Each time before I go to Germany, I lack enthusiasm. I don’t know why. This feeling has no conscious basis. But each time I do go to Germany, I realise how silly I have been. Perhaps I subconsciously think that Germany and Germans can be cold and unwelcoming. This could not be farther than the truth. I have been to this country a number of times, during different periods of my life and each time I have been impressed by its charming beauty and convenience. Often German cities and towns merge modernity with history, elegance with innovation. If you are looking for a buzzing lifestyle and excitement, places like Berlin, Dusseldorf, Koln and even perhaps Frankfurt (despite being probably the least pleasant, most concrete-heavy German city) are definitely for you. Berlin with its delicate history is fascinating. Even though Frankfurt is the financial life-blood of Germany, Berlin is definitely its pumping heart. Here streets are busy, restaurants, clubs, cafes and bars are varied, the world-famous zoo hosts the very reputed polar bear Knot and museums are fascinating (even though ones like the Pergamon Museum is home to stolen temples and artefacts from my country) where you can see the bust of famous Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. When I was in Berlin in late 1990s, the differences between East and West Berlin were still noticeable. Even though the Berlin Wall had been completely demolished, the effects of East Berlin times were still palpable on certain decaying buildings and streets. Then, there are other cities, which are not perhaps on top of everyone’s list of German towns to visit like Heidelberg, Baden-Baden and Bonn. However, especially Baden-Baden is worth the trip. Apart from its famous thermal waters and spas, the houses in Baden-Baden give you a clear glimpse of the German taste for life. Bonn, a short train ride away from Dusseldorf, is also lovely with its square and human size Beethoven bust statue. If you are the quiet type, then Germany offers you plenty of pretty and scarily silent villages like Buhl, which is near Baden-Baden. Life and even movement seem still in this place. Yet, it is still full of possibilities. It is near the mountains where you can ski, close to Baden-Baden where you can go to a spa, short drive away from the magnificent Black Forest and only across the border from the beautiful French city of Strasbourg.
What I have been most impressed by in Germany have been the Rheine and the food. A boat trip on the Rheine River gives you a fantastic glimpse of the dark green and deep forest land and the splendid castles tipped along the river.
As for the food…Germans are experts in their mouth-watering cakes of all kinds. And your main meal is not limited to schnitzel and sausage. I have always left Germany with satisfied taste buds and a happy tummy.