Please sign in to post.

Judy, what happened?

Judy, what happened to your trip report of your trip to Germany and Austria? I thought I saw it the other day.

Paul

Posted by
416 posts

Hi Paul.... if I am the Judy you mean, I didn't post anything yet. It must have been something/someone else that you saw.

I hesitate to make a trip report because of all the scorn I see here regarding the "American Comfort Zone" itinerary, and all of the eye rolling that I imagine would take place. This trip was absolutely that itinerary.... into Munich and out of Frankfurt. Lather, rinse, and repeat. But for what it's worth... we had an absolute BLAST and would love to go back. Lol.

Anyway.... if it was a different Judy, then, sorry!

Posted by
6902 posts

Why don't you use the Private Message function directly to the recipient?

Posted by
416 posts

I don't know..... I read a lot of posts here, and people's contempt for the exact (inexperienced, maybe uninformed?) beginner's itinerary that we followed, and I didnt feel like taking the hit for it. I'm sensitive and fragile. J/K. Lol. You never know.... maybe I will post a trip report.

Posted by
5305 posts

Yeah, many of us love reading other people's trip reports. Even the ones in our "comfort zones." After all, those are the trips that many of us are likely to make.

Posted by
416 posts

Well it sure is the trip we took. And we loved every minute of it. Thank you both for your kind words, maybe I will make a report. Even though this trip was in September.

Posted by
416 posts

Lol... There may have been a fake castle or two, visited.
A prize to the person who identifies the most tourist traps we saw.

Posted by
293 posts

I kind of know what you mean Judy! I am somewhat of a newbie posting here but most of the time ,people are kind. Nothing like the (I can't remember his name!) from FLA. that skinned people alive with his responses!! Some of you who have been on this site for awhile will remember him. He did not "suffer fools gladly" Happy Travels wherever you go!!

Posted by
3936 posts

Chriss - that sounded like Ed from Pensacola - he def didn't suffer fools...but once you realized that was just the way he was, generally we (meaning I) would shrug and laugh and go - there goes Ed again...he was a personality for sure!

Posted by
416 posts

When I first joined this forum, someone warned me about a "curmudgeon" and to not let him get to me. Don't know to whom they were referring.

Posted by
6583 posts

Ed's been gone for over 2 years and we're still talking about him. That says something about his effect on this forum. He was pretty much a love him or hate him type of guy in his posts. I think most of us loved him and his no-nonsense responses, I know I did. He gave me some of the best info and advice I have received here. And you're right he did not suffer fools gladly.

Posted by
14022 posts

I read a lot of posts here, and people's contempt for the exact
(inexperienced, maybe uninformed?) beginner's itinerary

Wow. It's really sad that you feel that way as, during my time on these forums, I've seen less of the behavior you describe than on some others. People are pretty patient and understanding as long as posts don't cross the offensive, intolerant or entitlement line, if you catch my drift? Also if newbies are ready and willing to do their homework.

Shoot, we were ALL inexperienced once, and will be again when we visit ANY country/city for the first time. Heaven knows I sweat bullets over transit systems each time we go somewhere new, and pray I don't sound like a complete idiot with my 1,000 questions! So go write that trip report, hear?

Posted by
142 posts

Judy! Please write your trip report. I totally understand where you are coming from and I started a trip report from 2016 and never finished it. I would love to read where you went, what you saw, and what you loved/hated.

Amy

Posted by
6583 posts

Some here may get a little frustrated with repetitious questions from newbies that could be answered with a little research, and may be a little contentious in their responses, but I really can't remember seeing anybody here 'ripping' into someone about a trip report.

All trip reports are helpful to at least some who read them, and if someone doesn't find them helpful they should just ignore them and not make snarky responses. In fact, I have found that some of the trip reports from 1st timers or those who don't travel frequently to be very helpful. I also think that reporting on things that didn't work for you can be very helpful to other newbies.

Definitely do post a trip report.

Posted by
293 posts

ED!!! He was scary but in a scary but good teacher way you had in school!!! I remember asking a question here and actually saying, ED, please be kind, I'm new!!! He was definitely a personality and I miss him too!!!!!

Posted by
293 posts

P.S. I'm thinking Nigel MIGHT just be taking ED's place ,but in a more refined English way!!

Posted by
416 posts

Paul from NYC area wins the prize. We saw them all. And more..... keep on guessing!

Posted by
22147 posts

Please !!!!! Nigel isn't anywhere close. Remember, if you are not prepared to accept any answer, don't ask the question. To me that is the big problem with the flat responses of the internet. Some posters ask a question expecting a certain answer and get mad when they don't get the answer they want.

