Travel to Bavaria and Southern Germany – Episode 188

categories: europe travel


The Amateur Traveler talks to Jason and Janie about their trip to Bavaria and Southern Germany.


The talk about visiting the Black Forest with its wineries, Germany’s tallest waterfall, and the world’s largest cuckoo clock.

They also visited the walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Rothenburg (which may have been spared the ravages of the 30 years war by a hard-drinking mayor) is the home to a wonderful Christmas market as well as a Christmas museum. The Rothenburg Nightwatchman’s tour is also something you should try.

Jason and Jamie also went to Nuremberg with its wonderful market place and saw “Mad” King Ludwig’s castle Neuschwanstein in Füssen.

They finished the trip in the home of very large beer steins in Munich. In Munich, they enjoyed the glockenspiel, the toy museum, and some of the wonderful old churches.

Jason and Janie had previously been on the Amateur Traveler on Travel to Barbados – Episode 109.

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Show Notes

Jason and Janie’s pictures
Bavaria, Germany
Munich, Germany
Black Forest
Triberg, World’s Biggest Cuckoo Clock
Nuremberg Trials
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwig II of Bavaria the “mad” king of Bavaria
Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass was an anti-Jewish pogrom in Nazi Germany
The Tent – Munich’s giant tent hostel


Travel News – Catching a Train, Mayor Quarantined, Gun Smuggled

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  • Train can be worse for climate than plane


Should we travel to China?
What happened to Scot and Sheryl of A Year In Europe


Chris: I’d like to welcome back Jason and Janie from Charlottesville, Virginia who’ve come to talk to us about Bavaria and Southern Germany. Welcome back to the show.

Jason: Thanks for having us Chris.

Janie: Thank you.

Chris: I say welcome back to the show because they were on talking about Barbados about a year and a half ago. You tell me.

Jason: Something like that. Time flies when you get pass 100 episodes.

Chris: So you had a chance to go to Southern Germany and we say Bavaria, which is the southern most state, but also some other areas near there.

Jason: Yes.

Chris: Why did you go? What was the attraction?

Jason: I was stationed in Germany while I was in the army.

Chris: Ok.

Jason. I lived there for three years. The person that I lived with is now stationed in Germany again. So it was an opportunity for us to go back and visit them. And Janie had never been so she had heard three years worth of stories about my revelry in Germany and hadn’t actually seen the land that I was talking about so I was very excited to have her come along.

Chris: Where were you stationed in Germany?

Jason: I was stationed in Freiberg, which is about 45 minutes northwest of Frankfurt.

Chris: Ok. Northern Germany.

Jason: So I was probably four hours northwest of Munich.

Chris: Ok. And you bring up Munich because Munich being the capital of Bavaria?

Jason: Correct.

Chris: Ok. So when we go to the southern portion of Germany, what should we see?

Jason: Our trip consisted of a few areas. I know one of which you’ve already covered but we’d like to talk about again. So we started our trip and we actually went into the Black Forest. And the typical Black Forest tourist trail takes you to Baden Baden, which is where the rich and the glamorous do their baths and their spas.

Chris: Right.

Jason: But we decided to go off the beaten path and we went to a town called Triberg, which has the distinction of two very interesting tourist attractions. One is it has the highest waterfall in Germany and there’s a little family friendly trail that you can hike up. It only takes about probably 20-30 minutes to hike up the trail to see the waterfall. And then the second and probably the more well known thing for the Black Forest is it’s the home of the cuckoo clock. In fact, right outside of Triberg is the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock.

Chris: And when we say World’s Largest?

Jason: Yes, it is physically the world’s largest working cuckoo clock.

Janie: Yeah, it’s the size of probably a small shed. And you can actually walk into it and tour it which is really neat because you see all the gears moving and you see how it works and it’s sort of like being I don’t know in Santa’s workshop in a way because it’s very cute and they have somebody there that explains to you exactly how the clock works and what makes the cuckoo go and it was really, really cool.

Chris: Ok.

