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> Germany Insider Tips from a Local Expert, Everything you want to know about Germany
whereshegoes
post Jun 6 2007, 08:10 PM
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TravelPod Local Expert Kristy Campau currently resides in Stuttgart and has lived there since 2004.

sorcerer.png Kristy says:

1. Bring Cash. Credit cards are not widely accepted in Germany. You
can use an ATM here to get cash, but make sure you have cash when
dining out, shopping, or traveling around.

2. Stores are closed on Sundays. Throughout Germany a majority of
stores are closed on Sundays. Restaurants are still open and bakeries
are open in the morning, but any other store will be closed on Sunday.
Some museums will close on Mondays, though many of the major tourist
attractions will stay open.

3. When dining out close your menu to indicate that you are ready to
order. After you are finished with your meal you must indicate to
your waiter with a wave that you are ready to pay. The waiter will
come and add up your bill and you pay him directly. Germans tend to
round their bill up to the nearest Euro or add a 10% tip. Give the
waiter your money and tell him how much you are paying him with tip
and he will give you your change. You shouldn't leave the money on
the table.

4. Train travel is not always the most convenient or cheapest.
Though traveling by train is an excellent way to get around in
Germany, taking one of the low cost airlines is sometimes cheaper and
often faster.

5. Get involved in the local scene. Go to a soccer match with the
locals (with a 10 month season, there is always a game), visit a
festival (wine, beer, or Christmas fests are a ton of fun), or visit a
smaller, lesser-known castle that will be filled with school groups or
German tourists. Enjoy!

Post all questions to Kristy here.


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Michael Cullis
post Jun 7 2007, 06:01 PM
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Dear Kristy,

My wife and I plan to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary by travelling by rail from Frankfurt to Venice via Austria (see proposed itinerary below). I had planned to go in October/November but I'm a bit concerned about the weather. March/April was my second choice but I'm not sure about that. In 1999 we drove through Italy, Switzerland and France in May and June and the weather was great. What are the best non-high season months to travel through Germany? I assume your answer would also apply to Austria.

Frankfurt-Heidelburg-Rothenburg-Weimar-Berlin-Leipzig-Bamburg-Munich-Berchtesgarden-Salzburg-Linz-Vienna-Venice
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kacampau
post Jun 11 2007, 02:32 PM
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Hi all! jump.gif

I just want to introduce myself real quick!

It is very exciting to be the Local Expert in the TravelPod community. I never expected to travel to Germany, or to end up living here. I have my soon-to-be German husband to thank.

I love it here, my family has visited and loved it here and I hope you all have an excellent experience in your travels to or through Germany.

Let me know how I can be of help!


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kacampau
post Jun 11 2007, 03:03 PM
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QUOTE(alexkorn @ Jun 7 2007, 06:05 AM) *

Dear Kristy,

Please, answer the following:

1) What sights would you recommend in Stuttgart?
2) What other German cities/villages are worth seeing, to your opinion?
3) Do you agree with the point of view that Germans are skinflints or at least they tend to economize?
4) Is it ok to travel through Germany not knowing a word in German?
5) What can you say about night-life in Germany (clubs, etc.)?
6) Who are more polite and friendly: old people or the younger generation?
7) Is it a “sport-orientated” and “healthy life-style-orientated” nationality?
8) And finally: What’s your personal attitude to the ongoing G8 summit protest?

P.S.: Thanks for the above info! thumbsup.png


Great questions!

1) The new Mercedes Benz Museum is top notch, but my favorite site in Stuttgart is the Pater Noster elevator in the Rathaus. It moves constantly on a loop with no doors, you hop in and hop out. Otherwise, the Stuttgart Volksfest is great!
2) Munich is beautiful and could be considered one-stop Germany. You have everything, the palaces, the beer, the churches, the typical German dress, etc. Berlin is also worth the time because of all the changes that are still taking place, it is very dynamic.
3) I live in the south of Germany, it is a typical stereotype of the people here. I have met many thrifty Germans and a few that lie to get things for free or cheaper.
4) Yes! But a few words are helpful.
5) Techno-Techno-Techno-something else-Techno
6) Hmmm, I've found the younger generation to be more friendly and also very polite.
7) Yes! On May 1st the German's have their form of "Worker's Day", or "Labor Day" and it is typical for everyone to be out on their bikes or hiking. Also have you seen the walking poles that look like cross-country ski poles? Tons of people have them and use them here.
8) I think it is awful that so many people got hurt.

Will you be coming here soon?