Posted by
416 posts

Hi Frank.... it isn't necessarily the answer that is the problem, it's the condescending tone of the answer. Not always. But sometimes. The smug superiority of some of the answers. Not always called for, IMHO.

Posted by
416 posts

@Paul..... yes and no. Like I said to Frank above... it's not necessarily the answer, it's the tone of the answer. Like the oh so passive-aggressive, "Yay! FINALLY someone who doesn't want to go to XYZ town!" Like they're soooo superior to all the other unwashed ignoramuses who do choose to go somewhere touristy. THAT'S what I'm talking about.... Just answer the question. Or don't. People's opinions, no matter how strong, are fine. It's that condescending reply that is uncalled for.

Posted by
265 posts

Judy, I'd love to read your trip report as I am thinking of a similar itinerary for a trip this coming September.

Posted by
293 posts

Hi Judy! I, too, have been the recipient of some posts that have had a condescending tone - but mostly, I think that's the danger with written posts. Well, actually there was one post to me about using the "@" sign within my post - some guy was very sniffy about my using this dreaded "twitter" sign, causing me no end of hearty laughter!!

And PS: talk about your WELL-WORN PATHS - - omg, I have LIVED in Europe for 7 years, am FLUENT in German, and STILL only want to tread the comforting trails between Paris, Vienna, Heidelberg, Strasbourg, well - you get the drift.

I, for one, will enjoy your trip report very much. And so will THOUSANDS of people who just read this website, who have never traveled at all to Europe. They will REALLY enjoy your post, and imagine themselves purchasing that first ticket.

Posted by
227 posts

I forgot all about Ed - he amused me most of the time.....he put so much (too much most times) energy into his remarks. You say he’s been gone 2 years....from the forum or life?

Posted by
546 posts

To Judy and all others...

Definitely post your trip reports. All are valuable in some way to someone.

As to the "Tone" of some responses. I think it's important to remember that the "Tone" you hear in your head when you read a given post or reply may exist entirely in the READERS (your) head. The intended "Tone" from the writer may be completely different. In fact the writer may be completely baffled by a negative response to his/her post/reply.

This kind of "tonal dissonance" is endemic to all digital written communications for sure. And yet strangely it doesnt seem to be a problem in Hand written communication as much (such as a handwritten letter).

Posted by
919 posts

Oh, oh! Let me add to the guesses of your itinerary too. Based on the condescending responses I see in the Germany forum here are my guesses in addition to Paul’s list:

  • Dachau, Eagles Nest or some other WWII site( all Americans think Germany history is just about Nazism, and by the way it’s not called the Eagles nest)
  • Rented a car ( how dare you! In Germany of all places!)
  • SOM locations or tour (didn’t you know the America version is just a remake!)

I always find it comical when some forum members get so bent out of shape that somebody doesn’t like what they do.

DJ

Posted by
416 posts

@DJ..... yes!! Two out of the three guesses are correct. Lol. We did the David and Christine Harper tour and we had a car for one week. No to the SOM tour, I never even saw the movie.

Posted by
28782 posts

I'd like to see your trip report. I have traveled all over that area, and still visit Munich and Frankfurt, and the Alps regularly.

In virtually all trip reports, even from first timers, even on the well traveled route, I usually learn something new.

Please go ahead, Judy from Westland, and start typing....

Posted by
338 posts

Posted by Agnes
Washington DC Region, USA
01/11/18 11:16 AM
3609 posts
Why don't you use the Private Message function directly to the recipient?

This seems to be the kind of post that always gets my attention

Posted by
1678 posts

I'm with Judy and V. Vega. Some contributors to this forum could be a little more patient and kinder with their responses. I see the same few who have an "edginess" in a lot of their responses. I must add that this forum isn't as bad as some of the other on-line forums out there. With exception of a few I see here, most who contribute here are kind and helpful.

Posted by
416 posts

Paul.... yes!!! These things do tend to take on a life of their own! I am glad you started this thread cause it is pushing me to make a trip report.

Posted by
6902 posts

I apologize. I didn't mean to come off as rude. I don't know how else to ask whether the OP was aware that a PM function exists - no matter how you ask, it can sound snarky. No harm was meant. I thought the PM could search the poster's name and just send her a note directly.

Re: the thread above, I skimmed it and it seemed that the OP posting the itinerary took it in stride and had a good attitude, so why be more offended than he/she is? I'm in favor of everyone expressing themselves as they see fit without censure as long as they meet the community guidelines of the forum and they don't intentionally cause any harm (and if feelings are hurt, they obviously should make amends). While some people may not like some responses, I believe the forum benefits from folks across the Atlantic living in the countries in question responding frankly to their posts. They are expressing their unvarnished opinions, you can take or leave it. Those are inputs you won't get from a casual traveler living in the US, so they have value because they come from a totally different vantage point. I'm used to that kind of directness myself, so I guess I don't see major harm.

