vanguard737
Topic Author
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First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:34 pm

Hello, Everyone:

I will be going on my first trip to Germany (and Europe) at the end of September through mid October. I am extremely excited, as I have wanted to go to Germany since I was 14! I am flying ORD - FRA, then taking the train to Munich for Oktoberfest, then up to Berlin for a few days, finally back to FRA for my flight back to ORD.

Since I have never been to Europe, I am wondering what advice you may have for what to pack and especially how to dress in Germany. I do not want to stick out like a typical American tourist! So, how would a 'typical' 25 year old German man dress? I have a pretty good fashion sense, but wonder if there are any specific things to avoid wearing or if you have any advice of what would be GOOD to bring or wear.

Aside from that, any general tips or recommendations for things to see or places to stay would be appreciated!

Vielen Dank!
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Luftfahrer
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:18 am

Quoting vanguard737 (Thread starter):
I am wondering what advice you may have for what to pack and especially how to dress in Germany. I do not want to stick out like a typical American tourist!

I have been to the US a couple of times in the last years and, wearing the clothes I bought in Germany, I never stood out in any way. Vice versa for the clothes I bought in the US which I wear here.   So in general there are no big differences when it comes to what people wear. The only thing I have noticed is that American gals und guys dress way more lightly even when it gets cold outside. Most Germans however will switch from short pants and mini skirts to jeans as soon as the temperatures drop. So take care, October is a good month to do city trips here but there may be cold days as well!

Quoting vanguard737 (Thread starter):
things to see or places to stay

So you are visiting Munich, Berlin and perhaps a bit of Frankfurt. There is a myriad of things to do.  So I will just cut down on my favorite things to do in and around Munich as I go there quite often. I spent some time in Berlin and Frankfurt in the last months but I am sure others know better, so here goes:

Munich:
•Deutsches Museum (German Museum). A great place to experience technology and science.
•Flugwerft Schleißheim, actually a part of the German Museum. A must for aviation fans. It's located in a city outside of Munich (Oberschleißheim) but can be reached easily using the suburban train.
•Viktualienmarkt: A giant everyday market for groceries.
•If you have time, head out of the city by train towards rural Bavaria: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Tegernsee, Ammersee, Starnberger See... the two latter ones are only about half an hour away from the city center; the former ones could be visited in a day trip.
•If you are into sports, it's soccer season and Munich's got a decent team.


Quoting vanguard737 (Thread starter):
Vielen Dank!

Enjoy your trip. Viel Spaß!
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BAViscount
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:03 am

Quoting vanguard737 (Thread starter):
Since I have never been to Europe, I am wondering what advice you may have for what to pack and especially how to dress in Germany. I do not want to stick out like a typical American tourist! So, how would a 'typical' 25 year old German man dress?

Just don't do what Brits abroad tend to do these days and think that as you're on holiday (vacation) that you have to wear shorts! Five or six years ago I went to Stockholm for easter, which was quite early that year (late March) - there was still snow on the ground and the lake would freeze overnight, but I could always identify my fellow Brits on the streets as they were the ones in shorts!! Dress for the season - I've been to Munich many many times and in October it can be quite chilly. Dress sensibly rather than fashionably and you should fit right in. Not that the Germans aren't fashionable - far from it - but in my personal experience they're more practical when it comes to outdoor clothing! 
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signol
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:13 am

Quoting Luftfahrer (Reply 1):
Munich's got a decent team

Only one?  

Besides avoiding the stereotypes of shouting at the top of your voice about how things are better in the USA, one thing I noticed about American tourists is that they tend to wear baseball caps all the time, especially ones with a company logo or obscure team. Be aware, though, that being a tourist can actually help - several people have started conversations with me after it being obvious that I was foreign.

Another thing is to try to learn at least a few phrases in German. Many Germans speak English, but it's good to make the effort  

If you haven't already booked accommodation for the Oktoberfest already, you may struggle to find something - it gets booked up very early.

Have a good trip!

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
vanguard737
Topic Author
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:17 am

Quoting Luftfahrer (Reply 1):
Munich:
•Deutsches Museum (German Museum). A great place to experience technology and science.
•Flugwerft Schleißheim, actually a part of the German Museum. A must for aviation fans.

