Like the Phoenix bird re-born from the ashes, Germany was re-born from the conflagrations of history. A longtime major industrial and cultural power, Germany is the largest economy of Europe and the fourth largest in the world. Highly-developed and industrialized, one cannot but mention, like in France’s case, a short and rather unjust list of names and places which have enhanced Germany as a major world power. When we speak of Germany, we mean people like Beethoven Goethe, Albrecht Durer, Brandt, and Planck; places like Berlin and Munich; or products like Mercedes-Benz and BMW; and of teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund…They all conjure up a myriad of thoughts and words which have shaped the world as we know it. Nowhere could this be expressed than in the epic German cities, which are a quixotic combination of unique medieval architecture and ultra-modern conceptions, with Art Nouveau in between—and above all—the unmatched German landscape and efficiency which really makes visiting the country a must on anyone’s bucket list.
The capital of and largest city in Germany, Berlin is the kind of city where vibrant life, modernity and the classic meet to offer a remarkable cocktail of ultra cosmopolitan lifestyle seldom matched by any other city in Europe. Replete with world renowned theatres, orchestras, universities, and museums, Berlin is synonymous with liveliness, intellectual stimulus and certainly lots of fun. Take a tour along the Spree River to catch a glimpse of the imposing Reichstag with its glass dome, or pass from under the city’s most famous landmark, the Brandenburg Gate and its lavish gardens, the Pariser Platz. You can also inspect a fraction of the past by visiting remnants of the Berlin Wall. Needless to say, Berlin is oversaturated with thousands of stylish cafes, trendy shops, fine restaurants, and there’s just not enough time to tell which gallery, museum, or square you might choose to go and visit—it’s full of the best and it’s never over! You might choose to watch and listen to a performance of Beethoven at the world famous Berliner Philharmonie, perhaps stroll along the Gendarmenmarkt, maybe do some frivolous shopping at Europe’s second largest department store, the Kaufhaus des Westens—Germany’s answer to Harrod’s. Frantic during the day, intellectual and orderly in the afternoon, and neurasthenic at night, Berlin will never ever be a boring place for anyone, much less a disappointment in anything—it has everything and anything each taste could possibly muster, and that in itself says it all.
This is delightful city is only second to Berlin in culture and vivacity, though at times more so than its much bigger sister. Munich is home to thousands of well-preserved medieval, classical and Renaissance buildings like the ones encountered around Munich’s main square, Marienplatz, or along Ludwigstrasse; all coexisting with ultra modern architecture as evinced in the Allianz Stadium and the headquarters of BMW. Munich has had such an alluring charm and intellectual power, at times rivaling that of Berlin, that is has been the host of many famous people like Mozart, Wagner, and Henrik Ibsen. As such, Munich is packed with dozens of concert venues and museums like the Nationaltheatre, home to the Bavarian State Opera and Orchestra, and the Deutsches Museum, visited by a staggering 1.5 million people a year. Oktoberfest anynone? Yes! This is the place to be for fun, wurst and…you guessed it—more fun! Held roughly for 3 weeks between late September and mid October, Oktoberfest somehow pioneered many festivals around the world, but nothing compares to the unique Bavarian notion of having a drink with family and friends, music, dancing, wurst, and, well, more drinking! The festival also offers some displays of Bavarian culture, with people dressed in traditional clothes and performing traditional Bavarian dances, let alone the myriad number of games fairs, food and souvenir concession stands beautifully adorned with Bavarian motifs.