Get Away: Bavaria, Germany
When I think of Germany, a few specific things come to mind. Bratwurst. The autobahn. Lederhosen. Consonants. While the Germany that exists in my mind is pretty contrary to most of the things that really excite me in life (the opportunity to drive cars absurdly fast not withstanding), it's still a more desirable vacation locale than it would be if I were transported back in time to medieval Bavaria, as in The Hangman's Daughter. Described earlier this week as full of "magic, darkness, humor and history," the place sounds interesting, for sure, but creepier than my tastes prefer. Now that it's October, though, I am putting aside my fears of executioners and dark spells and deciding what I would do in Bavaria with a blank check. Check out our recommendation of The Hangman's Daughter, the book that inspired this wishlist.
(Click images to enlarge.)
For the flight over, I would prefer to travel Lufthansa and catch up on the Hangman's Daughter trilogy while snacking on soft pretzels. Upon landing in Munich, I would like to hunt down some of the treasures that contributed to the city's prosperity during medieval times. In the late 1100s, Munich's population of 2,500 was walled in, only able to get in and out via five gates. The Marienplatz was the city's grain market, one of the few remaining landmarks of the time. It is there that the famous Glockenspiel lives, along with city hall. The area remains a focal point of the city to this day.
If you can't wait to see the Marienplatz, check it out via live webcam here.
Next, I would travel north to Regensburg, a biggish town situated at the crossing of the Danube and Regen rivers. This city is a hotbed of medieval history, with the town center named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its preservation of the architecture that typified life in the 11th to 13th centuries. It is also the only historic city in Germany to have survived World War II. This town is a dream for history buffs. Now, with a population of over 133,000 and industry operates in the area outside the old city. This is a place to be seen on foot, through dark alleys and under towering structures. Highlights include the Prince Thurn and Taxis Palace, where the aforementioned princes lived for two centuries. This palace is still used as a royal residence.
The Stone Bridge is another essential sight in Regensburg. As the only physical crossing, this bridge dictated the flow of traffic across the Danube for nearly 800 years. Protected fiercely by UNESCO and the townspeople, the old Steinerne Brücke was also the location from which the Third Crusade was launched. Get a 360 view of the 310 meter-long bridge from this panorama.
The final stop on my dream trip deviates from the medieval Bavarian theme by heading to Nuremberg, another of the region's largest cities, to delight in its modern offerings. Yes, the city's more recent history involves the Nazi war crimes trials, but (much) prior to that it was known for its arts and sciences. Still, Frommer's says it's a city full of great restaurants, and who am I to disagree? Of all the restaurants on their list, Essigbrätlein is the most enticing. "Food critics single this out as the best dining spot in Nürnberg, and we heartily agree," they say. "Its upscale Franconian and Continental cuisine is reason enough to visit the city."
Unexpected? Yes. Unwelcome? Certainly not.
Your turn: What would you do with a free trip to Bavaria? If you've been, share some sightseeing or culinary tips in the comments!