That sounds fascinating!

Quoting Luftfahrer (Reply 1):
Enjoy your trip. Viel Spaß!

Danke!
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vanguard737
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:20 am

Quoting signol (Reply 3):
Another thing is to try to learn at least a few phrases in German.

Agreed. I actually speak semi-fluent German. Studied four years in high school and for two years at university.

I have not booked accommodation in Munich yet, I am definitely afraid of the sure-to-be-high prices this late in the game. I was looking at the Hotel Falkenturm...seems nice!
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signol
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:34 am

Quoting vanguard737 (Reply 5):
I was looking at the Hotel Falkenturm...seems nice!

It does look nice...

I went to Oktoberfest myself a few years ago, on my stag party. We stayed here:
http://www.hotel-mariahilf.de/
Was nice, quiet, and a tram ride from the centre. My best man who booked it said it was one of the only places left in the city with rooms, and it was booked in May...

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
coachclass
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:22 pm

I agree with standing out in shorts, baseball caps and sandals. No college stuff. Most young people however, dress very similarly. Often, however, the guy wearing the New York tee-shirt and Yankees' baseball cap is not American. I think it's better to over-dress than be too casual. Germany is still rather conservative/formal in public behavior. Use "Sie" with all people, even guys your own age until told otherwise.

And, if you want to really fit in, when you go to the breakfast room in the morning, make sure you say Guten Morgen when entering, not necessarily to anyone in particular but the room in general, and when in Munich, "Gruess Gott" will be welcomed.

And don't forget to get your train ticket or bus/subway ticket stamped/validated at the (usually) yellow box before boarding.
Alles gut.
 
FlyingHollander
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:27 pm

As signol said baseball caps will definitely let people know you're American. Also running/tennis shoes will look strange if you are not jogging.
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Yflyer
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:54 pm

One of my favorite things in Berlin was the "free" walking tour (I put "free" in quotes because even though you don't have to pay to participate you really ought to tip your guide if you enjoyed it). Berlin has such a fascinating history and it's good to have someone who's an expert on that history tell you about it.
 
BAViscount
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:21 pm

Quoting CoachClass (Reply 7):
And don't forget to get your train ticket or bus/subway ticket stamped/validated at the (usually) yellow box before boarding.

Yes, I've made that mistake in Munich before - it can be embarrassing! Although I had been to Munich many times before, I'd always used a "Streifenkarte" (multi-journey "strip card" ticket) to get around on public transport. I knew I had to fold the card at the appropriate place and insert it into the validating machine before starting each journey. But on one particular visit for some reason I only bought a single ticket to get from MUC to Michaelibad, the nearest U-Bahn station to where my cousin was living at the time. I don't know why, but it didn't occur to me that I also had to validate the single ticket in the machine, so happily jumped on the S-Bahn at the airport and changed onto the U-Bahn at Ostbahnhof. It was on that final leg of my journey on the U5 that a group of ticket inpectors boarded the train and they came down on me like a ton of bricks when they found I hadn't validated my ticket! I played the innocent of course and after much discussion amongst themselves they decided to just stamp my ticket and let me off without a fine. But of course all eyes were on me while this was going on and I got many "dumb effing tourist" looks from the locals!
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aklrno
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:43 pm

Quoting FlyingHollander (Reply 8):

As signol said baseball caps will definitely let people know you're American. Also running/tennis shoes will look strange if you are not jogging.

Actually almost any shoes will give you away. For some reason American shoe styles (even though world wide they all come from the same places) seem to be just unique enough so that I can usually pick Americans out by their shoes. Lots of young people everywhere wear athletic shoes. Once you get past 25 or 30 it then becomes an American look.

I do agree about the baseball caps. Just leave them at home. Has anyone mentioned size yet? Americans tend to be a lot heavier than Europeans.
 
airport1970
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:17 am

Quoting aklrno (Reply 11):
Actually almost any shoes will give you away.

So true. It is hard to explain but when I travel to Europe one thing always stands out to me...in a 'fashion sense'... The preference of a 'skinny' look in clothes and in shoes. You may not believe it but you'll laugh when you get over there and see the difference in shoe styles. Think B757 pencil Pumas and not A380 wide bodied Nikes. lol.

