Eastern & Southern Germany questions
September 8, 2017 4:30 PM   Subscribe

I'm a mid-30s woman who will be travelling alone from Leipzig to Zurich by train next summer. Please suggest places to visit.

I have three or four days (weekdays all) to make this journey and I have no idea where to visit en route. I don't speak any German.

I enjoy:
- antique shops and flea markets
- walking and cycling
- books and art
- vegetarian food
- unique cultural experiences

I don't enjoy:
- beer
- loud dance music

Any suggestions?
posted by monkeymonkey to Travel & Transportation around Germany (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Leipzig is very proud of its classical music heritage and has several museums, preserved many homes and a walk with stops labeled in English. Check the webpages of venues; if they don't have the British flag icon, it will be German only.
posted by brujita at 6:41 PM on September 8, 2017

posted by gudrun at 8:00 PM on September 8, 2017

Bamberg is a wonderful little town.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:38 PM on September 8, 2017

Putting in a plug for my current hometown, Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It's a bit out of your way, but could be worth it. I previously wrote about it here, which is a thread you might find generally useful. We have EXCELLENT walking and cycling of whatever difficulty level you're looking for, with plenty of bike rental places. There are also several antique shops in the downtown Garmisch and Partenkirchen areas. Essentially everyone who interacts with tourists speaks great English.

For "unique cultural experiences," if you're coming in late July or early August, the Garmisch Fest or Partenkirchen Fest might be on. These are sort of our town's mini-Oktoberfests, with literal parades of people in local traditional dress, bands playing traditional music, and traditional dance. Garmisch Fest is free and Partenkirchen Fest is about 2€ most nights.

Being a vegetarian who doesn't like beer does mean your opportunities for sustenance are limited, especially at the Fests, but there are options you may like—for instance, Weinschorle (wine with sparkling water), or maybe you'd like a Radler/Russ (light-flavored beer mixed with lemonade or lemon-lime soda, very non-beer-like). If you just spend a day here, food shouldn't be a problem. Traditional options: pretzel (Breze/Brezl) with Obatzda (cheese spread), Pfannkuchensuppe (clear broth with crepe strips), and Spätzle/Käsespätzle/Kässpatzen (basically gooey German mac & cheese). Mukkefuck has great salads as far as Bavaria goes, but they're nothing to write home about.

Generally throughout Bavaria, make sure your waiter knows you're vegetarian, because sometimes restaurants sneak meat into dishes that seem veggie.
posted by dondiego87 at 12:46 AM on September 9, 2017

I grew up in Bamberg, and it's an amazing little town. There is so much to see and do there. The town hall is in the middle of the river! And the cherubs painted on the outside have random arms and legs that are three dimensional, suddenly and otherwise flat angel has a leg sticking out of the wall!

E.T.A. Hoffmann, the author of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (the novella that Tchaikovsky's ballet is based on) lived there for a while and his home is a museum. There is gorgeous art and architecture all over, just walking around the city is a feast for the eyes. The Rose Garden is one of my fondest memories. If you take a river tour you can see "Little Venice" which are a series of gorgeous houses along the river that almost make you think you really are in Italy.

I'm really not doing it justice, it's such a beautiful place.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:45 AM on September 10, 2017

Direct on the train route I would go to Heidelberg and Strasbourg. Heidelberg has lots of interesting history; castles, dueling clubs, university, etc. Also some fun American connections via Mark Twain. It's worth a day or two. Strasbourg is a nice Alsatian town, an interesting mix of French and German. Good food, beautiful architecture, again good for a day or two of poking around. An alternate train route takes you through Stuttgart instead of Strasbourg and a possible side trip into the Schwarzwald.

Leipzig itself is quite interesting and important. Weimar is also worth considering, both for its older history and because it puts you near Buchenwald. Visiting a concentration camp is a profound and upsetting experience. I would advise against spending time in Frankfurt; it really is as boring as everyone says although it's certainly OK for an overnight or if you have a specific reason to go.
posted by Nelson at 1:53 AM on September 10, 2017

I did like the art museums and Goethe haus there.
posted by brujita at 12:07 PM on September 10, 2017

Following up because I just remembered: Müri's Salatbar is a good veggie option in Garmisch. Not sure how I forgot considering I go there once a week.
posted by dondiego87 at 12:36 PM on September 11, 2017

« Older I confuse people (and get frustrated) when I...   |   Anybody familiar with Internal Family Systems... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.