The OP already prefaced his itinerary with somewhat self-deprecating comments about it being overly touristy, so he/she opened the door to all sorts of responses. What's wrong with getting opposing opinions? A German's definition of "Best of Germany" may not be Rick Steves' definition of what he thinks his largely American clientele will like, and vice versa. It's best to air out both and let the OP decide what's best for him/her.

Posted by
416 posts

Hahahaha my trip report will be all about the touristy things, following all the other sheeple in their RS itinerary. And I freaking loved it.

None of you probably know this, but it was our first time on a vacation of any sort in twenty years. Yes you read that correctly. So we could have toured a tuna fish factory in Toledo Ohio and I would have loved it. My day to day life consists of the Ambassador Bridge, trucks and traffic and Customs and expressways and graffiti and all that excitement. So yes... whether or not it was a real castle or a raging fake, it was a beautiful setting and I regret nothing!!!

Posted by
6583 posts

Judy, I am loving your attitude and I'm looking forward to your trip report.

By the way, I wonder what happened to the Judy that Paul was asking about who apparently did post a trip report and then remove it. Curious.

Posted by
1353 posts

Paul - I'm so glad you posted about that other thread! I had decided to give up on it and stop giving an opinion. I feel sorry for the OP on that thread, and feel she may miss out:(

Judy - I think our first trip to Germany was very similar to yours and we also had a GREAT time and loved it! This summer we will be doing our 5th trip to Germany:). Hopefully it won't be another 22 years before your next vacation!

I still feel that touristy places are touristy for a reason, and to go out of your way to avoid them on a first trip is just silly!!!!

ETA - OK - I changed my mind about posting on that other thread. I hate for that OP to miss out on something because somebody told her it was too touristy!

Posted by
6583 posts

Jill, I agree with your comments and I wonder how many tourists from Europe come to the US for the first time and go only to out of the way, non touristy locations. Yeah, sure. Actually they are more likely to go to New York, Washington DC, Disney World, LA, San Francisco, etc.

After reading the post that Paul posted the link to - which, by the way, I had not read before - I feel that most of the responders were basically trying to 'educate' a new traveler to Europe by imposing their travel style and interests on them. The best thing about that thread was the relative good humored reaction by the OP. The worst thing was that the OP was treated to the most judgmental, least helpful responses I've seen in a long time.

Fortunately that thread was not really representative of most on the RS forum.

Posted by
13363 posts

@ Shelley..."...LIVED in Europe for 7 years...." Fantastic! Das waren noch Zeiten. The longest I stayed over there was only 12 weeks consecutively traveling, the second longest 67 days. Ideal would be 100 days, stretching from England to Finland.

Posted by
8296 posts

Judy, please post your trip report and forget about the curmudgeons. (secretly, just want to read about Frankfurt)

Posted by
14022 posts

Anyone interested in reading the first hand rudenes, you’ll find quite
a bit here:

Wow. That thread is a piece of work, and the OP did an admirable job of managing without losing his cool! I do think there's much to be said for differences in cultures, though? It was occasionally commented upon by some Europeans in a different virtual group I'd belonged to that they often found Americans to be suspiciously TOO "nice"; as in disingenuous. Their communication styles tended to be much more direct; to the point, some might say, of rudeness in our culture. Yet these same individuals were often the most helpful when it came to answering questions!

It also helped me to remember that while a foreigner's English may appear be to fluent, it's likely not their first language so they might not choose the words we would?

I found this comment from that thread a little curious:

"The one recurring problem that I indeed see with American (and
Australian) tourists is that they directly transplant their travel
style of crossing huge distances ... which might be appropriate in
their own countries which are much more thinly populated and much
larger, but is totally wrong for Europe."

Interesting. The #1 mistake I see foreigners make, on forums about U.S. travel, is in not having a grasp of the vastness of our country. I see itineraries - from Europeans as well as citizens from other continents - all the time that are simply impossible to achieve. The close, if not equal, #2 is thinking they can get to/around the too-many places in their plan solely by public transit. I'll agree that Americans too often underestimate the amount of time it takes from A to B in Europe but really, that's by no means a "problem" specific just to our culture.

Judy, I've just read through the first chapters of your report and enjoyed them very much so don't stop now! I'm so pleased that, after waiting such a long time for your Big Adventure, you both had a lovely time! O)

Posted by
1868 posts

I'm enjoying your trip reports.

Choosing places to go is interesting. Although I now after many trips tomGermany tend to not take the typical routes, when I thought we might take my SIL on a trip, we gravitated to the main tourist places. Right now a former co-worker is planning a trip - her family's first to Germany/Austria - and I can't honestly discourage her from any of the big tourist destinations.

