Sumptuous Renaissance and baroque style draws the crowds to Linderhof Castle
© AA Photo Library
Formality is important to Germans. Don't address people by their first names unless invited to; always use Herr (Sir) or Frau (Madam) at first.
Job titles are used frequently in social exchange; doctors, for instance, are addressed as Frau Doktor or Herr Doktor.
Local dishes, particularly in southern Bavaria, use the classic German ingredients of Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage), Wurst (sausage), dumplings, pork and potatoes. German cooking (Gutbürgerliche Küche) can be sampled at a Gasthaus, a restaurant serving simple meals.
German wine is mainly white. Tafelwein is table wine, less expensive and harsher than the quality stuff; Deutscher Tafelwein is guaranteed to be wholly German, rather than a mix of different countries' grapes. Qualitätswein is the better product, from a specified range of vineyards. Some of the best grapes are Riesling, the fruity Müller-Thurgau and the spicy Gewürztraminer.
Brewing is big business in Germany. Bock is a strong beer, light or dark, popular in Bavaria; Weissbier is pale wheat beer; and Malz, an unfer mented black malt beer.
Imbiss (snack) stands are found every where and sell hamburgers, meatballs, sausages and other fast food.
Stores in the main cities are usually open from 9 or 9:30 a.m. until 7 or 8 p.m. Few close on Saturday afternoons, but some stay open until 6 p.m.
Germany has a long tradition of toy-making, particularly china dolls and the famous Steiff teddy bears.
Beer and wine festivals take place all over the country. Munich's September/October Oktoberfest is the best known, and the Weinfeste, celebrations held in the Rhine-Mosel area, also are worth attending.
Dinkelsbühl's 10-day Kinderzeche festival, held in July, recalls the Thirty Years' War, when local children persuaded Swedish soldiers not to ransack their town. It features plays, a pageant and the boys' battalion, the Knabenbataillon, dressed in 18th-century military garb.
The music of Richard Wagner is performed in the summer Bayreuth Festival, northeast of Nuremberg near the composer's former home. Tickets are snapped up a year in advance, and must be reserved by mail; for information and an application form contact Bayreuther Festspiele, Festspielhügel-Kartenbüro, Postfach 100262, 95402 Bayreuth, Germany, Phone:0921 7878-0; www.bayreuther-festspiele.de. The order must be sent by Oct. 15.