where they recreate what life was like in this corner of the map before TV and other modernities connected us to the outside world. It was very interesting and illustrative!

At noon we arrived at Bad Wildbad. We only found a small restaurant for lunch that was expensive. At the top of the Sommerberg mountain, among the forest, is a pretty guest house, with flowered balconies and beautiful views. We enjoyed a pleasant stay, who told us about his picturesque life in this isolated village of the Black Forest, where in winter his children go to school on skies.

In the afternoon we go to Baden-Baden, the famous spa town. Although pretty, I found it somewhat expensive and artificial. Actually, I had heard wonders and was a little disappointed. During the night, we are back to Bad Wildbad. We tried to find a bar open between the lonely streets and to our surprise we found it. Filled with locals, they were very surprised by our arrival. It is what has not come out in the tourist guides. The hospitable owner ended up talking with us and inviting us to shots of homemade cherry liqueur!

We left the Black Forest and took the highway back to Munich. A whole morning of travel awaits us, although on a good road. The urban legend is true. On German highways, there is no speed limit! Halfway we decided to stop at the university city of Ulm, to stretch our legs and see its famous cathedral. Its tower is presumed to be the highest in the world, rising 167 meters above ground level. We go up and I can only say it is not suitable for those who suffer vertigo!

In Ulm we ate and went to Munich. Return of the car at the central station and again we stayed at the hotel. To say goodbye to the Bavarian capital, we have one last walk and a refreshing Augustiner in a Biergarten.

We move to Frankfurt. It is not only the financial and business center of Germany but also one of the most important in Europe. The city is the entry and exit of the continent for its ease of access.

The city does not have the charisma of other German cities such as Munich, Cologne or Berlin but it does have a wide variety of museums that entertain us for days. The main attraction is the Dom, or the main Cathedral dating from the fourteenth century. This was where the emperors, of what is now known as Germany, were crowned.

In addition to the Cathedral, we visit its famous cider houses that are located in the Sachsenhausen district. After Frankfurt, our stop is the fourth largest city in Germany, Cologne. I ventured on a trip to Düsseldorf and Köln. Although I will focus on the city of Köln (Cologne).

I flew to Düsseldorf, where without having to go outside, I was able to reach the Hotel by a pedestrian bridge that connects the airport with the hotel. From the Düsseldorf airport itself, I took the train to Köln, a city that I was looking forward to, I had been told very well about it and it did not disappoint me. In less than 45 minutes it was in the middle of the fourth largest city in Germany, preceded by Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. The first thing we see when leaving the station is its Cathedral, which is one of the most recognized in Europe for its architectural style.

Walking through the old town we see that it includes more than two thousand years of history, from the arrival of the Romans to the reconstruction of the city after the Second World War. In this pleasant walk we find places of historical interest, but when we reach the Cathedral, "Der Kölner Dom" we had to stop and contemplate its majesty. Its official name is "Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria" and is the most famous cathedral in Germany.

It is one of the largest churches in the world, being the largest Gothic church in northern Europe. And thanks to its twin spiers, it also has the largest facade of any church in the world. It is 144.5 meters long, 86.5m. wide and its two towers are 157 m. High.

It is the seat of the archbishop of Cologne, under the administration of the Roman Catholic Church. It is a Gothic church and is under the patrimony of San Pedro. It is recognized as a monument of Christianity, Gothic architecture and the faith of the inhabitants of Cologne. It began to be built in 1248 and was not completed until 1880. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, which described it as an exceptional work of the human creative genius.

While remaining incomplete during the medieval period, it was a testament to the persistent strength of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe. It was a cult site of the Holy Roman Emperor and houses the traditional sanctuary of the Three Wise Men, a large number of treasures such as Stefan Lochner's triptych, the Gero crucifix dating from the ninth century and the windows of medieval colors.

Finally, we try the "Kölsch", the beer that has been produced in Cologne for more than 700 years. A clear, light beer with a high fermentation. I should tell you that when you no longer want beer, you can place the glass with the cup holder, but the Köbes (waiters) will continue to put beers without asking.

