A Travellerspoint blog

September 2008

Countries that border Germany

All this planning is not that fun. I want to see so much of Europe on my 3 month stay in Germany that I am confusing myself. In order to narrow things down a bit, I searched out the bordering countries of Germany and will go from there.

The countries are: Poland, The Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, France . Out of these nine countries, my real interests lie in Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands and France.

The interesting thing is that Strasbourg, France is about about 100 miles west of Stuttgart which is fantastic for my purposes. One of my collegues lived in Kiel for this exchange and he said on occasion, he would just walk to Strasbourg because it apprx 1 km from his home! Nice huh? In my case, Strasbourgh is a bit further but from my readings, there are direct trains which take about 75 minutes from departure to arrival with one stop in between. Not too shabby. That means that I can for sure leave a Friday night, spend the night in a hostel, explore Strasbourg for one and half days and get back into Germany at a decent time Sunday to get enough rest for Monday morning. Strasbourg is on my list for sure! I will not limit my France trips to Strasbourgh only as the new TGV high speed train takes a bit under 4 hours from Stuttgart to Paris! Fantastic. Looks like another wonderful weekend jaunt in the making.
fran2881_small.jpg Just look how interesting this place looks.

I don't really know what draws me to Austria but something is. I based my whole TT tour decision on it's visit to this country. I think my interest peaks because it looks so beautifully stunning in photo's. The landscape looks so green, vibrant, rich and gorgeous. I really dig surroundings of people, places and things, so I know that my visits will take me to this stunning country. Taking the TGV will take a bit over 2 hours to get to Innsbruck. Or, I can fly for that same transit time. It will be all about price at that point more than anything else. Another weekend jaunt in the pipelines. Spending a full day and a half touring, walking, picture taking and indulging in Austrian cuisine will be in the plans.

I have never really considered Luzembourg, maybe because of it's puny size in comparison to the rest of it's neighboring EU counterparts, but they, I just might go look see. Another reason for me skipping this country is because even though it is bordering Germany, the train ride is about 5 hours in total-1 way! And the price seems to be high lso. I might change my mind but I think there are a lot of other great opinions for me instead of focusing here.

Oh, Switzerland. How you appeal to me with your white capped mountains, gorgeous cities, crisp, clean lakes, and adventures to be had. I will visit you for sure. I am thinking Zurich as it is closest in distance from my home and it could do as a weekend thing. Using the TGV again, the trip is just under 3 hours which is a blessin. I will only be picking hostels that have 24hr check-in's anyway, so getting in late should be no problemo. I will either do the Swiss on a weekend (long weekend if I can fit it in with some German holiday) or I will leave this destination until my sister visits as we will be visiting some countries together and I think this breathtaking country would be ideal for us.

The Netherlands draws me in because of it's canals, tulips, and Anne Frank's house. I am sure I can easily squeeze in all I need to see of Amsterdam in one day. The Royal palace and a canal cruise are especially calling my name. And of course, I will need to down a few Heineken's...just to ensure they taste up to par. :) Due to the distance, this will have to wait until my sister visits. No weekend cavalcading here.

Denmark; I don't know about this one. There is nothing too enticing about this country either, for me. The canal tours, Amalienborg Palace, botanical gardens and skyline views are the only things that draw me to Denmark. I have to admit that I would only visit this country if it ended up somehow in my path of travel or it was really cheap and quick to get there. A few of my friends have been there and they have nothing must to say about it so..... I trust their judgement.

From the above alone I have about 1 month of weekend travel bookmarked. I still want to visit a great deal of Germany and throw in some other countries on my vacation. I have a feeling my 3 month stint will not be very relaxing in the least. Good!

Posted by CanaGerm 04:18 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Spa's are huge in Germany

-17 °C

I, for one, can't wait to get a deep muscle message while in Stuttgart as Germany is big for it's minenal baths and spa's however, it seems that timidity is not allowed. Why, you ask? Well, maybe it is because modesty is not part of the whole mineral bath/spa experience. It seems that all of the spa's have a no clothing policy! I was floored when I read this. I am a pretty conservative person so being disrobed in front of a large group of people is not my cup of tea. Even though I know that no one will be paying attention to me, it is still a weird concept. Thank goodness I have a bit over 7 months to pych myself up because I really don't want to miss out on any experiences.

Posted by CanaGerm 13:26 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Found an english language cinema

Thank goodness because I was getting a bit nervous on how I would spend my week nights while in Stuttgart. Apparently things close pretty early in Germany (oh mon dieu!) and that would be a bit of a problem for me as I am not big on being bored. I am very used to going all the time but the three months away will be a reprieve of sorts from my everyday responsibilities here in Canada. However, at least I can fill some of my boredom with movie watching. The Corso Theatre is in Vaihingen (some part of Stuttgart) will be good for my soul. From what I can tell, the english language movies seem to be a few months behind schedule but at least I won't go batty in my flat alone some nights.

Posted by CanaGerm 13:15 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

What to eat while in Stuttgart

I started doing a lot of research today on my German stay and came upon some really fun things to do. I will list them off later. However, I also came across some of Stuttgarts culinary treats and thought I would share with you.

Stuttgarter Beer - I am so not surprised by this as Germany is known for it's excellent beer. I am not a big fan of the stuff but I will be throwing some back while there. As they say, when in Rome.

Gaisburger Marsch - This is apparently Stuttgart's "national dish", which is a stew made of Spätzle, pieces of potatoes, pieces of beef, vegetables, meat broth and roasted onions. Sounds very delicious. I mean meat, veggies and carbs. Hello! Sounds like a treat to me. I think I might have this my first night there.

Laugenbrezeln - This is a German spin on the pretzel. Although not a big fan of salty baked good, I will attempt to give it a whirl.

Maultauschen - This looks like a ravioli to me. They are pockets made of noodle dough which contain a filling made of bratwurst, hamburger meat, spinach, eggs, onions, parsley and spices, they are cooked "in the broth" or cut small and baked with eggs, served with potato salad.

Swabian roast - Roasted slices of beef with many roasted onions, usually served with sauerkraut, Maultaschen or Spätzle. Ya, I don't know about all this onion and sauerkraut talk. I might have to pass on this must have.

Spätzle - A "staple" for the Swabians, the dough consists of flour, eggs, water and salt and is scraped with a Spätzle scraper (special knife) from the Spätzle board into boiling salted water so that noodle-like forms result. This sounds really good. I love anything pasta or pasta-like.

Onion cake - Enough said. Hellz to the nah. I HATE chunks of onions. Ew!

Stuttgart Wine - Are you serious? Me + wine = very wide smiles. I hope to enjoy many glasses of this and other local specialities there and bring some back for my peeps! I read that Stuttgart has some beautiful wineries that make excellent vintages and give tours and have fasinating museums to boot.

My boss and co-workers were also raving about the cold meats and dairy products in Germany. For whatever reason, they say these things are especially wonderful in this part of Europe. I will for sure partake as I love me some yogurt.

I wanted to blog about this topic because to me, one of the most important elements of travel is the food and tasting local fare. I plan on really enjoying this element of my three month jaunt into Niemcy and other parts of Europa. Even though German main diet seems to be rooted in meats and I am not the worlds biggest meat eater, I think taking the time sampling a little Laugenbrezeln and some sausages are in order.

As a challenge to myself, I will refer back to this post while away and take a picture of each of these local dishes and drink. I hope one of them is not of me face down in some field passed out with empty stouts surrounding my drunk infused body. I love a good challenge!

Posted by CanaGerm 14:03 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

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