Trip Coach: October 2, 2007
Joseph Rosendo, consulting editor on Where to Go When: The Best Destinations All Year Round and host of the PBS show Travelscope, answered your questions on Germany for the holidays.
Joseph Rosendo: Gutten Tag! Good Day. Joseph Rosendo here, the host of Travelscope Television and the Consultant Editor for DK Eyewitness Travel Guides' Where To Go When book. I'm thankful and grateful to have the opportunity to help you prospective travelers to Germany. I want to give you my best shot at answering your specific questions, but there are many answers to any travel question and if it's nuts and bolts you're looking for I'd reccommend a good travel guidebook -- today I'm going to try and capture in my comments the essence of why you should travel to Germany -- or anywhere -- and how to get the best out of the experience. It's what we do on the televison and in the book -- so let's get started.
Gadsden, Ala.: I would like to visit Munich, Landshut, and other sites in Bavaria. Is it possible and would it be enjoyable to visit in January? My other possible date is June. What are the problems and your best advice about when to go?
Joseph Rosendo: In my opinion, whenever you go you will find something enjoyable to experience. Of course, Germany in June is a bit more comfortable and exciting than it is in January for most people. Although since there is no bad weather just bad clothes if you wanted to go to Gartmish-Partenkirchen -- also in Bavaria -- it would be wonderful in January if you are a skiier. It's the site of the 1936 Winter Olympic Games so there would be plenty of skiing and other wintry activities available for you there. So as you see where to go when also depends on what you are going for -- Skiing -- head to the mountains in January -- taking in the midnight sun head for Finland in June. Problems with June travel is the everyone else in America is traveling in Europe at that time too -- so you'll have plenty of company and the prices will be higher than at other times of year -- Europe is already expensive due to the weak dollar. Problems for January -- the weather may be -- it could be too cold or not cold enough -- if you want to ski you want snow -- so no snow would be a drag. But once again whenever you go you'll have a great time.
Ridgewood, NJ: I would like to visit Germany for the christmas holiday. I'm not much of a city girl and enjoy experiencing a destination like a local, rather than visiting all the "must see" tourist spots. I like castles and culture, and while I wouldn't mind some time visiting the markets in a city, I'd like to experience something a little less urban as well. where to begin? And of the big cities (Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, etc.) which is the "best"?
Joseph Rosendo: Germany for Christmas is wonderful. Starting early in December and running 24th throughout most of Germany the Christmas markets abound. The Christmas markets can be in the large cities like Hamburg, but also small villages like Celle. I'm speaking about Northern Germany because that's where I traveled for one of our PBS television shows that will be airing next year entitled: The Christmas Markets of Germany. There are more than 2,500 Christmas Markets in Germany. We visited the markets of Hamburg, Bremen, Celle and Lubeck -- each had its particular flavor. Yet, although the Christmas Markets offer plenty of great things to buy in hundreds of stalls and stands the real plus is the they are an opportunity to rub shoulders with the locals. The difference between Christmas in Germany and in the United States is that people go to the Christmas Markets to be with people -- not just to shop. So there is food, drink (gluhwein) and the companionship of friends -- and, get this, strangers.
Petoskey, Mich.: I am planning to travel to Munich the first week in December. I will be traveling with my sister. I am 47 and she is 41. We will fly from Detroit leaving Dec 1 and returning Dec 7. She has some work meetings, but I am free the entire time. Are there day trips that I should consider? What are the best holiday markets? My sister and I rarely travel together due to the fact we both have children, husbands and jobs. I'd love to do something really special to celebrate this opportunity. Thanks, Melanie
Joseph Rosendo: Just taking the trip together is already special. Although sometimes travel is a make or break experience for people. It's a real test for relationships. I would always take my serious girlfriends on the road. It was a good place to see how we did together -- for better or for worse. You should try not to let the business aspect of this journey interfere with giving you both some time to experience Munich together. And take your time -- don't rush it. If you feel you do not have time to catch your breath -- you probably don't. The joy of European travel is in the small moments, the quiet moments when you and the place can get to know each other. Munich is in the heart of Bavaria and Bavaria is noted for being the fun loving capital of Germany. Most everyone speaks English so you will be able to travel throughout the city and visit the city's different attractions for the most part without any language barrier. If you speak German all the better -- if you don't, learn a few words. Gutten Tag. Bitte (please) Danke (Thanks). People love to know you care enough to try. You are only going to be in Munich for five days...so I wouldn't set your sights to much further than the city itself. It has much to offer. Be sure to put a city tour in your plans so you can get a good overview of the city and then decide what you want to go back to on your own. Munich is noted as the city of Oktoberfest so no doubt you will want to visit a few of the famous beer halls. No matter what the season they will still be festive. Munich also has one of the largest Christmas Markets in Germany so you can shop, sup and sample to your hearts content. Of course if you want details line up of the cities attractions pick up a good guidebook like DK's Germany guide and Top 10 Guide for Munich.