The imposing gothic twin towers of the Cologne cathedral, one of Germany’s best known churches. AP PHOTO/Knippertz
The imposing gothic twin towers of the Cologne cathedral, one of Germany’s best known churches. AP PHOTO/Knippertz

TRAVEL: German conundrum. Beer or wine?

GERMANY is one of Europe's biggest countries; economically it is the big Brother of the Euro Zone. The country itself has a checkered history, however the German people are resilient and proud. Germany is what some might say is a bit of a conundrum. They like festivals and parties (Oktoberfest) where copious amounts of beer are drunk and on the other hand they are also renowned for their spectacular valleys with the Rhine meandering through the middle, with slopes covered in vines that grow magnificent wines and the occasional old derelict castle thrown in to add to the scenery. So you can see that one is of a beer swilling culture that loves a good time and yet there is also a side refined and appreciative of finer things.

A lot of us when we travel or are planning to travel to Europe might not consider what Germany has to offer and so we just skip through there on our way to another European country that we feel has more to offer. Let's explore a few of Germany's well-known cities.

Berlin

We all know how Berlin was divided up post WWII and how amazing it was to watch on TV as that wall that divided a City came down. 23 Years on Berlin has been reborn and is now a city with grit and glamour. The city has amazing museums and galleries and a visit to Berlin wouldn't be complete unless you visited the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. Berlin has an energy about it that can be contagious. The cafes are always jammed and drinking religiously, having a good time in a club seems to be a given rite for Berliners. Getting around the city is not a problem with a public transport system which is cheap on time and modern. When you are out at night you can walk from club to club without fear of being robbed. The Berliners who have created a city worth visiting.

Cologne

This is Germany fourth largest city dating back to 38 BC. The city is a textbook of history and architecture. There are still ruminants of the Roman occupation. There are medieval churches everywhere, and not to mention the avant-garde museums and concert halls. A visit to Cologne would not be complete if you did not visit the Kolner Dom. It is regarded as the Mt Everest of cathedrals and is one of Germany's most popular tourist attractions.

Dresden

Once regarded as the Florence of the North, Dresden is the centre of artistic activity. You notice this when you walk around the city and see iconic buildings like the Zwinger, The Frauenkirche and the Hofkirche. The city was nearly wiped of the map during the Second World War with allied forces continually bombing the city and turning it into rubble. The city has a great mixture of new and old architecture, combined with constantly evolving arts and cultural movement, a healthy pub scene and nightlife. Dresden is well worth a visit.

Qantas Airlines has a sale on at the moment that finishes on June 2. It does not mean you have to travel by that date, just book and pay. Airfares start from $1750 per person return inclusive of all fees and taxes.



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