All the surroundings is what is known as the old part (Altstadt). We see several old buildings. We visit a brewery and order a Kölsch, the local beer. Beyond its cathedral and local beer, what really puts Colonia on the map is its famous carnival.

Here we are in Hamburg for four days. We are in the north of Germany. Hamburg has the distinction of hosting a huge port, the third in Europe. But the big port cities, perhaps because they grow up open to the world, often have something interesting to tell.

We start our discovery with a guided tour of the center. The guide presents his city with humor. Founded by Charlemagne, Hamburg was prosperous by a charter signed by the German Emperor Barbarossa a few days before his death, exempting the city from customs duties. But many suspicions weigh on the veracity of the document.

Hamburgers are proud to claim that the city has 2,300 bridges, more than Amsterdam and Venice combined. But these are discreet, scattered in the port neighborhoods, while the center is carved into large buildings interspersed with shopping streets.

Without a guide, we would not have thought of wandering around Kontorhaus, the business district. The architects of the 1920s entered into a competition. It was the championship of using brick, the emblematic material of Hamburg, in the most creative way possible. They named this architectural current Backstein Expressionismus, that is to say, brick expressionism. We would not say that the result is beautiful, it is even rather austere but remains interesting.

Further on, we fall in love with other architectures in brick, even more, impressive of the old port warehouses. This is the Speicherstadt district, literally the city of warehouses. Hamburg did not skimp on the means in the 19th century to offer the ultimate in modernity to shipowners around the world. The highlight of the show comes at dusk when the buildings are illuminated. It's worth the detour!

But why do they use brick so much? It's simple, the region is poor in natural stones and the Hamburgers, rather than importing them, have preferred a local solution! A little lesson in North German. Moin Moin, this is the local hello, full of good humor and sympathy. A bit like the "hi biloute" of a Ch'ti. As for the word Schmuddelwetter, this is the name given to the typical Hamburg weather and that would result in bad weather.

The second day in Hamburg, we are entitled to Schmuddelwetter. There is a strong wind, drizzle and a temperature that reaches just 4 ° C. We are down that day in a cafe to work on our computers. Unless you are waterproof like a Breton, you always have to provide a few days of margin during a visit to Hamburg.

We are starting to storm the city. We set the alarm clock at dawn to go to the fish market which is held every Sunday from 5am to 9.30am. The incredible atmosphere is worth the trip. In the big hall, pop rockers shout in front of a conquered public and the beer flows. Only Germans can drink moss so early in the morning.

Otherwise, there is a classic market around the market with vendors of vegetables, flowers, clothes but no fishmonger. We will have to think about renaming this Fischmarkt!

The market is glued to the Elbe, the Hamburg river, we chained with a boat trip. We have a choice between the tourist ferry and public ferry which follows the same route for much less money. Our choice is on the second and we are not alone. All the tourists seem to have given the word. The boat makes a loop to the northwest, allowing us to admire Hamburg from another point of view, to approach the cranes of the harbor and even to observe the beach of Elbstrand. Yes, there are beaches in Hamburg!

We descend to the terminus on the jetties of Landungsbrücken for a stroll along the water, before diving twenty-four meters below to visit the old tunnel under the Elbe, built more than a century ago. What is amazing is that vehicles that want to cross take the elevator. A very big elevator, you can imagine. On Sundays, only pedestrians and bicycles are allowed in the tunnel.

Back on the north shore, we walk to the district of Saint-Pauli. The difference with the center all clean and all perfect is obvious. Here, graffiti covers the walls, weeds line the sidewalks and empty bottles pile up in the corners.

A small hook takes us to the Hamburger DOM, a huge carnival that comes back here three times a year. We then go to Karolinenviertel, our favorite district. The streets are as roguish as in St. Pauli, but they are more alive and have more charm, with many trees and still as many frescoes on the walls.

Always on foot, we reach the popular Sternschanze district filled with large terraces. It's so nice that all Hamburgers spend their Sunday afternoons outside! Precisely, our next destination, the Planten Park, is crowded. And he deserves it. After a tour in the Japanese garden, we discover a beautiful lake, surrounded by tufts of plants and wildflowers and, especially, solid wooden chairs.

