Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Germany: A Summary

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After eleven days of traveling, we made our way back to Izmir happy, tired, and a little hungover.  Words cannot explain how much fun we had in Germany or how much we adored the German culture (and food and beverages!).

After three months of life in Turkey, a little bit of German order and structure was refreshing.  For example, in Turkey, there are crosswalks, but no one uses them.  People just cross when they think it's safe. In Germany, a man glared at us for jaywalking even when there weren't any cars coming.   I think we were both happy to be in our apartment and to be able to relax, but coming back to Izmir wasn't as easy as I would have liked.  I'm always secretly kind of excited to get home after a vacation.  I am a person who thrives on routines and normalcy, so going home is always comforting after a vacation.  This part remained true, but the dark clouds of Turkey that loomed over us when we left were still there.  We still don't know anyone here and haven't had much luck meeting people.  The language barrier is still a thing and even though I'll be starting language school again soon, it's a tough language.  Mike is still trying to figure out the school thing (more coming on that soon) and it's proving to be more challenging than we though.  All that being said, I was happy to get back and in a routine.  Plus, I was getting a little tired of sausages and beer ;)

Now that it's all done and we've had a little bit of time to soak in everything on our trip, we're still in love with Germany.  We're already planning our next Oktoberfest trip for next year.  We're thinking Stuttgart and a western Germany trip.  Anyone want to join us?  We've heard Stuttgart actually hosts the best Oktoberfest.

I didn't know anything about German geography before this trip, so I had to look at the map a ton to visualize where we were going and how far things were.  For the most part, we didn't drive more than a couple of hours each day, but here's the breakdown of how we planned the trip (each of the cities should link to the blog posts).

We first flew from Izmir to Cologne where we spent a full day and a night before leaving early.
We then flew to Munich and drove to Dachau (an hour and a half) where we spent the afternoon before driving an hour or two to Garmisch.
After two nights in Garmisch, we drove two hours to Neuschweinstein, then to Regensberg with a stop at the Church of Weis in between.
After a night in Regensburg, we drove about an hour and half to Bamberg where we spent the day.  After a day there, we drove another hour to Weimar, which we found kind of disappointing, but stayed the night.
The next day, we had a three hour drive to Berlin, but we stopped in Wittenberg on the way.
After two days in Berlin, we drove an  hour to Dresden to see another scholar, Claire, where we spent a day and night.
Our last stop was Munich for Oktoberfest,  which was a five hour drive from Berlin.
After two days at Oktoberfest, we flew directly back to Izmir and slept for days.

I'm not sure if you can actually see the cities and stopping points, but here's a little map of our driving tour

And last but not least, I wanted to let Mike put all of his hard work to use.  After drinking over 90 beers in 11 days and refusing to order anything but coffee or beer at a restaurant ("water is for the weak" was his unspoken motto), here are Mike's top beer recommendations from his eleven day drinking tour.  He picked his favorite type of each style beer (after consulting his trusty Untappd app where he logged all 90 beers over the week.  If you have the app, friend him. He'll love it!) and this is the list he came up with 

Mike's German Beer Recommendations
  • Ayinger Brauweisse
  • Kloster Scheyern Dopplebock Dunkle 
  • Koenig Ludwig Dunkle (dark lager)
  • Peter's Kolsch
  • Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier (found in Bamberg)
  • Hacker-Pschorr's Oktoberfest

We loved Germany and are definitely feeling the post-vacation blues.  We can't wait to go back, but I think our bodies and our bank accounts are glad for a little break :)