Going to Germany
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Going to Germany
Mainz/Frankfurt and Paris in December
We will be traveling to the Mainz/Frankfurt area of Germany with our 5-year-old daughter
over the Christmas holidays to visit friends, and perhaps taking a short side trip to
Paris as well. We will be in the area for about a week and a half. We were wondering
about interesting places to visit and things to do, as this is our first trip to
Germany. I hear the Christmas fairs in Frankfurt are great. Any other
highlights in the area to see? We would love to learn about the local Christmas customs
and perhaps catch some music concerts, dance, or theater as well (any great local
Nutcrackers or Christmas plays for children?) We could also take short trips out to
Heidelberg, etc., although we could use some tips on how to navigate the seemingly
complex German rail system.
As this is our daughter's first trip abroad, recommendations for books that might
introduce German customs, especially at Christmas time, would be very useful. A
German language/phrase book for children (and adults!) might also be helpful.
Also, we would like to take a side trip to Paris to visit a dear friend who has been
very ill. Any recommendations on inexpensive flights or trains between Frankfurt and
Looking forward to a European Christmas
About taking your 5 year old to Germany over Christmas. Wonderful
idea! We took our 4 and 2 year olds a couple years ago, to that
same region, where I had also lived as a child and college
student for upwards of 7 years. Advice: it gets dark in mid
afternoon, so plan accordingly. The Christmas markets of
Rudesheim (on the Rhein river) and Rothenburg ( a little south)
are actually not crowded , despite summer crowds in those
touristy , but good little towns. Even at nighttime it is
charming, safe, and interesting. Visit a couple castles on the
Rhein, too. In Mainz you have the Gutenberg museum with his
printing press and original Bible, plus a medieval cathedral. In
Wiesbaden, next door, you have a pedestrian shopping zone , plus
the Bonifatius Church, and at night, it is a little Christmas
Markt. You might stay away from crowded big city zones
(Frankfurt downtown) and go to the smaller villages or towns.
Marksburg castle is a drive north, but amazing medieval fortress.
Bingen , also on the east side of the Rhein is home to St.
Hildegard's home, church (with heated kneelers!),town, songs, and
a wonderful bookstore that sells also nativity pieces and wines
and honey, made in her convent gardens. I loved my childhood
We will be in Germany this summer, spending at least a day in
the Nuernberg area. A web search reveals that there is a
Playmobile FunPark nearby. Is anyone out there familiar with
this park? Is it too young for a 10-year-old (he still plays
with his playmobile stuff now and then)? Is it worth a couple
of hours? Or - any other ideas near there? (no major amusement
parks - he doesn't do big rides).
I'm not familiar with playmobil funparks, but you were asking from alternatives what
to do in Nuernberg with a 10 year old child, too. There's a castle hill in the middle
of the city, with many traditional buildings, a wall around, museum, all this open to
the public. You can easily hang out a whole day there, explore, make up stories,
and try ot imagine how people used to live a few hundred years ago. (Well, some
people, other's had to live in little huts rather than castles... ) The Youth hostel of
the city is right there, too, and as many Youth hostels it's in a historical building.
This one has 7 attic storeys, that means you see 7 rows of dormer windows. When I
was a child, I wished my parents and me had spent the night there in a B & B. We
learned about life in Middle ages in elementary school. If you son had no
information about this yet, I'd prepare him a little bit, with books etc.
Have a good trip,
Tour group or on our own?
We are planning a two week trip to Germany and wanted to get
recommendations on places to stay and semi-leisurely
itineraries. Anyone take an escorted tour on a bus? What was
your experience? We are having a difficult time planning this
and deciding if we should do Germany on our own or book it with
a travel agent for an escorted bus tour.
I suggest the Mosel River Valley (yummy, cheap wine...not the
nasty super sweet stuff that is sold here as Mosel River
Wine). My favorite weekend trip while living in Europe was to
that valley. Write to me if you choose to visit this part of
the country. I can give you specific suggestions on places to
stay, a fabulous wine maker, etc.
My second favorite place is down in Garmisch (down in the
Alpine region). From there, you can see Saltzburg (cheesey
Sound of Music still lives on, but it is goofy fun anyway) or
Venice without too much of a drive/train trip.
I would suggest booking your own trip and using trains when
possible. Hanging out with a bunch of other American tourists
is hardly the way to experience Europe.
Check out Rick Steves' 16-day tour of Austria, Germany, and
My husband and I did a 21-day ''Best of Europe'' trip with ''Rick
Steves' Tours'' -- the guy who does the travel show, ''Europe
Through the Back Door,'' on PBS. He offers a variety of
different itineraries and packages. My husband had never been
to Europe, so the ''Best of Europe'' was the best introduction to
Europe for him (I've been several times). This trip was my
first time, in 20 or so years of independent travel, going on
an organized trip. I did some research, and found that Rick
Steves adhered, as much as possible when you are traveling with
a group, to my philosophy of travel -- stay in small
hotels/pensions, walk lots, eat well, and travel light. It was
the best of both worlds -- a tour to get you around and into
see the highlights (both big cities and small villages), and
time to wander on your own. Of course by the end of our trip we
wanted no schedule, and so we planned at the end of our tour to
stay an extra 6 days in Paris on our own.
We were very pleased with the trip and found it excellent value
for the money we paid. Please read the website to see if this
type of travel/group tour is for you. Happy travels!
We'll be traveling to Germany in March and plan to stay for two
weeks. The first week will be in Goettingen (attending a
conference)and then we are on our own. We'd love to see other
parts of the country (we are considering Berlin and Munich) and
are curious if folks have any recommendations (hotels, cities to
visit, ways to save money) and insights into traveling with
preschoolers in Germany.
We visited Berlin last summer with our now-two-year-old. We rented a
private apartment in Charlottenburg, which was a good idea for several
reasons: it was close to public transit and many interesting and child
friendly restaurants. We had a kitchen, so we could prepare meals before
or in between excursions. The bathroom had a real bathtub (many moderately
priced European hotels have only showers). Since the building was
residential, it was pretty quiet -- important for naptime!
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