While in the city center already visited, we savor our chance to have the company of the sun. It is striking how the red brick is depressing in gray weather and happy in good weather. With such a light, we want to go back for a walk in the warehouse district. We observe the magical power of the sun in action!

The half-height terrace is freely accessible and represents the best place to enjoy the sunset over the city of Hamburg and its harbor. To end this busy day, we visit the Miniatur Wunderland, a fun tour for young and old. A group of crazy model-makers has been hard at work recreating some of the world's cities and regions in miniature. Rome and Hamburg are particularly successful, especially when the artificial night falls (every fifteen minutes) and the buildings are lit up.

For the last day, we decide to go green. A short ferry ride takes us to Elbstrand beach, which we had seen the day before. The beach is not particularly beautiful with neighboring cranes but the relaxed seaside atmosphere is there. We motivate ourselves to take a bath and we demotivate with the first wet toe! An unexpected charm emerges from the slow coming and going of freighters on the river. We are ants at the foot of these giants. We take the pretty Övelgönne pedestrian street that runs along the beach in front of an array of old pretty houses.

In a bus ride, we go to the small town of Blankenese, still further on the right bank of the Elbe. The lower district, near the water, is a former fishing village with the well-chosen name of Treppenviertel, meaning stairway district.

From here our itinerary continues towards the mythical Berlin. It is a unique, exciting, vital city, where the past is still present and the future is already on its doors. We arrive in Berlin early in the morning at Schönefeld airport. To find the route to follow to our hotel, we helped ourselves to the public transport site. The daily tickets for zones A/B/C are very practical since they are valid for any type of public transport from the airport. After validating them, they offer unlimited access to public transport.

To start our stay in Berlin, we decided to go for a walk in the Kreuzberg district, known for its street artworks. Some of his works can reach impressive dimensions and be at the top of a wall of a building. Among the most famous works of the Kreuzberg district, there is the Astronaut or the Yellow Man.

After this first walk in the streets of Berlin, we eat a hamburger at the legendary Burgermeister. We taste their Meisterburger hamburger, made of bacon, fried onions, mustard, barbecue sauce, etc.

Rejuvenated, we continue our discoveries of street art on the other side of the Spree, in the district Friedrichshain. This area is primarily popular for the unmissable East Side Gallery. Over 1.3 kilometers, more than a hundred frescoes were made by 118 artists from 21 countries. This walk on both sides of the wall is very pleasant despite a large number of tourists. The only "catch" is that the best-known works are now protected by fences, making them hard to photograph.

This first day ended with a stroll at the Charlottenburg Christmas Markets and the Memorial Church. The first takes place in the castle garden of the same name, giving it a romantic atmosphere. The second takes place in the square surrounding the Memorial Church, a stone's throw from Zoologischer Garten.

We start this second day with the Brandenburg Gate. In the early morning, the crowd is very little, which allowed us to take a picture of the Brandenburg Gate from every angle.

We then walk to Parliament to visit its glass dome. It is best to book tickets on the Internet because the queue to do on the spot for the tickets is long (on average one hour to one and a half hours of the queue) and the available places are very limited. This tour is free and the audioguide explains in detail the architecture of the dome and the different buildings that surround it. We were delighted with this visit, the architecture of the dome is breathtaking and the 360 ​​° view of the city is splendid!

Not far from here, the Holocaust Memorial is a poignant memorial perpetuating the memory of the Jewish victims of Europe murdered by the Nazis during the Shoa. More than 2700 gray steles are aligned on this vast plain. As one goes through this maze, the stelae are higher and higher which considerably modifies the feeling.

For lunch, we eat a delicious Kebab. We have to wait at least 30 minutes before being served, but it's worth it! We have a short tour by the modern Potsdamer Platz, with a glance in the beautiful courtyard of the Sony Center. Nearby, the Mall of Berlin we indulge in some shopping. To end this afternoon, we walk to the Christmas market of the Gendarmenmarkt, one of the most beautiful squares of Berlin. In the evening, we stroll the aisles of the Christmas Market at City Hall.