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kacampau
post Jun 11 2007, 03:15 PM
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QUOTE(Michael Cullis @ Jun 7 2007, 06:01 PM) *

Dear Kristy,

My wife and I plan to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary by travelling by rail from Frankfurt to Venice via Austria (see proposed itinerary below). I had planned to go in October/November but I'm a bit concerned about the weather. March/April was my second choice but I'm not sure about that. In 1999 we drove through Italy, Switzerland and France in May and June and the weather was great. What are the best non-high season months to travel through Germany? I assume your answer would also apply to Austria.

Frankfurt-Heidelburg-Rothenburg-Weimar-Berlin-Leipzig-Bamburg-Munich-Berchtesgarden-Salzburg-Linz-Vienna-Venice


October is still nice. You are going to have to pack for changing weather conditions with some warm, some cool, and some potential rain. In November the days start getting shorter and the nights longer. Germany is on the same latitude as northern US and Canada. Last year as soon as the kids where back in school in September the weather was warm and sunny for about 3 weeks after it rained almost non-stop in August. If you can plan your trip for the end of September and October you should have good weather. Try to stay out of November if possible. The later you go the more chances of cold weather.


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kacampau
post Jun 13 2007, 12:09 PM
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QUOTE(alexkorn @ Jun 13 2007, 07:46 AM) *

Kristy, thank you very-very-very much for the answers! They are really useful for me! biggrin.gif

I have planned to travel to Germany for some months now. The point is that a friend of mine lives near the Lake of Constance and I’d like to visit him some day, and moreover I’ve never been to Germany and would like (once I get there) to see as many interesting places as possible. But I’ll be able to come to Germany at the end of the summer at best, and it well may be that even later. So, all I can do now is collecting some information that will help me to choose the right itinerary and pastime…

One more question: I heard that trains are often delayed in Germany. Can you say it’s true?


I haven't traveled too much with inter-city trains, but when I pick people up I see some 10 minute delays. I don't think the delays are usually too bad, but I have heard of people missing connections, usually late at night.

S-Bahns and U-Bahns are usually right on time, or there is another is 5-10 minutes anyway.

Lake Constance (Bodensee) is beautiful! If you are a runner there is a marathon that goes through Germany, Austria and Switzerland and starts at Lindau on October 7th. It is called the DreiLaender. http://www.3-laender-marathon.at/


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islandzman
post Jun 15 2007, 09:46 AM
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Kristy, thank you so much for all the insightful information that we all find so valuable even if most of us don't admit it.
Question: I'm an American Soldier in Iraq, been here for the better part of 4 years whos planning on traveling to Munich Sep 29-Oct 8 to party and observe Octoberfest.(for the first time) Infact i already have Hotel and Airfare confirmed.
I am a bit nervous about being in a strange City all by myself in an unfamiliar environment where i basically know no one.
I'm cool, easygoing, Black, not your typical African American Male, since i grew up in the Caribbean.. is there something i should be alarmed about on this trip?.. Please throw any valuable advice at me. thank you
islandzman@netzero.com
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kacampau
post Jun 18 2007, 03:32 PM
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QUOTE(islandzman @ Jun 15 2007, 09:46 AM) *

is there something i should be alarmed about on this trip?..


I wouldn't worry about a thing. You will probably find yourself right at home in the middle of Oktoberfest with all of the English speaking tourists and you will probably also meet some other American soldiers that are stationed in Germany.

Since you are there for a whole week you could also check out the Nymphenburg Castle, or take a bus down to Neuschwanstein (that castle that is on the cover of tons of German travel books), or try to visit each brewery in the area.

There are also "Mike's Bikes" Tours in Munich that I hear are a lot of fun.

http://www.mikesbiketours.com/index_munich.html

Stay safe and bring warm clothing!


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islandzman
post Jun 19 2007, 02:34 AM
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Thanks for the Re-assurance. I am just trying to have a good time. Thanks for your contribution.




QUOTE(kacampau @ Jun 18 2007, 03:32 PM) *

QUOTE(islandzman @ Jun 15 2007, 09:46 AM) *

is there something i should be alarmed about on this trip?..


I wouldn't worry about a thing. You will probably find yourself right at home in the middle of Oktoberfest with all of the English speaking tourists and you will probably also meet some other American soldiers that are stationed in Germany.

Since you are there for a whole week you could also check out the Nymphenburg Castle, or take a bus down to Neuschwanstein (that castle that is on the cover of tons of German travel books), or try to visit each brewery in the area.

There are also "Mike's Bikes" Tours in Munich that I hear are a lot of fun.

http://www.mikesbiketours.com/index_munich.html

Stay safe and bring warm clothing!
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kacampau
post Jul 17 2007, 12:32 PM
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Going to festivals is a great way to tour Germany. Here are there big ones to check out.

http://www.oktoberfest.de/

http://www.loveparade.com/

http://www.stadt-koeln.de/en/koelntourismu...eval/index.html


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kacampau
post Aug 3 2007, 03:23 PM
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You can check out hostelworld.com. I've booked with them with some good results. There are quite a few hostels and hotels in Berlin and there are also a lot of apartments for rent.