Posted by
1166 posts

I do sometimes cringe when I read some some responses on this (and any other) forum, especially when it is a new person unfamiliar with the forum or traveling. However, I have had an excellent experience in the Germany forum.

Agnes and Emma have successfully showed me how not to have thin skin and that you can really learn from someone else if you "listen" to what they are saying.

I have also enjoyed Judy's trip report and it would be a shame if someone criticized her after/before she had such a great experience.

BUT, please take a minute and hear what they are saying. Germany is more than (wonderful) Bavaria, Nazi sites, and one fanciful "castle". Germany has more to offer. I agree that you should travel where you want for your own reasons, absolutely! Most of us do touristy things because that is where the cool stuff is and that is what we keep hearing about. Can you have some understanding for a person that loves all of Germany being disappointed that a lot of Americans aren't really that interested in the rest of the country when it has so many other beautiful and important sites.

I am glad that I stumbled on this thread because I got to read about Judy's trip and because it made me curious about the Germany forum. That in turn is leading to a lot of great information about what there is to see and learn about Germany.
Sometimes when one is forced to defend one's choices, one can learn and benefit and one can gain a new friend that has a different set of knowledge.

Keep on Traveling.

Posted by
5691 posts

Paul writes,

I’m very tired of hearing some try to talk people out of visiting Neuschwanstein in particular. How many times do I read it’s a fake castle, not real? For me and countless others, it’s something we’ve always associated with Bavaria and want to see it in person. Why the rudeness or “holier than thou”attitude?

(Russ the Perp faces the judge, pleads sanity, states his case.)

It's not a matter of attitude or rudeness to inform an OP of the facts about N'stein. IME most North Americans with N'stein on their itineraries have some real misconceptions - that it's a castle - that it's medieval - that it's an easy day trip from Munich (when in fact it's nearly 5 hours there and back on trains and buses, plus an hour's walk round-trip to the entrance, so a day trip to take the 30-minute tour eats up nearly a full day.) Yet for visitors with only 3 days in Germany, Rick's planning tips include N'stein - so it's no wonder his readers naively and unquestioningly slap N'stein onto their itineraries. But I see this as a real disservice to the traveling public.

I will probably continue to tell new posters about N'stein when it's on their itineraries, yes, even when they don't ask about it specifically, and especially if they have a tight schedule. Though I try to individualize all my responses, I am sure my comments will be predictable/repetitive/boring for regulars. Not sure what to do about that. Paul, my N'stein comments aren't directed at you but mainly at the OP and others with an interest in similar itineraries. I hope you don't feel you have to read them.

"...it’s something we’ve always associated with Bavaria..."

A recent article in the German news media interviewed American tourists about the reasons they visit N'stein. The responses quoted in the article refer (not surprisingly) to Disney.

„„Ich bin hier, weil ich Disney-Fan bin. Ich kenne die Schlösser aus den Parks, und jetzt will ich das Schloss sehen, das ihn inspiriert hat.“

„Das hier war die Vorlage für Disneyland. Deshalb ist dieses Schloss für uns Amerikaner einfach nicht zu toppen: Es verbindet die Geschichte Europas mit den Kindheitserinnerungen eines jeden Amerikaners.“

(These Disney fans have been to the amusement parks back home - they just have to see what inspired Walt Disney, and for them, N'stein makes the connection between Europe's history and their childhood memories.)

Katharina Schmidt, Neuschwanstein's Director, told the interviewer that many Americans actually think N'stein is a knock-off from the Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty castle:

Schlossverwalterin Katharina Schmidt (44) weiß zu erzählen, dass viele Amerikaner Probleme damit haben, Original und Kopie auseinanderzuhalten. „Sie kommen hierher und sagen: „Ach, das haben sie von Disney abgeguckt.“ Und dann sagen wir: „Nein, umgekehrt. Walt Disney war hier und hat Neuschwanstein als Vorbild genommen.

Patrick Korb, N'stein tour guide, says Americans often arrive there with the vision of a medieval castle in their heads; when told it and Chicago's first high-rise buildings went up at the same time, they don't want to believe him:

Schlossführer Patrick Korb (32) hat festgestellt, dass Besucher aus unterschiedlichen Erdteilen auch unterschiedliche Erwartungen hegen. „Amerikaner haben oft das Bild von der perfekten Mittelalterburg im Kopf. Wenn man ihnen dann sagt, dass das Schloss zu einer Zeit gebaut wurde, als in Chicago schon die ersten Hochhäuser entstanden, wollen sie das manchmal kaum glauben.