[Edited 2011-09-02 04:35:33]
 
gunsontheroof
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:31 am

Quoting Yflyer (Reply 9):
One of my favorite things in Berlin was the "free" walking tour (I put "free" in quotes because even though you don't have to pay to participate you really ought to tip your guide if you enjoyed it). Berlin has such a fascinating history and it's good to have someone who's an expert on that history tell you about it.

I would second this suggestion. I went on a similar (if not the same) tour when I was in Berlin and loved it!

As for fashion and whatnot, I wouldn't worry about it too much--especially since you speak fluent German. Germans are some of the nicest folks in Europe (in my experience) and I got by just fine using my feeble German skills where appropriate and being friendly and polite. Try and make it to Hamburg if you have the chance--for lack of a better term, it's got it's own "vibe" going on and is a lot of fun if you're looking for some interesting evenings out on the town! Have fun!
 
tcasalert
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:27 pm

Quoting vanguard737 (Thread starter):
Since I have never been to Europe, I am wondering what advice you may have for what to pack and especially how to dress in Germany. I do not want to stick out like a typical American tourist! So, how would a 'typical' 25 year old German man dress? I have a pretty good fashion sense, but wonder if there are any specific things to avoid wearing or if you have any advice of what would be GOOD to bring or wear.

I visted CGN a few years back.

I believe this is standard attire, based on my experiences:



I think the Stein is optional.
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NoUFO
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:18 pm

Quoting vanguard737 (Thread starter):
and especially how to dress in Germany. I do not want to stick out like a typical American tourist!
http://cache.virtualtourist.com/4/3245940.jpg
Seen in Berlin

More ideas for Berlin:

Berlin underground tours if you are interested in history:
http://berliner-unterwelten.de/guided-tours.3.1.html

Visiting the Reichstag cupola and roof terrace now requires advance registration!
https://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/visits/kupp.html
Online form:
https://www.bundestag.de/besuche/besucherdienst/index.jsp (german)
or:
kuppelbesuch@bundestag.de

Take bus 100 from Zoo Station (Zoologischer Bahnhof) to Alex (Alexanderplatz) and bus 200 back (or vice versa). You'll basically do a seightsseing tour without paying extra (and without the introductions of course - so what).

Check out this:
http://festival-of-lights.de/en/

If you are only halfway into museums, consider seeing
Deutsches Technikmuseum (http://www.sdtb.de/English.122.0.html)
Filmmuseum (http://www.deutsche-kinemathek.de/)
Pergamonmuseum (http://www.smb.museum/smb/standorte/index.php?objID=27&p=2&lang=en)
Jüdisches Museum (http://www.jmberlin.de/main/EN/homepage-EN.php)

Ever wanted to drive a Trabi?
http://cms.trabi-safari.de/opencms/o...bi-safari/en/_main/home/index.html

If you have a day to spare, visit Potsdam with Sanssouci Palace, the Dutch Quarter, perhaps Cecilienhof (Potsdam Conference) ...
http://www.potsdam-tourism.com/

Explore Berlin Mitte (Spandauer Vorstadt) and Prenzlauer Berg by foot:
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/c8106/12626/4/

Accomodation:
Circus Hotel
http://www.circus-berlin.de/1/circus_hotel_berlin.html
(or its sibling Circus Hostel if you prefer)

// ----------

Munich (in addition to what others have said so far):

Climb up St. Peter's church near Marienplatz (center of Munich)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter%27s_Church_%28Munich%29

Starnberg Lake only on sunny - not hazy! - days, otherwise you won't see the Alps in the background, rendering the trip basically worthless.

When you cross Viktualienmarkt (already mentioned), you'll find Reichenbachst. Go down the street to find Gärtnerplatz.
The area around there (the so called Glockenbachviertel) is a nice place to be on a warm evening (hopefully there will be one or another).

Take the subway to Thalkirchen (Tierpark), cross the bridge (Tierparkst) and walk along river Isar in direction downtown.
You can always cross the river again and find an S- or U-Bahn station nearby.

