Germany in 25 Photographs

Germany is the land where fairy tale meets reality.  Many of the fairy tales we read and watch today originate from the area that is today Germany, meaning that the country was the original landscape for the stories we learned as kids.  With its gingerbread like houses, dreamy castles, and mystical mountains, Many places in Germany today are still the Germany you knew from those books so long ago.

On the other hand, Germany has to be one of the more serious countries on the European continent.  This was apparent on the first day when it was the only country so far where everyone took crosswalk signs very seriously.  Even for small streets when absolutely no cars were present, the majority of people didn’t dare to Jaywalk.

IMG_0248.JPG

The country also has to deal with a rich national history tainted by the actions committed by the country during WWII.  To ensure such evil acts are never committed again in the country, Germany has very strict laws when it comes to neo-nazism.  It has also preserved many parts of this history in order to ensure that people are educated about these tragic events and avoid making the same mistake in the future.  Visiting these places, while difficult, is necessary

Our travels through the country led us to the southern half of the country, leaving us wanting more and a yearning to return and explore the other half.  Here are the 25 photographs depicting the Germany of our travels.  Enjoy!

Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurt is an unusual city in Europe for its rather large cluster of skyscrapers that are missing from most of Europe’s city skylines.  A powerful city since The Holy Roman Empire, it has become a major financial capital of Germany and the rest of Europe, taking on the nickname Mainhatten.

While not a very interesting city for tourists, many travelers will either fly into the city or traverse through the city at some point.  The city has a very business like feel to it, with even many of the hostels having their fair share of suited up fellows sitting down for breakfast in the morning before heading out to their meeting (on time).

The city also may not feel like the Germany you were expecting due to the fact that Germans are actually outnumbered in the city.  As of 2016, over 50% of the population has immigrant origins.  While the city doesn’t portray a traditional German town, the city has an interesting vibe with its sausage eateries mixed in with Doner Kabob shops and Chinese Hot Pot joints.

Like most German cities, Frankfurt has a sprawling Red Light District with feels like a more censored version of Amsterdam.  Many hostels are located in this area, so you might find yourself smack in the middle of it.  We stayed at 5 Elements Hostel Frankfurt, which had super clean rooms, a great bar, and the best breakfast of the trip so far.

Frankfurt
Our view of Mainhatten from our room in 5 Elements Hostel

Munich

Any one ask for a beer?  Home to Oktoberfest, the city swells once a year to celebrate all things Munich beer with glasses the size of your head filled with the stuff.  If you’re not around town during the festival there is no need to worry as beer is plenty and meaty treats are served all year round.

Stopping inside of one of Munich’s beer halls is a must, with their frothy beers and German sized portions of pork, duck, and beef.  Our favorite was Augustiner Braustuben.  Their pork Knuckle was juicy, savory, and crunchy (all things that make a good pork knuckle, and their high quality beers complimented the traditional interior of the hall nicely.

Outside of the drinking establishments, Munich offers some of Bavaria’s finest architecture and world class English Garten park that is enjoyable to spend time in, no matter what time of the year it is.  A few days strolling the streets while drinking beers as you rest your weary legs makes for a good trip to the city.  Learn more about our travels in Munich here.

Marien Platz
Neues Rathaus and Frauenkirche as seen from Munich main square Marien Platz. The square has served as the center of the city since the 1500s. In the top right corner is the animated clock tower that performs every day at noon.
Munich
Looking down at the old town of Munich from St. Peter’s church tower. The tower offers the best view of the city if you’re willing to make the climb all the way to the top. Munich has some excellent examples of Bavarian architecture.
Frauenkirche
Frauenkirche, which dominates over everything and for good reason. It is against the law to build anything taller than its nearly 100 meter tall domes within the city’s center.
Munich Residenz
Inside the most profound room of the Munich Residenz. The room is the finest example of Renaissance architecture in Munich,  although the artwork dates to a later period. Originally built to display the King’s collection of statues, it was later converted into a banquet hall where guest would watch the King eat his dinner from this balcony.
English Garten
No trip is complete in Munich without a trip to English Garten. It ha a Central Park vibe to it, offering visitors a tranquil oasis away from the city.
Munich Residenz
One of the more interesting collections found at the Munich Residenz is the Bavarian Royal family’s collection of religious relics. Bones, mummified babies, and articles of clothing worn by saints are all displayed in ornately decorated displays.
Theatine Chruch
Always remember that the best view might not be what’s in front of you… it might be right above your head. Theatine Church
Nymphenburg Palace
Nymphenburg Palace, on the outskirts of Munich, is where Bavarian royalty would go to escape from the main palace in central Munich. While no where near as impressive as Versailles, the grounds are good for a stroll. A visit inside is only necessary if you skipped the Munch Residenz for some odd reason.
Munich Surfimg
Surfs up in Munich! At the edge of English Garten, an artificial wave is created that surfers take advantage of all year round. It was just above freezing when we took this picture, yet about a dozen surfers were lined up waiting for their turn to carve out this swell. (my surfer lingo is terrible)
Theatine Church
Theatine Church’s interior is completely white, creating a unique and beautiful architectural dream. Spend a few moments to sit down an appreciate the craftsmanship that went into building this place.