I've heard similar on this forum over many years. Our naivete about castles and palaces is nothing new. I just think a place THIS popular and THIS misunderstood deserves a brighter spotlight before folks spend their time and travel dollars.

Posted by
13363 posts

"abgeguckt"...good word from slang/collq. language.

Posted by
164 posts

I'm going to bite the bullet and wade in here.

1) Americans are not well-versed in history.
We just aren't. I say that as a history professor (Central and Eastern Europe). My students come in my introductory German history course and don't know that Germany was unified in 1871. And I bet, if you asked 100 random people on the street, 85 of them wouldn't know that either. I'm not saying these people are dumb or stupid, just that our education system does not prioritize history (to our great detriment, as the last few years have made abundantly clear). So, when most Americans think "Germany," they think WWII (oh, hey, that big war we won) and Bavaria (oh, hey, that big area that was under our control directly after the war). I'm not saying this is RIGHT; it isn't. But it explains why Americans approach Germany starting on the Rhine or in Munich.
2) More bees with honey
That being said, there's nothing wrong with exposing those hoping to visit Germany to other places. Doing so often requires a knowledge of Germany that goes beyond WWII - which, again, most Americans don't have. Often I get students who come into office hours to discuss a research paper and they want to do "something on WWII." Do I roll my eyes? Tell them they are being a historical cliche? No, because that wouldn't do them any good. I do ask why. I ask what interests them. And when I do, often the response is WWII is really just the only part of German history then know anything about, so they are clinging to that. But, actually, they say shyly, you mentioned X in lecture last week and that was pretty interesting - And lo, they walk out with a non-WWII topic, that they are actually interested in but just didn't have the recourses or, more important, the confidence, to consider beforehand.

The same lesson could be applied to those in the forum. What good does it do to call someone's planned itinerary "unimaginative," "cliche," or "Disney"? I don't see the same attitude towards tourists in other country's forums. And, honestly, if my introduction to the people of Germany was to be basically insulted, I would probably not be as excited to visit. Yes, I understand the cultural differences in giving and receiving criticism (I know it personally). But what I've seen seems to go beyond constructive criticism and borders on gleeful mocking at times.

3) "Seeing America"
One of the reasons given for responding to such queries about N'stein is that Americans would feel insulted if someone came, visited Niagara Falls and the Golden Gate Bridge and thought they'd seen the USA. And I have two responses: One, no one I've seen on the forums is claiming they are seeing all of Germany by visiting N'stein and the Rhineland; and two, it honestly does not bother me if tourists go to the Hollywood sign or the Empire State Building. I don't see it as a national affront. I see it was people spending a lot of money to go where they want to go.

My view of this is likely based on the fact that I grew up in a Disney household. And I don't mean we all wore Mickey ears. I mean my father has worked for Disney for 30 years. I worked a summer job there. Making tourists happy is what keeps the Central Florida economy afloat. Sometimes, I'll admit, my knee-jerk reaction is to roll my eyes at the big families in the Mickey Ears and matching Family Reunion shirts - but then I remembered that these people spent a lot of money (not to mention their very little vacation time) to come to Disney, perhaps for the only time in their life. I'm not offended if visitors come and only see Disney.

I'm running out of space, so I'm going to wrap up these ramblings with this: Russ, you left out the best quote of the N'stein article. The woman from New Mexico says she thinks of the castle as "a Grimms' Fairytale." The Grimms, Wagner, Ludwig and his madness - all were part of the Romantic Nationalism of the 19th Century. Can you get more German than that? ;-)

Posted by
2115 posts

Allison, that's the best reply I have seen to just about any post on this forum! Thank you. I am a retired teacher and can relate. You obviously love your job and I'd love to see more instructors like you who are able to unearth the best our students are capable of delivering, especially when they don't realize they are able to do such an assignment successfully. Thank you for posting.

Posted by
1353 posts

Allison - I agree with Andi! Best forum post ever!!! I'm not very articulate and am so glad you posted such a well thought out response! Thank you!

Posted by
5305 posts

And don't forget those of us who used to know such things as the date of German unification, or the creation of the nation of Italy, but have forgotten. We appreciate gentle reminders.

I do think that in general, Americans are woefully ignorant of world history: Europe, Asia, and Africa. But that's one of the reasons we travel, to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge.

Thanks for your reasoned post, Allison.

Posted by
5691 posts

"Russ, you left out the best quote..."

The Grimm reference was interesting and even inspiring - but unusual... I've never heard it referenced previously in the same breath with N'stein in my many years on this forum - or elsewhere. But the Disney references are the standard "connections" you see on these threads all the time. Teachers (no matter what their detractors have to say about our schools today) like yourself are on average very literate folks in a semi-literate society, and I've no doubt that similar connections interest you and other teachers as well. But folks who visit N'stein with Grimm in mind are probably as scarce as gnomes in the forest.