Jason: And there’s actually a bellows that is depressed which is what makes the cuckoo sound and then there’s a gear with gradually wider opening teeth so that the cuckoo stays out longer. So the gap between 11 and 12 is much larger than the gap between 2 and 3 and that’s how the cuckoo bird knows to stay out longer. The other interesting thing about the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock is that it actually loses about four minutes a day so they have to pull on the weights about every six hours in order for it to keep running and then it loses times everyday so they have to make an adjustment at the beginning of the day before all the tourists come in.

Janie: A little secret.

Jason: After we did Triberg, we went to a little small town called Gengenbach, which is home of several wineries. So Germany’s got a fairly thriving wine industry. Probably the most well known would be the Riesling. So we went to Gengenbach. There is a very, very attractive old town square. All the old town squares are called altstadt. A-L-T-S-T-A-D-T.

Chris: Un-uh. Old City.

Jason: Most of your German cities have them. Sort of like the old town square. And so this one’s just got a very interesting little town square with gates on both sides and then as you go outside of the gates, you see a lot of wineries. There are a couple of places that are distributors of the wines so you can go in and do the wine tasting without having to go from winery to winery. So it’s a wonderful area. You can walk the entire town and it takes about a day to do.

Chris: And we’re talking Germany wines so I’m assuming we’re talking white wines.

Janie: Yes, definitely and typically sweeter white wines as well.

Jason: The sugars taste different. A Riesling that you buy in the United States will taste much different. It’s got a drier sweetness than the wine that you would buy in Germany.

Chris: Ok.

Jason. So definitely a different experience for the palette. And if you are a red wine lover as the Germans say, “ Es tut mir leid”. I’m very sorry. But their white wines are wonderful.

Janie: This little city, Gengenbach, is where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was filmed. The movie with Johnny Depp.

Chris: Ok. Interesting.

Janie: And it is unbelievably picturesque. I’m looking at the pictures right now and you just almost can’t believe that a town this cute exists. It’s a wonderful little place.

Jason: I remember we were driving in and someone in the car said “Wow. This looks like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” And it was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So this really is where it was filmed. And then we went to Nuremberg. It’s mainly known for a couple of things: the first thing that it’s known for, even though it wasn’t the official capital, it was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire. So every time a new emperor was crowned, he had to come to Nuremberg to hold his first Parliament session and in effect to kiss the ring. The second thing that Nuremberg is known for is the Nuremberg trials after WWII where all the Nazi officials were tried by the occupation government. Very picturesque. Has a very nice castle on top of the hill. Has a wonderful altstadt that can be walked in probably a half a day with a lot of bridges. There’s a river that divides the city.

That whole area is very pedestrian friendly. They have very large pedestrian zones. They also have a wonderful – it’s called a Marksplatz, which is a market place. Where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables. So if you are going to many of these German cities, especially the smaller, older cities, you can pretty much skip your lunch and buy fresh fruit and vegetables and just nibble and munch on them. And it’s also usually a good way to save money if you’re traveling on a budget.

Chris: And I recall racing to get to the central square of Nuremberg by noon so that we could hear the town’s clock strike noon and go through all of the different characters coming out and celebrating that it was noon.

Jason: Yes. It has that and we’ll talk about the other notable clock, which is in Munich in a minute. It is also part of the Marksplatz. There’s a square where they have all the markets. What we recommend and we thought was very good is there are a couple of cafes. If you’re facing the clock off to your right side, there are cafes that are on the second story of the buildings that line that edge of the Marksplatz. You can go up and grab a coffee, grab a beer, grab a Riesling (although a Riesling might be a little early for noon) and sit there and you’re above the crowds and you’re away from the crowds so you’re plenty close enough to actually see what’s happening and to hear the bells, but you’re far enough away from the crowds that you don’t get the hustle bustle and the jostling.

Chris: Ok. We should say the other thing that it’s well known for and the reason why you’re not mentioning it is because your next destination. It’s also well known for its Christmas market.

Jason Yes, it is well known for its Christmas market…

Chris: But…

Jason: although my personal favorite Christmas market when I lived in Germany was in Rothenburg.

Chris: Ok.

Jason: And again this may be my leaning towards smaller towns so Rothenburg was an independent free city for most of the Middle Ages. It has buildings that date back to the 900’s and I’ll actually get to the oldest building in a minute. But Rothenburg is known very much for the wall that goes around the city.

Chris: Right.

