Finishing up my latest trip to Germany, I’m excited to share a few final thoughts…and pictures.
My two-month-long summer trip is made up of five modules: Germany guidebook research, TV production in the Netherlands, Scandinavia guidebook research, TV production in Prague and Berlin, and Poland guidebook research. Now that I’m done with “module one,” I’m off to meet the film crew in Amsterdam. But first, here are a few German scraps I found at the bottom of my rucksack.
Each day so far on this trip, I’ve enjoyed the help of local guides. Nearly every city in Europe has great local guides who are independent businesspeople scrambling to fill their calendars and earn a living. I list my favorites in my guidebooks, and while many get lots of customers from these listings, I’m amazed (considering how many people are using my books) how few enlist the services of a professional local guide. Sure, it’s a splurge. But so is a nice dinner.
So far on this trip, I’ve committed myself to using local public transportation. European cities do a marvelous job of making life easy for people with no cars. And tourists are people, too. Give public transit a chance in your travels. Buy an all-day pass and use the trams for everything. I find it changes your American understanding of what public transportation can provide.
One of the biggest bits of transportation news in Germany is the advent of cheap intercity bus fares. Germans are all abuzz about new deregulation that opens things up. In front of each train station, I noticed buses loading and unloading budget travelers. These companies use the autobahns rather than the rails to get from A to B… for half the money. While I still take the train and love the speed and smoothness of rail travel, if you’re on a tight budget, consider this new option.