It wasn't a surprise when I discovered via google that Bobbie Zemanek (the "Grimm fan" in the article) has served as a teacher and a school principal, just BTW. That said, I have to wonder whether that actually figured into her decision to go there. Educators often know how to provide the "right" answers and say things just the right way so as not to appear less than well-educated. They aren't Jay Leno on-the-street interviewees!

Maybe Wagner fans are drawn to N'stein too. I've never met or heard of one myself. I've never known of "Ring" fans to visit the Worms Nibelungen Museum either, but there probably are one or two.

Anyway, I cited those quotes I cited not to chide Americans, only to show there's a reason for the advice I tend to give about N'stein. I just think it's healthy for individuals to consider WHY they (and others) may have chosen to see N'stein (other than the need to follow instructions.)

Posted by
13363 posts

Whether it is a WW2 topic or not, I would give these students bibliographical assistance so that they can proceed with doing some real research.

Posted by
1220 posts

Another Floridian here. We did Bavaria in 2014 because one of the rules for our long vacations is 'There Shall Be Mountains' (When the highest point in the state is something like 250 feet above sea level, and you want geology that's really different than yet another perfect beach...) and it was like, hey the Alps are pretty and there are probably good nature walks, and prices would probably be reasonable and we are going to rent a darn car so the Spousal Unit can drive a proper German luxury sedan down some unlimited stretches of the autobahn... (Don't worry, we dropped if off when we got back to Munich and bahn'ed from there to Paris)

People all have different perspectives and desires for a vacation; I enjoy the camraderie here but do feel like there can be a little bit of groupthink at times so might get a little loud in my love of checked bags, rental cars when they make sense in rural and suburban areas, and chain hotels in flavors not much available in North America. I mean if you want to meet real Germans, you'll find them in the Lounger of a Motel One. Same goes for the French people at the bar of the Ibis. You can have authenticity and air con and free wifi. They're not mutually exclusive. (But then Florida tend to mess with your perception of what real more than a bit, so maybe I am an unreliable narrator)

Just because someone has a different way of traveling doesn't mean they're doing it wrong. As the saying goes, don't yuck someone else's yum. Because your idea of a yum could easily be their yuck too. I've lived by the beach long enough for the initial glow to wear out but wouldn't think of telling someone 'I can't believe you're paying that much to come here of all places' to their face because, hey, the world is too tense right now and if this is where their bliss is, I'm not going to try to make them feel bad about that. (I just wish they'd put some darn clothes on in the grocery store because I don't need to see someone in only a wet bathing suit and flip flops touching the produce)

Posted by
164 posts

Fred, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume by students you mean visitors to Germany, and that "bibliographic assistance" so they can do "real research" you mean suggesting guide books other than Rick Steves, such as the Rough Guide I think I've seen you suggest, or the works of Norman Davies (even if they are bricks :-) ). If that's the case, then that's my point exactly. But there's a way to do that that's constructive (suggesting books - either guide books, which will include other places, or history books, which will provide greater historical context- for example) and a way that's not - namely, calling a trip cliched. As Jane said, some people travel to fill in the gaps in their historical knowledge. As Paul said, some travel to get away and relax and have fun. Both should be treated with respect.

Anyways, I'm sure that's what your comment was about, and was in no way you telling me how to do my job.

Posted by
13363 posts

On seeing Germans in Lounge in Motel One...very true plus other international tourists as well. I saw them in the Lounge in the Ibis in Metz the last time I was there, in 2007.

If a person asks me for my version of doing a trip to Germany, I'll give it, regardless if what I say is at variance with his/her preconceived ideas of a German trip. The person is absolutely free to accept my advice, recommendations, suggestions, etc or reject any of it or all. If he objects to my suggestions on where to go in Germany in terms of towns/cities, too bad.

The person is not obliged to take my advice at all, such as to concentrate traveling in the north and east, those historical and cultural sites as far as towns/cities are concerned. If you're going for a month, get down the language, the more the better. Learning some necessary phrases, greetings is not good enough. .

He does not have adopt my travel style, which I would explain only if I were asked. What I do is most likely not what s/he prefers. What about going to Neuschwanstein, Füssen or Rothenburg, I would say no, forget it, simple as that. You ask, I tell you. Then it's your decision is what I would say to the person.

I've been asked on how to do a trip in Germany, I ask them about their time constraint, travel budget roughly, any interests in particular, etc. Some have no idea at all. In a way all the better. Then I tell them my own travel goals there, true very subjective, they make up their own minds in the end.