Jason: When you go to Rothenburg, one of the things that you should make sure that you do is the Night Watchman’s Tour. This gentleman is a very dashing character. He’s very easy to see. He leads a tour in English at 6:00 pm and I took the same tour in 1997 and it was the same gentlemen that led the tour. He’s very entertaining, very knowledgable. The tour takes about an hour. If you have difficulties walking, there are a few hills. He goes at a relatively slow pace but if you’re going to have trouble walking more than about 3 kms then he also sells DVD’s. So you can always get the Night Watchman’s DVD.

Janie: On Amazon.

Jason: And it’s on Amazon. He’s very famous.

Chris: One of the three video episodes the Amateur Traveler has done or that I have done. I don’t know why I am referring to myself suddenly in the third person. I have done three on Rothenburg and one included portions of the Night Watchman’s Tour for anyone who wants just a little taste of that.

Jason: Yep and then he would appreciate it if you bought the full version. It has a wall that’s about 2.5 kms that you can go up into the wall and see where all the defenders of the wall would walk around. And there is particularly interesting piece of the towers. The towers that have the gates that lead into the city, you see masks above the gates. The defenders, as they were being attacked, would close off the gates and they were usually facing a hill so you had to go up the hill and then try and ram down the door. Meanwhile the defenders would pour hot pitch out of the eyes and the mouth of these masks that were on top of the tower. And pour down the boiling oil, the hot pitch and then whatever else they could find onto the attackers.

Janie: The masks were sort of just holes in the stonewall that looked like eyes and nose and mouth.

Chris: Un huh . I don’t remember seeing that. That is interesting.

Jason: The other thing that as I mentioned, Rothenberg is very well known for is the Kris Kringle Mart, which is the Christmas Market. It is not as big as the Christmas Market in Nuremburg. But to me it is a little bit more authentic. If you go during the wintertime, first of all you get Gluevine, which is the warm mulled wine, which will chase away any level of cold. They’re also known for something called snowballs. It’s a powdered sugar covered pastry.

Chris: Schneeball.

Jason: Yes, a Schneeball. They also have a Christmas museum where you learn things like ornaments are actually representations of the apple for Adam and Eve.

Chris: Hum.

Jason: And for the uninformed, you can always tell the tourists because the tourists actually bites into the Schneeball and then they get a face full of powder. So the trick to eating a Schneeball is to keep it in the bag and to whack it a few times to where it breaks up and then take out the pieces and eat the pieces so that you keep it from getting it all over yourself.

Chris: And if we wanted to describe it, it’s almost like someone has taken pie dough and

confabulated it together in some sort of accordion knot and then deep-fried it. Good stuff.

Jason: And covered it in powdered sugar and just tasty goodness.

Janie: You can also get them in chocolate and hazelnut.

Chris: Right.

Jason: And the other thing is, if you’re going to get a Schneeball, don’t go to the Schneeball factory. So they have little Schneeball shops that are all along the main street.

Rothenburg being a small old town doesn’t have many cars. It’s very pedestrian friendly and so you see all these. Instead go to a bakery. Bakeries tend to be where the locals get their Schneeballs and they tend to be a little bit better and a little bit fresher.

Chris: Huh. Ok.

Jason: So after Rothenberg, we actually went south of Munich to Neuschwanstein.

Neuschwanstein was the castle of Mad King Ludwig. Ludwig was the Bavarian king. He actually was the king, I believe, after the US Civil War. And he built three castles, which were dedicated to madness. We did not go to Hohenschwangau, which you can see from Neuschwanstein.

Chris: Which is where he grew up, as I recall.

Jason: Yes. We went to Neuschwanstein, which if you recall the Wonderful World of Disney as Tinkerbelle comes flying out of the castle, Neuschwanstein is the castle that Walt Disney based the Wonderful World of Disney castle off of.

Chris: Right. The Disneyland Castle.

Jason: Exactly. And it is a castle dedicated to of all things the operas of Joseph Wagner.

Chris: Or at least the grotto in the basement is. Yeah.

Jason: No, actually almost all the rooms.

Chris: That’s true. I suppose there were murals in most of the rooms. That’s true.

Jason: Yes. It is one of if not the most popular tourist attractions in Germany.

Chris: Un huh.

