In summer 2017 I interviewed Helen Wardle and asking her about her experiences in Germany and if she could put it in words for me. I’m delighted that she did! Thank you Helen! 🙂
„I’ve got a strong affection for Germany, having spent a year living there as part of my university studies. Home for the year was the small town of Giengen an der Brenz, near the beautiful city of Ulm, in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg. Giengen is the home of the world-famous Steiff teddy bears and soft toys. Ulm is home to the tallest church in the world – the 768 step climb up the Minster is well worth it for the stunning views of the River Danube and the scenery stretching south towards the Alps.
Luckily my family share my love of Germany and we try to visit each year for our “Germany-fix”, We always travel by car via Eurotunnel, as it’s such an easy drive – the River Moselle is just over 4 hours from Calais, so ideal for a short visit. The beautiful landscape of the Moselle Valley is a fantastic area for cycling. We’ve been taking our bikes since the children were quite young as the whole length of the river can be explored along quiet and safe off-road cycle tracks. Wonderful German efficiency means that all routes are very well marked and the local bus network offers buses with trailers for bikes so that you can bus to a destination and then cycle back – or even take the bus up out of the valley and then cycle (downhill) along yet more quiet cycle tracks back to the river. The Moselle valley is also a great base for exploring Trier, German’s oldest city, Koblenz, where the Moselle meets the River Rhine and Bonn, the former West German capital, where we explored the fascinating Haus der Geschichte, which charts the history of post-war Germany. We recently stayed in Saarburg on the River Saar, which was even closer to travel to. From there we could cycle along the Saar up to the Moselle and head west to cycle into both Luxembourg and France!
For accommodation in this region we tend to use the Dutch holiday park company Landal, who have several parks in the area. Sonnenberg near Leiwen and Mont Royal near Traben Trabach, both on the Moselle and Warsberg above Saarburg on the River Saar. All the parks are situated in raised positions on the hillside with stunning river views. They all consist of holiday cottages spaciously situated around the park, and all have an indoor swimming pool, restaurant, playground, shop and children’s club.
No visit to Germany is complete without some shopping. As well as the delicious Moselle Rieslings and the numerous German beers, we love to explore the supermarkets for local specialities. Edeka is our favourite (we just put Edeka into our Sat Nav to find the nearest one!) We like to stock up on all the different ice tea flavours that you can’t buy in the UK, plus Almdudler, an Alpine soft drink, now widely available in Germany, Spätzle (a kind of pasta), Schnitzel coating, Nussecken, Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars, which are available at Christmas time), plus the huge range of baking and cake-decorating ingredients and kitchen equipment. In the cities, a visit to Kaufhof department store is a must, and our teenage girls love Depot, for household accessories and I love Esprit, for clothes.
We always associate our visits to Germany with stunning scenery and great outdoor activities – cycling in the Moselle and walking in the Alps. The true clichés of German efficiency, organisation, cleanliness and well maintained roads, cities and towns guarantee a stress-free holiday! Although I always like to try out my rusty German on the locals, the majority much prefer to try out their (excellent) English on me, so communication is never a problem and we always find the locals very friendly and helpful. We always feel so relaxed on our holidays in Germany, that we can’t wait to go back! ”