Posted by
13363 posts

@ Allison... I know that when the students are seeing you during office hours on topics for their papers you are indeed providing them with bibliographical assistance in terms of which works and historians to consult, such as N Davies, Beevor, or C Clark, or even F Fischer.

I was only saying that is what I would do, ie provide them with bibliographical assistance and ask why they decided to focus on their suggested topic. "...was in no way you telling me how to do my job." I would not presume.

Posted by
338 posts

I am glad that I stumbled on this thread because I got to read about Judy's trip and because it made me curious about the Germany forum. That in turn is leading to a lot of great information about what there is to see and learn about Germany.

Same here. Even though I've been to Bavaria including, Stuttgart, Munich, Dachau, Neuschwanstein Castle etc, and had no intention of putting Germany on my rotation again for quite some time, I found myself adding them after spending the last several days digging in again.

I had settled on Thailand and Southeast Asia for the next trip followed by Switzerland but now I've added Germany to the next destination after those 2.

Posted by
338 posts

By the way, I am extremely happy that we chose to take a day trip from Munich to go to Neuschwanstein Castle for the day. We were on a great tour bus and saw several other castles and sites and made a few stops in small towns as well. It was a long day but we saw a lot.

Plus, one of the favorite pictures my wife and I have ever taken is on the walking bridge with the great view of the castle in the background. We got somebody to take our picture for us and it turned out amazing. It looks like a fake picture it is so good. So that alone makes it worthwhile to me.

Posted by
5691 posts

Why do you feel the need to try to get them to find out WHY they need
to visit NStein? Like myself, most have seen the photos over and over
again and want to see it in person. So what? It’s your job to
discourage them?

Why they "need" to visit N'stein?? What I'm saying is pretty straightforward... When choosing sights and destinations, you can of course just follow the crowd - just like you can sign up for a tour - but I think it's wiser for independent travelers to look beyond the photos and the classic tour bus stops. That is not suggesting that anyone is a "dope." It's just smart to look at the actual facts about a given place, the travel logistics, and the sightseeing alternatives in light of your own interests and travel style. Listen to (and maybe heed) what locals think and say about those places. (Locals tend to know stuff - why ignore them? And Rick encourages us all to interact with them anyway, right?) Maybe N'stein is a good fit for you, or maybe it's not. But you won't know if you don't have a closer look at the details and hear some alternative viewpoints.

In the case of N'stein, all those details tend to get swept under the rug. It's a "shiny object" used as a lure by the travel industry on international tourists. So yeah, I routinely present the "downside" of visiting N'stein on this forum to posters who are asking about their itineraries because it's a side you really will not get from the travel literature alone. I also encourage people to look at alternatives based on their stated circumstances. I figure people can make their own choices if they have good information and both sides of the story. I fail to see what's wrong with that. This isn't medical advice - it's travel advice, and it's ridiculous to expect others' opinions to line up with one's own.

It's the same with trains/cars. I see nothing wrong in suggesting train travel to someone from a cars-only culture, if the individual's itinerary might benefit from it. As long as the poster isn't berated, it's not an insult - it's just a suggestion. Do we now share a forum culture that is intolerant of suggestions?

Posted by
5691 posts

Paul, offering alternative advice by definition means there will be opinions in conflict. Every reader brings his/her own emotions to the forum and reads "into" the words of others what he/she feels. And yes, I'm sure every writer says something, sometime, that might sound like "I know better..." But "I am better"??? There are no facial expressions on forums, no intonation cues - it's a WEAK place for assessing the intentions and attitudes of others. My SUGGESTION is that you drop the judgments (and the name-calling - there's no mistaking that message) and try to take all the messages here less personally.

Posted by
5305 posts

I found this interesting, and of merit.

It's the same with trains/cars. I see nothing wrong in suggesting
train travel to someone from a cars-only culture, if the individual's
itinerary might benefit from it.

There are a lot of folks in the US who live, as I do, in a part of the country where public transportation is unavailable. Our town doesn't even have taxis, for Pete's sake, much less buses, trams, or metro. There is only one passenger train in the entire state of Oklahoma, and it just runs from Oklahoma City south to Fort Worth TX. So reminding travelers that there are options to renting a car can be a service.

Posted by
1220 posts

I like long haul trains as a flight alternative. And there's no way I'd drive in a big city, or even a unfamiliar European small city when there's a good mass transit alternative in place.

But we love our rental cars. We've had some great experiences where we program the address of the hotel into the GPS/sat nav so we can get home at the end of the day and say 'yeah, let's get ourselves lost today by following whatever road looks interesting'. Yes, the bus will get you there too, but you have to know your destination first, and I'm pretty sure you can't just ask the bus driver to pull over for a few minutes so you can pick up some strawberries from a farmer's stand at the side of the road. We want the freedom to find a sign to some sort of attraction with a fancy-sounding name and decide that, yeah, let's see what the heck that is.