Jason: It is up on a hill. There are three ways to get there. You can either hoof it, which takes about 45 minutes. It’s up a relatively steep hill. Probably about an 8-10% incline. It can be physically challenging. You can also take a bus, which will drop you off about 2/3 of the way up and then the way that we chose to go up is to take a horse and carriage.

Chris: Oh. Ok.

Jason: To me it just seems like it’s more authentic because you just know in your head that’s how Mad King Ludwig got taken up to his castle.

Janie: Minus the paved road of course. But yes.

Chris: Sure. Well and we call him Mad King Ludwig based on how he spent the money for the Kingdom of Bavaria that he was king of and he was actually a constitutional monarch but building castles as if he were a medieval monarch. Neuschwanstein is contemporary with the Eiffel Tower, which a lot of people don’t realize when they are looking at it. Yeah. He drowned under mysterious circumstances as I recall.

Jason: He did. He managed to live in his castle for 172 days.

Chris: Yep.

Jason: On day number 171, the authorities come in and tell him in his bedroom, “King Ludwig, you have been declared insane and therefore you will no longer rule Bavaria.”

And the next day, he and his psychiatrist were walking along a small lakeshore in Munich where they somehow managed to drown in two feet of water and no one knows if they drowned of their own accord or of someone elses accord. It is one of the great mysteries of Bavaria. But because Neuschwanstein is such a popular tourist attraction, you actually don’t get much time to spend in the castle. You have to buy your tickets at the bottom. You can buy them in English, in German and then they have kind of an audio-guided tour for several other languages. But they whip you through that castle. I think we had about 45 minutes in the castle, so if you can picture the Disney castle and how long it would take to go through the legitimate Disney castle and then blow that out in some order magnitude greater you realize that you get taken through that castle very, very quickly. So our joke was the tour was something along the lines of “ Ok, Here’s the room where he has the alter from this opera. All right, let’s go. All right, here’s some windows. Go. Here’s the bedroom. Go.”

Janie: Yeah. You really do sort of feel rushed and you don’t get to see obviously a whole lot of the castle because the castle was never finished. Ludwig died and he was so in debt already with the castle that they said “un uh forget it. We’re not finishing this.” It was actually opened up to the public about 6 weeks after his death …

Chris: Interesting. I didn’t realize that.

Janie: So they could recoup some of the funds that he had poured into this thing. You don’t get to see a lot and you do feel really rushed on the tour but at the same time you can’t not do it. Just sort of know that going in to it that you’re not going to see a lot. But they do have a wonderful guidebook that goes into much further detail than the tours. So I recommend picking that up. It is only about 11 euros.

Jason: We’re not into the schlocky, touristy books. We’re the type that pulls out the pages of the Lonely Planet or the Footprints Guide. But that book, even though it’s got kind of the cheesy looking touristy cover, it’s actually very full of very good information. The other part of the Neuschwanstein experience that we recommend, although it is not recommended for those who have a significant fear of heights, it is to hike up the hill.

Chris: To the bridge.

Janie: Yeah.

Jason: And to go to the Marienbroka, which is the bridge above and behind Neuschwanstein. I think that is probably the best view of Neuschwanstein. Unfortunatly when we were there they were dong some renovations so you see the best view of all the scaffolding. But it’s still a gorgeous, gorgeous view. And then if you’re into hiking, they have some hikes that are between 3 and 4 hours. And then at the bottom you can hike around the Appenzell, which will take you into Austria as well. The Appenzell is the lake. It’s probably about a 4-6 hour hike to get around the Appenzell.

Chris: Neuschwanstein is a wonderful destination and especially if you know, again as we said, that it’s almost a monument to the romanticism period. And around that time a lot of things like this were being constructed sort of harkening back to the Middle Ages style.

Jason: Yes, even though it is a monument to Wagnerian era operas, it’s built in a way that I agree, reflects back more to the romantic times. One room that you go in, there’s a tile floor and it’s a mosaic and it is made of over two million individual pieces of tiles which is an incredibly impressive feat. The bed: there is a giant carving that they said took four carvers, I want to say something around the order of two years to actually carve. So there are just some amazing pieces of workmanship inside of that castle which meant that the rest of Bavaria must have gone broke. It is a significant work. And it’s up a not so insignificant piece of the Alps that you have to go climb up to bring everything up there so it had to be a very intense work of labor. So I am sure that took quite a toll, but my gosh, the views after he got done are amazing.