We start our day with the Berlin Wall Memorial. The tour begins in the corridors of the Nordbahnhof metro station where the history of the ghost stations is explained, those which were crossed by East-West lines but in which the metros stopped no more.

Portions of the wall and an open-air exhibit along the Bernauer Strasse show the division of Berlin between 1961 and 1989 and how border posts were managed to prevent people from going from one side to the other. What shocked us was the ingenuity of the leaders of the time to stop people from crossing the border. In the middle of the lawn, a stele takes again the name and the photographs of the victims who tried to cross the wall.

After this visit, we take the direction of Alexanderplatz whose Television Tower is remarkable from any place in the city. We eat there not far from there succulent burritos in a small trendy restaurant. To digest, we go for a walk at the Alexanderplatz Christmas Market and a little window shopping at the Alexa shopping center.

After that, we take a public bus to stop at Berliner Dom, the Berlin Cathedral, located on Museum Island. At that moment, the setting sun illuminated the building with all its rays, giving it all its beauty! Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, is also home to the most important national museums (Pergamon, Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie). It is especially a beautiful walk in the middle of architectural wonders.

Since buses pass through the main attractions of the city, we decide to take this means of transport that continues its way on the avenue Unter Den Linden. We stop at the Brandenburg Gate and admire the sunset and the lighting on the door at dusk. It was a superb memory! To end our day, we used to go for a stroll at a Christmas market. That evening, we go to the outskirts of Berlin at Spandau Christmas Market. Renowned as one of the greatest in the city, there was a warm spirit.

For our last day in Berlin, we start with a visit to the Jewish Museum. We keep a mixed memory of this visit. Some parts of the museum are much more interesting than others.

We continue on foot to Checkpoint Charlie which is one of the best-known frontier posts during the Cold War era. This marked the territorial division between West and East and the political division between capitalism and communism. It is here that we find the emblematic sign that indicates in part "YOU ARE NOW LEAVING THE AMERICAN SECTOR". It is a highly symbolic place to visit even if we have a little regretted the circus of extras to bait the tourists.

The museum of the topography of terror is located in what was the headquarters of the Gestapo and the secret police. Inside, the exhibition traces the history of what was the seat of persecution and extermination by the National Socialist regime. A stay in Berlin cannot be done without trying a currywurst.

We end our 4-day stay in Berlin with a walk along the Unter Den Linden Avenue. Here we stop on the way to admire the university buildings and enter a shop of "Ampelmann", emblematic figure of Berlin traffic lights. We then take a bus to the Tiergarten, the largest park in the city. In the middle of it stands the Victory Column. The bus finally takes us to Zoologischer Garten from where we return to the hotel to pick up our luggage before heading to the airport.

We leave Berlin with a bit of nostalgia. We continue towards Leipzig, the economic capital of Saxony, a small and small town that, even on a historical level, closes the circle of this beautiful journey. From here we move to the favorite city of Adolf Hitler and that was totally destroyed by the Allied forces of Nuremberg. We arrive at Nuremberg through its Hauptbahnhof central station.

We start with the points of interest to visit in Nuremberg. The perfect wall with 80 towers surprises us. It is practically a reproduction of the original, but it is more pleasant to think that it is 1325 and that a beautiful medieval city awaits us inside. Although the medieval town has rather little, as during World War II was destroyed almost 90%, so all the places we walk are reconstructions following the original plans.

But still! How beautiful and medieval that is everything! The first time we crossed the wall we did it by La Puerta del Rey, right there is a very nice area, which is something like a small nucleus with small craft shops, it is known as the Handwerkerhof.

We go through the center with houses with the typical German facade and we get to Lorenzer Platz, with the Church and a very lively pedestrian area. Here near there is one of the subway mouths of the U1 line. The other metro stop of this same line (they are the only ones in the historic center) is very beautiful, in a Torreón.

The walled city is divided into two parts thanks to the Pegnitz River. Thanks to this, we have a few bridges, with postcard images, such as the Hospital del Espíritu Santo or Weinstadel. Crossing one of the bridges of the Pegnitz River, we arrive at the Church of Our Lady of the 14th century and ordered built by Carlos IV. It has such a beautiful and original exterior that makes it very special. The whole square was a huge market with red and white awnings, here at Christmas is also celebrated the famous Christmas market.