Posted by
3936 posts

Personally, I really like using the trains when we go to Europe precisely because of the almost total lack of them (and buses) here where I live - the VIA Rail goes thru - I think it's down to 3 days a week now, maybe 4. I mean, if you miss your train, then you have a looooong wait for the next one!

But cars really have their place as well. We've rented twice in France (once in the North, once in the South) and the freedom to set our own schedule and visit some of those out of the way spots that are much harder to get to with a bus or train was one of the major reasons. And the ability to linger instead of worrying you'll miss the last bus of the day. I was hoping we would go to Scotland in May (still up in the air) and almost every post I see, people say you should rent a car, but I can't convince hubby to drive 'on the wrong side of the road'. And there are a few forum members who are very anti-car rental, but sometimes it's the best/easiest way. I know it certainly allowed us to save money on the other end by allowing us to stay a little further away from train stations (not a fan of using taxis) or staying in smaller towns with little or no public transport. When we rented in the north of France, we stayed with some couchsurfers in a beautiful converted mill in a tiny blip on the map called Amblie (pop 275-ish). Wouldn't have been possible without a vehicle, and we met some lovely people.

Hubby and I love to do something big, and then throw in something a little less on the radar. Our first trip was to Italy, and we stayed in Rome and Venice, but we also stayed in Corniglia (the least popular of the Cinque Terre towns) and Bologna and Genoa. Yes, out FIRST trip! We didn't even do (*gasps) Florence until our 3rd visit! In Germany, we stayed a night in Augsburg. In Switzerland, we stayed in Spiez. I'm not going to poop on anyone who wanted to do the Rome-Florence-Venice trifecta. But I'll tell you, the two times we visited NYC, we ended up in Times Sq almost every blessed day. And every time we go to Boston, we hit Quincy Market. And when we return for more than 2 nights to Germany, most likely N'stein will be on our visit list!

Posted by
13363 posts

I take the trains in Europe because I'm too lazy to deal with driving. I can sleep on the train but would have to pay attention to the road, traffic, etc if I drove instead. In Germany and Austria I can pay attention to the scenery and landscape when I'm not sleeping on the train.

In Austria there is more of a chance sitting in a compartment, which means more of a chance getting into a conversation with the locals. In the last couple of years on those trips were some nice and interesting conversations.

Posted by
8646 posts

Paul, the thread you describe as rude and posted a link to was not rude imo. All a matter of one’s perspective and sensitivity. I thought every answer was very helpful and it was very kind of each poster to take the time to try to help the OP have a good trip, including Lubitsch.

Posted by
441 posts

Wow, I had no idea that an entire other thread was going on that was basically about one of my posts (and the replies). I do agree with many on here, and I do think that some in the Germany 'group' can come off as a little bit rude. I didn't say that was their intention, but it does come off that way, at least through the lens of the interwebs. You can help people and also not be condescending, which is how I felt with a handful of the replies, even if there was useful information in there. And some people were both helpful and kind, which is always appreciated. I still have questions but I am not sure I want to post them LOL.

If anyone was curious, I am still doing many of the Bavarian/Rhineland touristy things we wanted to do, but have scrapped N'stein, not because I don't want to see it (I still do), but it doesn't fit in the itinerary as well. I think it's going to be great, but I am honestly not as excited for this trip as I was for last year's trip to Italy, which was VERY TOURISTY ( a la RS guidebook) and also some of the best days of my life...I see no issues with doing touristy things at all--there is a reason they are popular! :)

Judy-your trip sounds amazing and really fun, and I 100% get what you mean. I'm glad you guys had a blast!

Anyway, I just felt like I needed to chime in (idk why). I get a lot from this forum, and I will continue to read and write when appropriate. But last week was emotionally challenging in part because of the self-doubt I put myself through after reading so many posts from people who were really down on my itinerary. I admit it was self-inflicted and I could have ignored it all, but who is good at that? ;)

I guess I just want to say-be nice. It doesn't cost a darn thing to be nice.

Posted by
416 posts

And now it's my turn to ask..... OP Paul, what happened to all of your posts??

Posted by
6583 posts

Judy, only two people could have deleted all of Paul's posts - the webmaster and Paul himself. I don't remember any of those posts being worthy of having the webmaster delete them without an explanation, so I will assume that Paul deleted them. I'm not sure why Paul would have deleted them, but it happens sometimes.

if you're really curious you can PM him and ask him why.

Posted by
2686 posts

No way is Nigel like Ed. Nigel is the nicest person could know. We had breakfast with him and his wife in September when we were in London.