Tschuss Amerika, Hallo Deutschland!

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After an 11-hour flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt, Germany, I was exhausted.  But when we descended below the clouds and I could see the rolling hills and clusters of villages, I was suddenly awake.  Even in the dismal grayness of winter, I could still see for miles.  As the plane touched down, I turned to the gentleman next to me and said, “It’s good to be home.”

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I moved to Germany in high school, and over the past six years, I’ve learned about the country’s culture and food, people and traditions, and tourist attractions and hidden gems.  It would be impossible for me to walk you through all of the incredible aspects of Germany in a single post, so I’ll settle for my top favorites.

1.  Garmisch

Just a 45-minute train ride outside of Munich, the town of Garmisch is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.  Whether you’re looking to ski or just experience the views, Garmisch has something for everyone.  With the towering Zugspitze — the highest point in Germany — in the background and the green surrounding fields, the beauty of Garmisch is indescribable.  The sights and overall atmosphere make Garmisch a perfectly romantic place to experience with your significant other.

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Not only is Garmisch a sight to see, there is tons to do! Parasailing, hiking, biking, skiing, shopping, eating, drinking — you name it, they’ve got it. There are even hidden waterfalls that are easy to get to and wonderful to experience.

2.  Bernkastel

Located along the Moselle river, Bernkastel is a great place for a day trip or for a weekend on the water.  It’s small and quaint but has a strong history and provides insight into the German wine country.  Each year, Bernkastel hosts a wine fest in the first week of September — complete with fireworks and a parade.

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3.  Rotenburg

Though I’ve only been to Rotenburg once, the town really made an impression on me.  Growing up, my parents had a picture hanging in their office of a famous street in Rotenburg, and I can remember as a child wanting to walk down the wintry street in the picture.  Though we visited Rotenburg in the summer, when the flowers were fully in bloom and the sun was shining, the town was still stunning.  Famous for this reason, Rotenburg is a must-see for any traveler.

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4.  Munich

Known for the famous Glockenspiel and Hofbrauhaus, Munich has so much history to offer.  Take an escape from the city to the Englischer Garten where the natural beauty of the gardens provides a perfect setting for a picnic lunch. Or you can take in an exciting river-surfing show on the Eisbach.  Or you can take a day trip to the memorial site of the Dachau concentration camp for an experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression.  I would recommend visiting Munich during its most exciting time — Oktoberfest!  This historical event represents the deeply rooted traditions of the city and brings together masses of international people for what I can guarantee will be an adventure.

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Contact Tara Lookabaugh at [email protected]