Christ: Huh.

Jason: After Neuschwanstein, which is about an hour and a half to two hours south of Munich, we went up to Munich. If you want to do public transportation, the train will take you down to a town called Fussen.

Chris: Sure.

Jason: F – U with an amulet and S-S-E-N. And then there are buses that take you down to Neuschwanstein. It’s about a two-hour train trip from Fussen into Munich. You can drive as well. The autobahn serves it very, very well so it’s easy to get around in that area. It’s serviced by train, by autobahn and by buses. So we went to Munich. Munich is a city that has undergone some significant rebirths. It was bombed very, very heavily during WWII. So most of the architecture that you see is actually reconstructed.

Chris: Right.

Jason: A couple of the highlights: First of all, if you go during the weekends, expect to see very large crowds in their altstadt. It is I believe the third largest city in Germany and is one of the bigger tourist attractions. So you will see a lot of people in Munich. Just be prepared for the crowds. They’re all very friendly. I never got the feeling that there was anything besides just a large number of people. As you go into the altstadt, first of all, there are lots of old churches. The first highlight that we hit that we really liked was the glockenspiel.

Chris: Ok.

Jason: it’s like the clock inside of Nuremberg except for it’s probably on a scale of about two times as large. It has two separate little scenes and this has to do with the wedding of a prince and his princess. One is of the bridal ceremony and procession so you get to see the groomsman and the bride’s maids. And then the other part is the Knights Jousting Tournament that they had to celebrate this wedding. Now the glockenspiel only plays during certain times of the day so I believe it’s 11 and 12 and then at 5 pm and again if you want to avoid the crowds, our recommendation is to go up so if you’re facing the glockenspiel behind you is a building that’s got a shopping mall. On the fifth floor is a café called Café Glockenspiel. We highly recommend that you get a cappuccino or a coffee and you sit at a window seat facing the glockenspiel and you’ll be able to see and you’ll still be able to hear, even though usually the windows are closed, you can hear everything. It’s really more to see because there’s bells’ going off everywhere because there are a lot of churches. Sit up there. Get a bird’s eye view. It is probably one of the best views of the glockenspiel that you can have.

Chris: Excellent.

Jason: The second one that we liked is called the Asamkirche. A-S-A-M-K-I-R-C-H-E. It is literally wedged between two, what look like houses. And it is very, very easy to miss but it’s got some great gothic and baroque carvings and paintings. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful church. It’s very small. We estimated that the pews could probably only hold about 200 people. They’re very aware that it’s a church that has a lot of history and a lot of art and just a lot of neat things to look at crammed into a very, very small building. But they’re also aware that they’re a church first and foremost. So they put up some signs to that regard so just make sure that if you go in that you are quiet. They tend to have people usually there praying but they also welcome people to come in and to tour. And usually with these older churches in Germany, I guess for lack of a better description, they have collection boxes all around the church. So if you have an Euro coin or a 50-cent coin it’s usually accepted to drop some little small donation in so they can maintain the churches that you are getting to see. So they usually don’t charge a fee to go in, but you can help them out by making a donation so that you’re not just a free rider to these churches. The third thing that we saw which is probably the stereotypical Bavarian experience is called the Hofbrauhaus.

Chris: Ok. I assumed we would get there eventually.

Jason: Yes. That is one of the oldest beer halls in Bavaria, if not in Germany. If you have an image in your mind of what German beer halls are like with the women in their traditional Bavarian dresses which are called Dirndls, carrying 6, 7 8 liters worth of beer very, very jolly with the oompah band in the background…

Janie: You’re going to get it.

