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Old 04-25-2012, 01:28 PM   #1
_Q_
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I will be going to Germany, Czech Republic and maybe Austria in a couple of weeks. I am planning on visiting Frankfurt, Dresden, Prague and Munich for sure. Other than that, I am pretty open to anything else. I plan on traveling between the cities using rail and staying in hotels as close to the downtown area as possible. I would appreciate some suggestions or tips from anyone that has been to that part of the world.

Also, I have heard stories of racism in Germany. Is this true? I am an Arab Muslim guy traveling with my white girlfriend. I don't look overly Arab and don't consider myself a practicing muslim, yet I am definitely not a blonde haired, blue eyed Aryan. Any suggestions to avoid getting into trouble with Neo-Nazis?
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:47 PM   #2
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I'd add Berlin to the list. It's a very cool city and shouldn't be missed if you're already in Germany.

I wouldn't really worry too much about racism. There are lots of different races in Germany and Austria (a lot of Turks especially). Of course, that's not to say there isn't racism, but it's not like they've never seen a non-blonde haired person before.
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:49 PM   #3
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I doubt you will have any trouble on the racism front if you are westernized and speak English.

One thing though is that most of Europe didn't have the civil rights movements that North America had; therefore many people don't have the sensitivity conditioning that we have. For example, one of my Chinese-Canadian friend went to Austria, Hungary, Germany, Poland and Belarus, and he said that people kept jokingly referring to him as Jackie Chan. I sort of cringed when I heard that, but I doubt they meant anything rude. To his credit, he has a very good sense of humour about it.
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:59 PM   #4
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I did roughly the same trip last fall. I went Frankfurt - Leipzig - Berlin - Prague - Vienna - Munich - Stuttgart - Frankfurt (with day trip to Cologne).

Definitely go to Berlin too. It's a great city with interesting 20th Century history.


I bought a Eurail pass for the trains. They only sell it to non-Europeans, so order it before you leave Canada.

For hotels, I booked primarily with Hotwire and looked for 3.5-4 star hotels that were central to the city. Doing that, I got decent prices on most places, and everything was within walking distance of a U-Bahn or S-Bahn station and/or the city centre.


I'm as German looking as you can get, so I can't really comment on the racism. I didn't notice anything blatant, but I wasn't looking for it either.
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:22 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot guys.

Also, how difficult is it to get train on the same day? Do i need to buy it in advance online?
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:38 PM   #6
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Frankfurt is not especially interesting - it is somewhat like a North American city, with skyscrapers and a big financial district. Close to there, I would recommend touring the Rhine from Weisbaden up to Koblenz, and up the Mosel to Trier from there. Koln (Cologne) is interesting to visit.

Aeneas could give you plenty of good advice about travel in Germany and Europe.
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:38 PM   #7
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Suggestions: Frankfurt the town is meh, but the surrounding countryside is one of the best parts of Germany. Rent a car, and explore the small towns on the Rhine between Frankfurt and Koblenz. There are a ton of small castles along that river that have loads of character. Riverside cafes, ect. are pretty great in that part of the world as well. If you venture towards the French border, the terrain gets hillier, and is pretty awesome as well.



I recommend Marksburg Castle,Toll station Pfaltzgrafstein, Castles Katz and Maus along the Rhine. Boppard has Roman ruins, and is a great place to stay the night or to have a good meal and have as a stopover. Loreley rock is cool enough, I guess, and the view is pretty good. Koblenz itself is a beautiful town, and worth the trip as well. It's very old.

If you are heading in the direction of France, Triefels is a cool place to go. Honestly, there is a tonne of exploring you could do in this area. I been there 4 times, and I still have not seen the best of the area. My favorite part of Germany.


Dresden is awesome. Still has some Communist architecture and public art. They have done a good job at restoring the old town. Lots of fun.


Munich. a 40min car ride from Munich is the famous Neuschwanstein castle. The inspiration for Disney. Should be one of the wonders of the world.




Right up against the mountains. If you are going to Germany, this is a place you must go to. It's not far from Munich, and I think there are tour buses that you can use to get there if you do not want to drive a car.

Speaking of Driving, the Autobahn is a lot of fun in and of itself. You can go as fast as your car will let you. And you will be passed regardless of how fast you are going. Stay to the right, and watch out for cars flashing their lights behind you. That means they are coming up fast.

Munich is also the best place for beer gardens and drinking. Berlin has a better nightlife, and Munich has better beer gardens.

If you do go to Berlin, there is a ton of things to do there, as well. However, if you are expecting to see the wall, you're about 10 years too late. The Germans are doing their best to forget that they ever were communist, and that there is anything different between the east and the west. A piece of the wall is still standing, but it's pathetic. But don't let this dissuade you from going to Berlin. It's still a really fun city, everything there is changing very quickly.


I have gone 4 times in the last 15 years, and have spent a grand total of about 6-7 months in Germany. Sometimes it feels like it's the only part of the world I actually know. Not enough people go there, it's a great place to travel to.

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Old 04-25-2012, 02:39 PM   #8
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Austria... so beautiful
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by _Q_ View Post
Thanks a lot guys.

Also, how difficult is it to get train on the same day? Do i need to buy it in advance online?
Easy. Train the same day is the same price as paying for it a month in advance in Calgary. Only savings are if you buy the ticket 2 to 3 months in advance.