In this same square is also the Schöner Brunnen fountain or something like the wonders. It is said that if you give three turns to the golden ring of the door a wish will be fulfilled and truth or lie there was even a line to do it! The truth is that it has a rather small source. It looks like a church tower or something like that, but it's pretty. Church of Our Lady, one of the places that we liked the most. Already at this moment, we are really enjoying the visit. We see that it has been a good choice to have stopped to meet her.

The Church of San Sebaldo and the Town Hall are also nearby. The Church of St. Elizabeth is also beautiful. All the surrounding streets have charm, such as Weissgerbergasse. In addition, there are booths where they sell my favorite sausages! the Nuremberg sausages, or good with its German name! Where else they were going to sell? Well, it is true that today they are even in the Lidl, but those here were very rich. In Nuremberg, do not forget to go up to the Imperial Castle, for the views and for the building itself. You will be watching it during the entire walk through the center. We only visited the courtyards and the viewpoints, we did not go inside.

Very close to the Castle is the house of Albrecht Dürer, today a museum, Renaissance painter and for me one of the most beautiful facades in the center.Bordering the wall is another of the walks we did, so in one of the areas, we find booths and small gardens!

There are several museums around the city. We are not much of museums but there was one that I did not want to miss. I got us to the Toy Museum! It was very funny and original. Did you know that Nuremberg is considered the city of toys? We cannot leave the entry without mentioning the role played by Nuremberg in World War II, like it or not, the city was chosen by Adolf Hitler as the seat of his Nazi congresses and was used in much party propaganda. Specifically, in the Zeppelin Field that can be visited today, military parades were held annually. And just this center was one of the few areas that were not damaged during the bombings.

The city was one of the most destroyed during the IIGM, so what we visit today is a modern city with a "vintage-medieval" air. If I know, it is a description that I have invented but when everything was reconstructed I would not know very well how to call it. Still, it's worth it. It's getting late and we should go home. We first went to a supermarket to buy dinner and returned to the campsite. Tomorrow we will return to Dresden.

We left around 11 in the morning towards the castle of Moritzburg, a beautiful Renaissance palace. The ocher and white are the colors that dominate the facade. It is also under construction. It has beautiful gardens in which it is a delight to walk. We do not entertain ourselves too much since we want to go back to Dresden.

Dresden is called the "Florence of the North" or the "Florence of the Elbe". It was a cultural center of the first instance that was reflected in some magnificent buildings. However, in 1945 it was bombed in such a way that 75% of the city was destroyed, causing numerous victims. The air attack on Dresden remains one of the most controversial episodes of the Second World War. The reconstruction has been difficult but they have achieved it in a spectacular way.

The first thing we see when leaving the parking lot is a huge mosaic 102 meters long. It is decorated with Meissen porcelain tiles that represent a procession of the Saxon princes on horseback. This monumental mosaic already gives us an idea of ​​what the city can be.

We were surprised by its churches, theaters, palaces, museums and the life of the city. After the war and the partition of Germany, Dresden was part of the former GDR, but nothing is left of that stage. Only a mural reminds us of the Soviet control of the city.

We left the city happy because we liked it a lot, we bought the magnet and went back to the campsite. After dinner and some handy letters, we go to sleep.

After breakfast we head towards Quedlinburg, a city declared a World Heritage Site. Small, flirty, with many half-timbered houses from the 15th to the 18th centuries, it is truly a captivating city. In the square, completely closed is the beautiful Renaissance town hall.

We arrived at the Schlossberg one of the most important convents in Germany, an authentic walled city. The convent, founded by Otto I, was reserved for the daughters of the high nobility, and the abbesses had to be of imperial blood. We do not entertain ourselves too much, we see the Romanesque basilica and we return lightly to the lower city.

We are looking for a place to eat, of course, in an Italian restaurant and, with a view of the beautiful square, we see the comings and goings of the people while we wait for the pizzas to be served.

