It’s been quite awhile since I’ve taken the time to write a post. The school year is all consuming. Wanting to do the best job I can for the children who I educate, I think of little else between late August and June. That said, there’s one thing to which I’ve been dedicating my rumination time since February: my next big trip. Obsessive as I am, I’m now full-bore into the final planning stages of another trip to Germany and neighboring regions. I’ll be visiting some cities with which I’m already well enough acquainted and some bran new ones, inside and out of Deutschland.
There are benefits to revisiting cities I know and love. If I already know enough about a city to know which neighborhoods were my favorites to walk through, which historical sites I most enjoyed, and which districts have the best low-cost food, I already know where I want to stay and for what duration I’d like to remain. The drawback is obvious: for each day I spend in a city I already know, I spend one day fewer learning about a new neighborhood, town, or region.
With these considerations in mind, I’ve pretty much got my list in order, and I’ve booked apartments in the cities I know and hostels in the cities I don’t. Here’s the order and planned duration-of-stays for the target travel destinations on my current list, along with a few notes of interest for each:
First, I’ll arrive from New York City in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was the cheapest way to get into Europe, but the most expensive landing place. I will be spending one or two nights in that city, and hopefully I won’t lose my shirt trying to find sustenance. I have no planned low- or no-cost activities for this city. (Any suggestions?)
After escaping the money pit that seems to be Copenhagen, I’ll have a one-night stopover in Hamburg en route to Dresden, where I’ve booked a quaint apartment in Neustadt. It’s on the tramline just two stops away from the military history museum, a prime spot for me to satisfy my curiosity about human-on-human destruction and my passion for history more generally. I loved Dresden during my last visit: it was the hidden gem of my five weeks abroad, an architectural (and geographical) midpoint between Prague and Berlin. I’m anxious to return.
From Dresden, I head to another familiar haunt: Berlin! What’s there for me to say about this city in so few words, other than that I would move there tomorrow were the opportunity to arise? I have an apartment booked for ten days in Prenzlauer Berg, my neighborhood of choice for eating, walking, and writing (three of my favorite activities).
After this long-ish stay (though a visit to Berlin of any length of time is never long enough for my taste), I head to Nuremburg, which I visited for a scant three days in 2015. My drive this time is to see the location of the Nuremburg trials and the Nazi Party rally grounds. My morbid fascination with mass movements centered on fear, power, and extremism in human history is the inspiration for this visit. I also plan to spend more time in the churches that were nearly annihilated during allied bombing in 1944 and 1945 and visit the history museum in that city, which is among my favorites worldwide.
Finally, I strike out more concertedly into completely new territory with two-to-three day stints in Würzburg, a yet-to-be-determined thoroughfare, Brussels, Bruges, and Amsterdam. The churches in Brussels and Bruges are the draw for me in those locations, as are the museums and architecture in Amsterdam. And the hostel for the Amsterdam trip seems unique in its own right.
All that remains is a decision on the yet-to-be-determined thoroughfare. It’s a tough call: Heidelberg, Mainz, and Trier are attractive to me, as I’ve never visited the Rhine region and have a strong interest in Roman and Holy Roman Empire history; Paris is where I’ll find the Louvre; and Liege is the site of an heroic stand on the part of Belgians forestalling the German hammer-strike that probably altered World War I from a 20-day capitulation on the part of France into the hellish stagnation of worldwide suffering and terror it became.
In any case, I’ll have plenty of time to write and reflect this summer. I’m looking forward to it. Please come back and check in. I’ll return to daily postings during my voyage.