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April 27, 2013
 

 

Germany offers the best of all the worlds. Culture, cuisine, carnivals, fun and frolic
 
GERMANY- WESTERN GERMANY/RHINE VALLEY
 
BONN
 
Situated in the Cologne/Bonn region, Bonn has a place of its own in the German tourism map owing to its significance historically, culturally and commercially. It is the birthplace of the German musician Ludwig van Beethoven and has the credit of housing 16 UN institutions apart from several other international organisations and is a thriving centre of commerce and culture.
One can begin your tour of Bonn with a visit to the Beethoven House, the composer’s birthplace which now serves as a museum, memorial site and a cultural institution.
From there one could go the Bonn Museum of Art. The Bonn Museum of Art has an impressive collection of German Expressionism and German modern art. Another historically important landmark of Bonn is the Museum of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has a collection of exhibits from the end of the World War II until the present day. It also conducts many themed exhibitions that depict political, economic, cultural and social trends of today.
 
The discerning tourist has several other options to discover what Bonn has to offer starting from restaurants, beautiful Japanese gardens, adventure activities and beer gardens.
 
 
COLOGNE
 
Popularly called as the cultural hub on the Rhine River, Cologne prides itself on its Cathedral, carnivals, numerous museums and the Kölsch beer. 
 
The Cologne Cathedral happens to be one of Germany’s top attractions and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Cathedral has the second tallest church spire in Europe.
The city has over 30 museums and several galleries. The most eminent museums are the Ludwig Museum, the Romano-Germanic Museum with 200-year old exhibits, the Wallraff Richartz Museum and the Rautenstrauch Joest Museum. Art lovers are sure to get mesmerised at the enviable collections of Picasso prints, sculptures, paintings, Russian avant-garde works and examples of Surrealism and Expressionism from Germany in the 1920s at the Ludwig Museum.
 
Those who have a sweet tooth should definitely visit the Chocolate Museum, which has nearly 2,000 exhibits and enthralls the visitors with its delectable history of chocolate spanning 3000 years.
Cologne has its share of a relaxing and enjoyable nightlife. After exploring the city’s cultural side, one can visit the popular clubs, bars and restaurants in the evening and unwind in the company of the locals.
 
DUSSELDORF 
 
Thronged by designers, stylists and fashion from all over the world, Düsseldorf is one must-see and must-shop place in Germany. Being largely associated with fashion and trade fairs, Dusseldorf’s most celebrated hallmark is the Königsallee shopping district. Königsallee is one of a small group of shopping streets that exudes stylishness and sophistication and a range of high level fashion stores. 
 
Like in many other German cities and towns, the old quarter of Dusseldorf known as the ‘Altstadt’ has an attraction of its own. In addition to being a meeting place for people for generations, the old quarter is also referred to as the world’s longest bar by many. The shops, beautiful squares, historical monuments and the Rhine riverside boulevard add to its beauty.
 
Tourists may also be surprised to find that a sizeable number of the Japanese live here and hence the Japan Festival too adds to the city’s share of festivities other than the Jazz Rally, Halloween, the town fairs and the book fairs.
 
It would be a good time to visit the city during the Carnival time when one can truly experience the excitement in the air. Every year, Dusseldorf enlivens its people with over 300 carnival gatherings, receptions and costume balls. The city guide humorously explains how during the Women’s Day celebrations, the city’s women playfully take the mayor hostage and release him only when he sings funny songs and buys them a few bottles of wine. The best of the carnival, we are told, is the Rose Monday parade that features over 70 floats along a stretch of 6.5km with nearly 5000 participants, 50 brass bands and 40 tonnes of sweets.
 
 
FREIBURG
Located in the South-west part of the country, Freiburg is situated near the Dreisam River and the famed Black Forest region. The most prominent landmarks associated with Freiburg are its august Minster of Our Lady and the University of Freiburg. The Minster is regarded by art historians throughout the world as a work of genius of the Gothic period and a cultural monument of great importance.  The church hosts a range of art works belonging to the medieval age such as stained glass and sculptures including many images and sculptures of the Virgin Mary and the patron saints of the town, George, Alexander and Lambert.
 
The Augustinium Museum in Freiburg also has municipal collections like medieval sculptures and pictures, baroque art, 19th century paintings, drawings and applied arts.
After a visit to the church and the museum, you could ideally head to the Münsterplatz square. It is the biggest square in the town centre and has a market every day except Sunday.
Augustinerplatz is also another central square in the old town that is not to be missed. An Augustinian abbey and the ruins of the town hall overlook this marketplace which also teams up as a popular rendezvous for the locals.
 
Besides these marvels, Freiburg claims its share of green spaces. The Mundenhof Wildlife Park, Mount Schauinsland and a number of lakes and parks in and around the town are sure to leave you wanting to come back to this place.
 
 
HEIDELBERG
 
The first thing that strikes you when you arrive at Heidelberg is that the quaint beauty of the past overlaps contentedly with the urban landscape.  Tucked away in the South-west part of Germany on River Neckar near the Odenwald forest, Heidelberg has a number of attractions to draw in tourists throughout the year. The Heidelberg Castle and the Old Bridge are its major attractions, besides the University of Heidelberg, the marketplace and entertainment. Resting on the slopes of Mount Königstuhl, the Heidelberg Castle has survived the ravages of time and war and continues to impress its visitors. An interesting fact about the castle is that it is home to the biggest wine barrel in the world with a capacity of 221,726 litres.
 
The Pharmacy Museum in the castle has interesting collections, rare apothecary workshops and an alchemy laboratory where visitors can learn about old healing methods.
 
The oldest part of this town is at the foot of the castle with splendid Renaissance buildings and churches. The marketplace at the centre of the town has many delightful fountains, grand period houses and little shops. The Church of the Holy Spirit stands here with its steeple overlooking a good part of the town.
 
Another attraction is the Kornmarkt square near the Church; the highlight being the statue of Madonna built in 1718.
 
The scenery and settings of Heidelberg draw an image that seems straight out of an illustrative paperback of the olden times. Should you choose Heidelberg as a holiday destination, a leisurely itinerary is the right option to make the best out of your stay in this fine-looking town. 

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