We return to the car to head towards Wernigerode, a city that preserves many historic buildings and narrow streets. In the square, decorated by a fountain, is one of the most beautiful half-timbered buildings in Germany, the Town Hall.

Around the village, Goethe set the stage for Walpurgis de Fausto's night and was also the setting for the Hänsel and Gretel story. For these reasons, it is easy to meet some witch on his way to Mount Brocken, his meeting place, at the foot of which is the city.

Strolling through its narrow streets we reach the smallest house in the city, only 3 m high. The town is small and needs little time to see it. We say goodbye to the witches and we go to the car park to pick up the car and head towards Magdeburg.

We arrived at the city at a bad hour. We parked right in front of the cathedral and, without losing time, we go straight to there. When we try to get through the door they close it in our noses. They just closed. We were interested in seeing this cathedral since it is the first cathedral of French Gothic style on German land. In short, not everything has to go well.

It starts to get dark and we head towards home, towards the campsite. Today we have done almost 450 km but we are satisfied because we have taken advantage of it very well and, although we did not like Magdeburg too much, Quedlinburg and Wernigerode have far exceeded our expectations. After dinner, to sleep and dream about these little story villages.

It starts to dawn. We found a championship queue on the highway. Near Dresden it is even more difficult to take almost an hour to make a little more than 15 kilometers, so, as soon as we can, we get out of the traffic jam and continue on the road.

We arrive at Pirna, the gateway to Saxon Switzerland and, about 25 km from here, is the Festung Königstein an impregnable nest of eagles built at the beginning of the 13th century for the King of Bohemia and later transformed into a fortress. It was used as a refuge and also as a prison. From above there is a magnificent view, at least this is what is said. We did not go up due to bad weather.

We continue through a very green landscape to Bad Schandau, a small spa town, and Hohenstein. Here is a small fortress built in the 13th century, remodeled in 1445, which the Nazis later used as a concentration camp.

The day is frankly bad and cold. We returned to the campsite before going through the Eckberg castle, which houses a luxury hotel. We arrived at the campsite and sleep soon. Also, tomorrow we have to return home tomorrow and we have to rest.

After breakfast, we started to pick up things with a bit of grief since we had become accustomed to the austerity, silence, and loneliness of the camping. We hooked and again we are on the road. We find many retentions that make us waste a lot of time. Meanwhile, we are observing the cars around us and we see that there are still many legendary cars from the former GDR, such as the Wartburg and the Trabant.

The mythical "trabi" was a modest car whose body was made from a mixture of cotton, resin, and sawdust. It was the most common vehicle in the German Democratic Republic as it was one of the few car models that East Germans had access to because it was the cheapest. Still, to aspire to this basic car, had to sign up on a list and wait for 10 years (or go to the black market) to qualify for it.

Slower than we can quickly get to Hemsbach, near Heidelberg. The campsite is called "Hemsbacher Wiesensee. The plots are small and the hot shower has to be paid, but after everything we have found, we can say that it is not bad. It has been a day purely kilometers, to be exact 466, so, after dinner and we are going to rest, that tomorrow touches another tute.

We left the campsite late, around 11 in the morning. We make bets to see where we will arrive. About 1 noon we crossed the border into France. We continue a couple of more hours and stop to eat something fast. Today, if possible, we will stay overnight at some hotel on the highway so as not to waste time and get as far as possible.

After driving more than 700 km we decided that it is time to stop and, in the first hotel we found on the highway, we looked for a room. The hotel is not worth anything for the price. The dinner has been fine. At the end of dinner, we go directly to the hotel. We have slept fatally.

After traveling more than 5,000 km we have returned enchanted. The Germany that we knew, many years ago, has nothing to do with the Germany that we have met. The people, in general, are friendly and sociable, very different from the trip we did years ago. We have seen charming villages, little touristic places of great beauty and monumental cities.

It was a deliberate choice on our part to leave at this time of the year to alternate visits and the atmosphere of the Christmas markets. We did not regret this choice. The reputation of the German Christmas markets was up, making a lighter atmosphere after our cultural or historical visits. There is a choice of good value hotels. It is easy to get around by public transport. Many tours are free and there are plenty of places to eat on the go.

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