I just did a search on the website and there are tons of listings, and a lot are around $20 a night. Not a bad deal for a large city like Berlin.


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restaurant
post Aug 14 2007, 01:23 PM
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QUOTE(cheaptraveller @ Jul 22 2007, 05:36 AM) *

Cheap Hotels Berlin, Germany
I am dying at the moment to organize more trips to Berlin, Prague and Budapest. So far I have not had the time to find a really cheap flight or cheap hotels in any of these cities. Time is really my enemy at the moment. Perhaps any recommendations for accommodation in Berlin?



Try www.hrs.de ... nice way to book hotels in Germany and beyond. By the way; Berlin really sucks
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restaurant
post Aug 14 2007, 01:31 PM
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QUOTE(kacampau @ Jul 17 2007, 12:32 PM) *

Going to festivals is a great way to tour Germany. Here are there big ones to check out.

http://www.oktoberfest.de/

http://www.loveparade.com/

http://www.stadt-koeln.de/en/koelntourismu...eval/index.html



also try

http://www.reeperbahnfestival.com/
http://www.schlagermove.de/
http://www.hafengeburtstag.de/Content_en/start_e.htm
http://www.alstervergnuegen.net/

www.hamburg.de


I love this city
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kacampau
post Aug 14 2007, 03:35 PM
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I understand the Fishmarket in Hamburg is not to be missed. You have to get up really early, or stay up really late to see it, and check your guide book because it is not everyday.


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wakingdream
post Oct 25 2007, 08:42 AM
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Schlagermove festival looks fun! So does everything else!

Wow! Kirsty, you're really getting some great information in here! Keep up the good work. This is a thread that is becoming more and more valuable for travelers every day. I know I definitely try to get insider info before cracking open any guidebook.

Thank-You! smile.gif


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kacampau
post Nov 7 2007, 03:24 AM
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It is November and the German Christmas Market Season is about to begin! Many cities and towns will have a decorated market with beautiful stands filled with lights, pine, and Christmas scenes. You can buy souvieners, knick-knacks, ornaments, small household goods, etc. There is also a ton of great food, German hot spiced wine called Gluehwein (sounds like Glue Vine), and sometimes a skating rink.

Christmas markets usually begin around the last week of November and last until December 23rd or 24th.

Yumm, Gleuhwein....


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monthathip
post Feb 5 2008, 04:43 AM
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my friend has plan to visit Munich,Germany and thinking about taking train from Frankfurt, but there are many kind of trains, please recommend., the cheapest price to go
there are German Pass/bayern Pass/ Regular railway/ICE
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kacampau
post Feb 10 2008, 04:13 PM
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There are a lot of options. First of all, check to make sure that an airline isn't the best way to go. Many times they are cheaper then the rail. Ryan Air, German Wings and HLK are all options.

The ICE train would be the fastest and is the main inter-city train, anything else is going to take a long time. You can check prices at www.db.de

If you are going to go by local rail, you can get to Munich, but it is going to take you a long time and may be just as expensive. Many of the Bundesländer have a special train pass that you can buy for use within that state. To get from Frankfurt to Munich you will have to buy one for Hessen (Frankfurt) another for Baden-Wurrtemberg, and then for Bayern. The one for Bayern is 19 Euros for a single person. Unless you are planning on taking your time and making a few stops it isn't really worth it.

The best secret is to book ahead of time and travel on off times. Try the weekdays during non-commute hours.


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monthathip
post Feb 25 2008, 06:22 AM
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thank you so for your information.. but my friend wants to go by train, because during that time the scenery is beautiful than travelling by air.. however, if my friend buy bayern train, is it still expensive.?? the time spending is about 2 days and go to see castle ( the famous one i forgot the name)
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chattykay
post Jun 22 2008, 02:00 PM
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We are a group of 6 seniors that will be coming to Germany following a Scandanavian cruise in the beginning of September. We are flying from Copenhagen to Frankfurt and will be staying a total of 4 nights. We fly home from Frankfurt. We thought we would go to Heidelberg and stay there for the 4 nights and just go on day trips but the hotels are either mostly booked or well over $200 a night. We want to see at least one castle and maybe take a trip along the river.
Here are a couple of questions, if you can help.

1. Where would you recommend we stay reasonably priced as our hub?
2. What would you recommend we do in the 3 full days that we will have to tour?
3. What will be the best transportation to get to and from airport (therre are 6 of us with our luggage)?
4. Should we have local currency? If so, where would you recommend exchanging monies?

Thanks for any and all help.

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