A friend and I spent 3 weeks in Germany in May. Our original itinerary consisted of Berlin (8 nights), the Black Forest (5 nights), Bodensee/Lake Constance (4 nights), and Berchtesgadener Land (5 nights). An airline misadventure resulted in an extra night in Berlin.
We are both in our 40’s – one male, one female. We have been traveling together for 3 years and do one “big” trip to Europe each year (Austria 2014, Italy 2015, Germany/Austria 2016). We enjoy history, music, and outdoor activities. I have also been learning German in my free time over the last 2 years.
Resources used for planning include the Lonely Planet Germany guide, the Rough Guide to Berlin (thanks, Fred), Slow Travel Berlin’s 100 Favourite Places, Rick Steves’ Germany guide, David Harper’s Your Complete Guide to Berchtesgaden, Cicero hiking guides for the Black Forest and for the Bavarian Alps, Trip Advisor, and RS Forum contributors like you.
Our trip was great. We originally had the Black Forest and Berchtesgaden switched in terms of order, but read Rick’s advice to do the Black Forest first. We were certainly glad we did. I think we would have been disappointed in the Black Forest had we encountered the grandeur of the Alps prior to it. The final order also allowed us to end the trip at a gorgeous place and on a very high note.
I always wonder how much people want to read in these trip reviews. For anyone who is interested in the daily activities, here’s the blow-by-blow report…
BERLIN. After spending a week in Berlin last year, we were “thirsty for more,” to borrow a line from Home Alone. We once again stayed at mittendrin, a B&B in the former West Berlin just off Ku’damm near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. This place – a 4-room establishment run by a former stage actress from Munich – is awesome. The amazing breakfast is shared at a communal table with the lovely owner and guests from around the world. I can’t recommend it more highly and look forward to a return visit. We made good use of the 3 U stations within a couple of blocks of the establishment.
Day 1 – We arrived late due to a missed connection in Amsterdam. We wandered around looking for a place to eat, ended up at Savigny Platz, and had some great (and inexpensive) Indian food at Ashoka. After that, we walked to the Tiergarten and followed the Lonely Planet “Leisurely Tiergarten Meander,” which was great. While doing the walk, we ran across a Michael Jackson memorial tree – that was just kind of weird.
Day 2 – We made a brief stop at the makeshift memorial for those who died in the Dec 2016 Christmas market attack outside the new Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and then headed to the Allierten Museum (Allies Museum), which occupies a small part of the old US military area in West Berlin (including its movie theater). Admission is free to the museum that tells the story of post WWII Berlin and the struggle between Russia and the remaining allies to possess the hearts (and souls!) of Berliners. On Sundays, visitors can pay 1 euro to board a Hastings TG 503 Cargo plane used in the Berlin Airlift. That museum was followed by another, The Story of Berlin, which traces the history of Berlin and includes a tour of an underground bomb shelter built during the Cold War to “protect” some West Berliners in the event of a nuclear war. The tour of the bunker convinced me that I would have wanted to be standing on the spot where the bomb hit, not “safe” in the bunker.