Bamberg

Smoke, smoke, and more smoke.  Bamberg is known for the finest smoked beer in the world.  The city has been brewing the same stuff for hundreds of years as it is just too good to change.  Visitors who stop here will be welcomed with a beautiful Bavarian town with its iconic town hall built smack in the middle of the river.  Take some time to get off the main tourist path in order to enjoy the smaller things of Bavaria (and smoked beer!).  For more information on Bamberg, check out our post on why you should visit Bavaria.

Bamberg
Bamberg’s town hall is built directly in the river on a man made island. The Bishop refused to grant any land for the building of a town hall, so the towns people took matters into their own hands and built it where there was no land at all!
Bamberg
Bamberg boasts some fine examples of German half timbered houses
Bamberg
The murals on the sides of Bamberg’s town hall offer a warm welcome to visitors

Aschaffenburg

While not offering much to the common tourist, our reason for visiting this city was to find out more concerning my family history.  If you want to get away from all the tourists and have a little Bavarian town to yourself, this would be a good place to do it.

Aschaffenburg
Aschaffenburg’s cute little old town is easily walkable within an hour or two. Its a good place to see German life without all the tourism. You will most likely have the place to yourself!

Dachau

This unassuming quiet town looks of no significance, but a dark, evil scar exists on the edges of town. The Nazis choose this little town as the site for the first Concentration Camp that opened in 1933.  The camp is well preserved and an audio guide takes you through the camp compound and the unforgivable atrocities that were committed here.  By the end of the war, 32,000 deaths were documented to happen within the camp, with thousands more left undocumented.  A visit here will most certainly break you down no matter how many times you have learned the history here.  It is a tragedy that cannot be forgiven and must never happen again.

Dachau
The mocking slogan found on the doors of most concentration camps reads ‘Work Sets You Free’. Inmates entering the camp would pass through this door which led to the parade grounds in the center or camp, where prisoners would have to wait motionless, often for hours, at roll call every day no matter what the weather was. This is a replica of the gate that was stolen. The original gate was recovered in 2016 and is displayed in the museum found inside the camp.
Dachau
A guard tower watches over the outer edges of Dachau Concentration Camp memorial. Dachau is one of the most depressing places I have ever visited in my travels.  While it is hard to comprehend, it is important to visit in order to remember the victims and to not let the atrocities that happened here fade away into history to be forgotten.

Fussen

Ah, Fussen.  This fairy tale land stole our hearts and never gave them back.  We could visit this place another thousand times and it wouldn’t get old.  If there is any place in Germany we would return to, this would be it.  Very few places in the world boast a castle of Disney style dreams, majestic mountains, and small little alpine villages all in one place.  If magic does exist, it has to be found here.  For more information on Fussen, check out our post about Bavaria.

Fussen
Gazing out into the mountainscape that surrounds nearby Fussen. This was along our hike up to Mary’s Bridge in order to get a view of Neuschwenstein Castle. Instead of taking the direct route., take the small trail that intersects the main road up the hill in order to enjoy views like these.
Neuschwenstein Castle
Do castles get more dreamier than this? Perched on top of a cliff, this castle is where you would imagine those knights in shining armor to be saving Princesses from. The castle overlooks the valley with its nearby hills mirrored into the lake below. On the other side, the castle is offered commanding views of the Alps. Ludwig II got it all right here, but he didn’t get to enjoy it for long, due to his mysterious and tragic death.
Fussen
Mountain views never get old for me. This shot was taken from the top of the hill just across from Mary’s bridge. Be careful in the winter time as the trail is pretty icy around the cliffs.
Fussen
The main street of Fussen. This brightly colored alpine town gets flooded with tourists during the day. To enjoy Fussen at its finest, stay overnight so you can enjoy the town after all the day trippers leave.
Neuschwenstein Castle
Be sure to walk around the castle as different view points offer unique shots of the castle. Its hard to capture the beauty of this place all in one shot.
Fussen
“More mountains please” said Eric       “………..”  said Claire
Fussen
Fussen is home to some great examples of Bavarian architecture in an alpine setting
Neuschwenstein
The Castle that even inspired Mickey Mouse himself. Disney’s Cindarella Castle was inspired by Ludwig II’s creation.

One thought on “Germany in 25 Photographs

Let us and others know what you think!