I know the Eurail pass sounds like a good idea, but if you break it down, it's pretty even between the pass and buying individual tickets. Especially if you are buying short tickets, then individual ones beat the Eurail pass no question. Be careful about using up one of your eligibility days if you are not going very far.
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:43 PM   #10
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Also, I have heard stories of racism in Germany. Is this true? I am an Arab Muslim guy traveling with my white girlfriend. I don't look overly Arab and don't consider myself a practicing muslim, yet I am definitely not a blonde haired, blue eyed Aryan. Any suggestions to avoid getting into trouble with Neo-Nazis?
What is this? 1937? This statement had me laughing my ass off. Who ever told you these stories is a complete goof.

Also, don't stay in Frankfurt. There is literally nothing to do unless you want to have a company merger or something (huge finance city).
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:48 PM   #11
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What is this? 1937? This statement had me laughing my ass off. Who ever told you these stories is a complete goof.
Sadly, there is an element of anti-immigrant feeling in Germany today, mainly directed against Muslims (Turks).
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:48 PM   #12
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Sadly, there is an element of anti-immigrant feeling in Germany today, mainly directed against Muslims (Turks).
Yeah, Germans have a funny relationship with their Turks.

It's not as bad as France though with their Algerians.
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:53 PM   #13
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I found Europe in general significantly more racist than Canada, and I'm a white guy. I don't think you'll find any problems, but this a place where people complain about all the "Yugos" and various other immigrant groups. Poland is off the charts with skin heads right now as times get tough there.

Here's a campaign poster from the most popular political party in Switzerland. Guess what the black sheep represents?



Europe is awesome, but this is the biggest reason I'm proud to be Canadian.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:08 PM   #14
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Just yell out loudly that you're Canadian and they should be kissin your a$$ for bailin em out in WW2.

Then order the biggest cheese burger you can find and a diet coke (They love that)

Go to a bar and order a beer, then take a sip and declare it luke warn cow p$ss.

When you're in a hotel and you see a neatly stacked pile of magazines on the table, mess it up, even the German's know that they're completely lazy and could afford to lose a few pounds by working harder.

Go to a hot girl and tell her that you need to know where Club Vandersexe is, then ask her if she'd like to join you
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:12 PM   #15
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Austria... so beautiful
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:20 PM   #16
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You will get some fantastic advice from posters here I'm sure. The one thing I can speak to is that I lived in Europe for a year, and I found that visiting small towns and getting off the beaten path was often more enjoyable than the large cities. That is definitely the part that stuck out in my mind years after.

For example, I stayed in Prague for 4 nights and then decided to take the train to a random town called Kutna Hora, which apparently had this bone church. Well, I arrived and had no idea how the he!! to get there, so I wandered around and in largely hand-signing and pointing, found the oh-so-creepy bone church. What's interesting now though is not the church I remember, but wandering around the small town and the adventure of finding the place I knew nothing about.

Have a great trip!
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:24 PM   #17
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I found Europe in general significantly more racist than Canada, and I'm a white guy. I don't think you'll find any problems, but this a place where people complain about all the "Yugos" and various other immigrant groups. Poland is off the charts with skin heads right now as times get tough there.

Here's a campaign poster from the most popular political party in Switzerland. Guess what the black sheep represents?



Europe is awesome, but this is the biggest reason I'm proud to be Canadian.
Well I stand corrected. Still, if you speak English and wear a Canadian flag on your arm or something I don't see a problem.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:54 PM   #18
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Well I stand corrected. Still, if you speak English and wear a Canadian flag on your arm or something I don't see a problem.
Absolutely, I don't think it would ever be a problem outside maybe getting pissed off an the odd jerk and their attitude towards you. As a tourist its a much less significant issue than living there.
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:37 PM   #19
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I work for a travel company in England with Germany and Austria as two of my destination of responsibility.

Germany - As already mentioned you need to try and get to Berlin, it is an amazing place. Going in a couple of weeks gets you into May, so you could find some of the beach bars could already be open along the river. Deck chairs and cools music whilst sipping a drink in the middle of a big city is something else.
The easiest way to see all of the city is to get a pass for the hop on hop off bus. They are bright yellow and go to 16 of the key places to see around the city. As you have probably guessed by the name you can get on and off as many times as you like. If you stay on and just go round the city it takes approx 2 hours.
The Berlin Welcome card is also a good investment, it goves you free transportation around the city on the trams or trains plus loads of discounts and free entry for museums, restaurants etc.
If you want to see one of the last few remaining sections of the wall head for the East side gallery. It is the longest remaining stretch of the wall and has been turned into an art gallery. They basically got a load of artists from around the world to paint on different sections of the wall. Last time I was there Playboy were doing a shoot
If you are looking for night life it is pretty easy to find but Berlin is split into different districts and each district has it's own bars and clubs, it is not like you can go downtown and they are all in one place. You need to do a bit of digging before you go on this one.

For the other German cities, Frankfurt is okay but your not going to miss much if you go elsewhere. Cologne is really nice, if you arrive by train you step out of the station and the huge cathedral is right in front of you, it is quite a welcome. Munich is also really nice and you can visit the Neuschwanstein castle from here, as mentioned by Knalus. If you don't have a car it can be reached by train, it is a short walk from the station but a bit of a walk to the top of the hill where the castle is.

Oh yes one last thing, getting around germany by Train is dead easy. I tend to use DB Bhan (http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml), they have lots of inter city trains and over night sleepers if going a bit further. Really well priced as well.

Next stop Austria
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:53 PM   #20
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