Jason: You’re describing the Hofbrauhaus. It’s an experience like none other that I have ever had in Germany. There are what look like for all intense and purposes very, very large picnic tables and everyone is sitting around these very, very large picnic tables having very, very large pieces of meat and very large steins of beer. They actually called Krugs. And a Krug is a liter of beer. It’s going to cost you about eight euro and there’s an accepted method for doing your toast. So when you get your Krug of beer, it’s expected that you will toast everyone at the table with your Krug of beer. So what you do is you hold your beer and you slam it up against the other glasses of beer. Don’t worry you’re not going to break the glass. They’re made of some indestructible form of glass. And then you look the person that you’re toasting in the eye, you put your glass down and then you pick it up and you drink. The reason is that the original festival was celebrated by a very, very old king. And so the old king was not strong enough to actually hold up these glasses for a very long time. So you would splash the glasses together so that everyone’s beer mixed so that if you had poisoned the king’s beer, you were also going to drink the poison beer. Then you would put the glass down because the kings’ arm got tired and you had to give the king a break. Then you had to look everyone in the eye for good luck. There are some other stories about that which probably are not family friendly. And then you would drink. It’s very traditional, goes back to the times when they first started the beer houses and the beer festivals. So if you want the quintessential Bavarian Beer Hall Experience and you’re willing to fight all the tourist crowds, then definitely go to the Hofbrauhaus.

The other event that Munich is known for is where the most beer in the world is consumed and that’s at the Oktoberfest. And Oktoberfest is usually the second to last and last week of September and the first week of October. And it’s where all the breweries of Munich set up very, very large fest tents and they have a celebration. It’s effectively a harvest celebration. But for three weeks from noon to 10 pm of the enjoyment of beer and all the things that are pertinent to the enjoyment of beer like pretzels and carnival rides. I’ve always wondered how you could go into a beer tent, have a couple of liters of beer and then decide that carnival rides would be very fun but apparently this is something that the Germans do with a great amount of relish. So if you want to go for Oktoberfest, it is a great opportunity to meet millions and millions of new friends who will all be your best friend after about three minutes of drinking beer with them. Very, very friendly time but just be prepared for very, very large crowds. One thing that some of your younger listeners might be interested in – kids will enjoy what is called the Spielzeugmuseum, which is in the old town hall.

Chris: So Toy Museum then.

Jason: This had a very, very dark beginning. It is where Goebbels made his speech that started the Kristallnacht or the Night of the Broken Glass.

Chris: Oh.

Jason: One of the very first pogroms against the Jews was started here. And so the Germans are very aware of this to kind of get rid of that old past. They have a toy museum there…

Chris: Interesting.

Jason: which is very fun for the young kids. For your 18 to early 30 something’s who are still doing the backpacker through Europe types of trips, a great place to stay is called the Kapuzinerholzl. It is a giant circus tent.

Chris: Huh.

Jason: It’s on the outskirts but very easy to access by the trams.

Chris: Summer only then?

Jason: It is summer only.

Chris: Ok.

Jason: And it only cost a few euro. They give you a mat, four blankets and you go mark out your place to stay and then in the morning they wake everyone up and roust them out. You get some granola and some hot tea and they send you on your way. It’s a really neat experience. It’s very, very cheap. It’s camping with a thousand of your closest friends.

Chris: All Right.

Jason: And one thing that I forgot to cover about Rothenberg. So Rothenburg was a free state. It wasn’t defeated for many years and so one of the stories about how Rothenburg stayed free was that it actually had fallen. I believe this might have been in the Napoleonic times and the army threatened to burn the town.

Chris: I think it was the 30 Years War, as I recall.

Jason: Oh yes, you’re right. It’s the 30 Years War. The invading troops threatened to burn down the town. And the mayor said, “I will cut you a deal. If I can drink 3 1/2 liters of wine in one gulp, then you will spare my town.” And so the clock tower is a testament to the mayor consuming 3 1/2 liters of wine in one gulp. And Rothenburg was actually spared during WWII too as well.

Chris: Right.

Jason: I’m probably giving away the Night Watchman Tour.

Chris: It is the end of the Night Watchman Tour. That is true.

Jason: Yes, so if you want to save the ending for the Night Watchman Tour, then fast-forward a minute. The general who was in charge of taking over that area had ordered bombings and there was a lieutenant colonel on his staff named Devons whose mother had a print of Rothenburg. She had gone to Rothenburg. She had been so impressed by it. She bought a print. Brought it back and would tell this man when he was kid she would tell him stories about Rothenburg and how beautiful it was. When he found out that it was going to be bombed, he actually convinced the major of the German army who was in charge of defending Rothenburg to abandon the town. So while about a third of it was bombed because there was a print in the house of one of the staff members when he was growing up, he spared the rest of the town. And also because of the bravery of that German major who basically gave the town up and if his high command had found out what he had done, he would have been hanged for treason or shot for treason.

