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Germany is a vast, diverse country – more so since west and east were reunited in 1990. Although the upheaval of those days is long past, to visit Germany today is still a journey into a new nation forging itself a fresh identity. So, when you’re planning an itinerary make sure you look east. Berlin, once a symbol of the Cold War and a place synonymous with the Wall and espionage, is Germany’s new capital. It’s buzzing with energy and creative flair. Make time for other emerging dynamic cities, including Leipzig and Dresden. Southern Germany remains deservedly popular with visitors, with lively Munich and its famous beer cellars. Beyond the city lies the legendary Black Forest and perhaps the most perfect fairytale castle of them all – King Ludwig’s amazing Neuschwanstein. People have been taking to the rivers to travel through Germany for thousands of years so why not follow in their wakes but in a lot more comfort? A cruise on the Rhine, Mosel or Elbe rivers will take you past ruined castles and vineyard-clad hills. While cities such as Cologne combine the ancient with all the trappings of 21st century life, towns such as Rothenburg are stunning reminders of medieval times. Whatever the destination, you’ll soon discover that although Germans do take work seriously and live in the fast lane of their autobahns, they also play hard and know how to relax. Find out during a meal in a traditional Ratskeller or while sipping a fine Riesling beside the Rhine.
In Germany all roads lead to Frankfurt: it is where the major autobahn’s and railways connect as well as being home to the second largest airport in Europe, so it is the perfect place to start or end any Central European excursion.
Visitors tend to gloss over Frankfurt not realising that it is home to some of Europe’s finest museums, many of which are clustered around the banks of the Main. If you have a particular interest it’s highly probable Frankfurt has a museum for you: architecture, film, communication, art, cultures, nature and even leather - they can all be found here. In fact, the whole city is one big living museum!
Römer – The historic heart of Frankfurt and home to its City Hall, which dates back to 1405. Today you can find lots of restaurants in the Square and the lovely reconstructed buildings make for a great photo opportunity.
Zeil Shopping Street – This is the place to shop in Frankfurt. It’s a bustling pedestrian zone where you can find everything from chic boutiques to high street fashion outlets.
Museumsufer (Museum Embankment) – If you walk along the River Main you’ll notice that lined up on both sides of the river bank are some of the best museums in Germany: among them the superb German Film Museum, the Jewish Museum and the highlight, the Stadel Museum which focuses on the old masters.
Paulskirche (St. Paul’s Church) – It was built between 1789 and 1833, and is the cradle of German democracy. The church was used for political meetings and became the seat of the first freely elected German parliament in 1848. You can find it just off the Romer.
The Alte Oper – Or “Old Opera House” was almost completely destroyed by World War II bombing in 1944 but was reconstructed, and reopened on August 28, 1981. It is now perhaps the prettiest building in Frankfurt.
Cider Taverns – The city’s local tipple is “Apfelwein”; a light alcoholic apple cider that is produced in the regions around Frankfurt. You can find some of the best and oldest Apfelwein taverns in the cobblestone streets of the Sachsenhausen district.
Weekly markets – The city is full of local markets, which take place at least once a week and where you can buy yummy German food, Apfelwein, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, cheese and dairy produce, flowers and many other products.
Country Name: Germany
Population: 82 Million
Time Zone: 11 hours behind New Zealand (except during daylight saving)
Electricity: Current is 220V, 50HZ Plug is a 2 point round-pin adaptor
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