Raising a Glass to Germany

IMG_0854MUNICH  — The best of Germany starts with the wurst.

Brats and currywurst are among the sausages that carry the day here. But with the meat comes a variety of potatoes, along with kraut, schnitzel and pretzels as thick as cucumbers.

Of course, the national beverage is beer, which locals pour by the liter and enthusiastically refill.

Where you drink, too, is just as important as what you drink. In the biergartens, bands “oom-pah-pah” and picnic tables are packed tightly so the camaraderie comes naturally.

Since we began our European trip in Amsterstam, we dropped down the west coast of Germany. If you can’t stay long in Cologne, at least stop to see The Cathedral, a colossal, medieval masterpiece.

At St. Goar, one can stroll around Rheinfels Castle and hear your voice resonate in the Big Cellar. The hamlet also is a good place to board a boat and cruise down the Rhine River. Numerous castles dot the route, which showcases acres of vineyards growing on the steep banks.

Any trip to Rothenburg necessitates a walk along The Wall.

Farther south is Munich, the country’s third-largest city. Marienplatz is the city’s hub. In the Middle Ages, the square served as a marketplace and venue where tournaments and festivities took place. Bicycling is a fine way to enjoy the English Garden, the largest park in Europe. Here, you can cheer the surfers as they ride waves on The Eisbach, an artificial stream that runs through the grounds.

An ambitious day trip from Munich is to Neuschwanstein Castle, whose views inspire more awe than the structure, itself. A can’t miss photo op awaits those who can crowd their way onto Queen Mary’s Bridge.

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