Accomodation:
Perhaps consider Motel One *Sendlinger Tor*
http://www.motel-one.com/uk/hotels/munich.html

Enjoy your trip!
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NoUFO
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:32 pm

Quoting TCASAlert (Reply 14):
I think the Stein is optional.

Of course not! And where is the Gamsbart on the hat?
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blink182
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:15 am

No flipflops! Seeing as you are a male and will be in Munich during Oktoberfest, you should grip only the handle of your beer glass, not the glass itself. I don't know if I was lied to by some local friends, but I was told that gripping the glass is for women only.

And no, there won't be any Miller, Coors, or Bud Light available, so get over it .

As for Berlin, the city seems to have a historical marker on every corner.
I highly recommend going to the Holocaust Memorial(the one with the massive cement blocks that undulate). Its one of the most poignant memorials I've been to, and there's a museum attached that is worth visiting. The Jewish Museum is a neat building, but it is extremely dense. If you're short on time, I would skip it in favor of the Holocaust memorial and museum.

The area around Alexander Platz and Fernsehturm shows a lot of the "highlights" of the DDR. As of a few years ago, Potsdamer Platz had four or five sections of the Wall prominently displayed.
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Luftfahrer
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:17 am

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 15):

I must say I am always impressed how much you know about things to do and see in German cities; I will for sure check out some of your suggestions next time I am in Munich or Berlin.  
Quoting NoUFO (Reply 15):
Motel One

Might even be a good idea for Berlin, I have heard a lot of good reviews on them.
'He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified.' Joseph Conrad
 
NoUFO
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:12 pm

Quoting blink182 (Reply 17):
but I was told that gripping the glass is for women only.

It is for those only who do not know that gripping your glass will make the beer go warm (and therefore stale) quite quickly.

It might be a personal thing, as I can't stand beer tents anyway, but even if, I'd probably still advise not to have a beer at Oktoberfest. You'll line up in a row for hours only to pay an arm and a leg for a beer you can get for a fraction of costs at a more beautiful spot, such as a beergarden in Englischer Garten or at river Isar.
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NoUFO
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:30 pm

Quoting Luftfahrer (Reply 18):
I must say I am always impressed how much you know about things to do and see in German cities

Thanks, appreciated.

Quoting Luftfahrer (Reply 18):
Might even be a good idea for Berlin, I have heard a lot of good reviews on them.

Might very well be, however The Circus, despite its childish name, is the bang-for-buck accomodation in Berlin. There is no air-conditioning nor a mini-bar, but in late September or mid October the original poster won't need a/c anyway. And as for the mini-bar, there are plenty of afforable bars and restaurants around. All he needs to do is walk down Weinbergsweg/Kastanienallee which happens to be across main street.
The Circus is situated at the border of Berlin Mitte (south) and Prenzlauer Berg (north), both nice boroughs to be, the one more touristy (Mitte) the other one would be my fav. residential area. Spent years there ....:

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...non_aviation/print.main?id=1841084

[Edited 2011-09-04 15:41:01]
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copter808
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:41 pm

If you're going to get to southern Germany, I would highly recommend getting a car in Munich and driving down to Neuschwanstein Castle in Hohenschwangau, near the town town of Fussen. I did it about 3 years ago and drove south from Munich, through Austria, then north back into Germany.

A most worthwhile diversion and can easily be done in a day.
 
NoUFO
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RE: First Trip To Germany! Need Advice.

Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:53 pm

Quoting copter808 (Reply 21):
I would highly recommend getting a car in Munich and driving down to Neuschwanstein Castle in Hohenschwangau, near the town town of Fussen.

*

Ah, yes the fairytale castle.
If you have no other thing to do with your car, I'd suggest to take the train instead. There is something called Bayernticket (Bavaria-Ticket), a day-pass valid in all of Bavaria, including subways, buses (e.g. from Füssen to the castle) and what not.You can even use the ticket to go to Salzburg, Austria. Much cheaper than a rental car.
Terms and conditions here:
http://www.toytowngermany.com/wiki/Bayern_ticket

If you want to see the castle from the inside, book your ticket in advance here:
https://www.hohenschwangau.de/?id=856

* P.S.: It is Füssen or Fuessen but not Fussen! If I am not mistaken, Fussen exists but it is somewehere else.  
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