|Things To Know
Traveling in Germany
The North and the Baltic
The Black Forest and Bavaria
Mad King Ludwig
After years of restricted travel, border guards and obsessive document checking, eastern Germany is now completely open to
visitors. When the Berlin Wall came down, East Germans poured into the West, eager to boost incomes, and some West Germans
raised their voices against the sudden influx and resulting unemployment and uneasiness. After the initial euphoria of reunification
came the backlash of mutual resentment and offshoots of xenophobia. Integration has pressed on, nevertheless, and financial
investment in the east (another grievance to some western taxpayers) has brought new business and better facilities, although
there is still a marked difference compared to the affluent west. English is less likely to be spoken here.
One of eastern Germany's highlights is Dresden, which re-created itself after devastation by more than 2,000 Allied bombers
in 1945. Fine 18th-century buildings surround its Brühlsche Terrace, an elevated section on the bank of the Elbe river, and
the nearby baroque Zwinger pavilions house a marvelous collection of museums. Leipzig, the famous medieval university town,
also is worth visiting, with its pedestrian-only center and attractive gardens and squares.
Weimar, once the home of poet and dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, composers Franz Liszt and Richard Strauss, and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, has a core of lovely historic buildings, parks and boulevards. The gentle hills and red-roofed villages of the Thüringian Forest form a stretch of popular walking country, despite some parts suffering the effects of industrial pollution; the region has a growing industry of family-run lodgings and restaurants.