Chris: Right they were ordered to hold to the last man, as I recall, but he also valued the town.

Jason: It took the confluence of some pretty amazing coincidences but Rothenburg was saved and that’s why it’s actually well liked as a tourist attraction because it’s got the old buildings. And one of the oldest buildings in Rothenburg has a foundation that dates back to the 900’s and it’s a pub and it’s called “Hell”. Literally, that is the translation. Hölle. The joke is: In Rothenburg, if someone tells you to go to Hell, it’s actually a good idea because it’s a tavern.

Chris: Now before this turns into a two or three part episode, we should start to wind this down. And we’re gong to skip a lot of our standard questions here because I think we have covered a lot of things. But just the one moment you really know you’re in Bavaria, you really know you’re in southern Germany, when what?

Janie: Gosh. Just looking at the countryside, it was just like you’ve seen in pictures and in movies and on TV. It was absolutely beautiful and very clean and well kept. You can tell that they take a lot of pride in their land.

Chris: Ok.

Jason: And for me, the moment you know you’re in Bavaria is when you are having the Bavarian sausage with a glass of beer.

Chris: Ok. That’s the white sausage as I recall.

Jason: Yes.

Chris: Weiße Wurst?

Jason: Yes.

Chris: Ok. And if we had to summarize Bavaria, Southern Germany in three words. What three words would you use?

Janie: Charming, quaint, relaxed.

Chris: Ok.

Jason: My three will be: Schön, freundliche, geschichte.

Chris: Ok. So I’ve got pretty, friendly…

Jason: Beautiful, friendly and history.

Chris: and history. Ok. Janie and Jason, thank you so much for coming back on the show and talking about Southern Germany.

Jason: Thank you very much. It’s always wonderful to chat with you Chris.

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

7 Responses to “Travel to Bavaria and Southern Germany – Episode 188”

Andy Hayes


Probably my most favourite place in Europe – such a gorgeous place to walk around and soak up ‘mad Ludwig’s’ experience.

I’ve also seen the waterfall and huge clock – perhaps not as impressive but nonetheless interesting.

Thanks for sharing!



While looking through your archives, these miscellaneous things unrelated to this episode occured to me:

1) You used to have themed episodes (how to take travel photos, bad hotels) but there haven’t been early since I started listening about a year ago. Any plans for themed episodes in the future? They make for a nice change of pace and can provide useful general tips.

2) Why’re episodes 1-18 not in the archive?

Also, my version of the Krakow episode came out at 2 minutes long so I had to resubscribe to the podcast to redownload it. Am I the only one who had this problem?



1) I keep thinking about themed episodes but have not had anyone pitch me something that appealed to me. I have invited someone to come on recently and readdress budget travel. I had plans for a show on RVing that fell through. What did you have in mind?

2) They are on the website still but are not in the feed because at some point the feed gets long enough that is is slower to load, and mostly because they aren’t as good. 🙂

3) I have had issues with my hosting provider recently where some shows like Krakow got truncated when I uploaded them. I usually check but I think this one came out when I was out of town so it took me longer to fix it.



Not really sure what I have in mind.

Maybe Third World travel? e.g. coping with a lack of amenities

Or maybe someone can talk about his favourite hostels.

Anyway the limitation, I think, is supply (people who are willing to be interviewed) rather than demand (ideas on shows), so.

JT Solace


Must say I really enjoyed this podcast. While my interest in the destination was luke warm I found the format really refreshing. Having two guests on gave me a better and multifacated veiw on the location and I’d really enjoy hearing more of this format in the future. Thanks for all the hard work and thanks for my favorite travel podcast.

JT Solace


Also thank you for reading my comment. True while we may disagree on an issue it will take all kinds of appraoches to help this world become more like the wonderful place we all know it can be. Also to healthy people a disagreement is just an invitation to discuss and make our own world views all the more real and practical. Again thanks.

Travel to Bavaria and Southern Germany – Amateur Traveler Episode 188 Transcripts | Amateur Traveler Travel Blog


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