Experience Germany Like a Local

© 2015-2017 Polar Bear Studio LLC, All images unless otherwise noted, text, and website design, all rights reserved.
Disclosure: Please note that some links are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase.
If you would like to support this website in some way, using these links will help do exactly that.

Our Germany Bucket List

Our Germany Bucket List has a variety of sources. Some are from German history books that mention a particular city again and again, others because they have a specific castle that has captured my attention, perhaps they have a polar bear residing in the zoo, or I develop a longing to go somewhere from Pinterest. When we are in the early trip planning phase, often I refer back to pins I’ve saved from other travel bloggers. We're so excited that in the next two weeks, we’re visiting our top 4 on our bucket list, Kassel, Bamberg, Leipzig, and Weimar.

Our Germany Bucket List

Kassel, a city in the central German state of Hesse
It has a castle that popped up on my radar when I read “Why You Should Visit Wilhelmshöhe Park in Kassel, Germany,” by Tamara for her blog Globe Guide. Her photos captured my imagination and Kassel was swiftly on my list. The grand opening of the Grimm World museum a few weeks ago and plans were put in motion! We’re planning on doing a family day trip with Sebastian’s parents and his sister, since it's only a two hour drive from their home near Frankfurt am Main. Finally, we’re going to Kassel!

Bamberg, a town in southeastern German state of Bavaria
Lorelei of California Globetrotter using the word ‘Bumbling’ in her title “Bumbling Around in Bamberg”, grabbed my attention. I’m a sucker for innovative verb usage! Wow, what a half-timbered beauty, and I can’t wait to take my own photos of the Old Town Hall built atop the Regnitz River. I’m also fascinated by the Market Gardeners’ District that feature active vegetable fields run by two dozen families that is an ongoing example of an early medieval town, and significantly helped Bamberg achieve Unesco World Heritage status.

Leipzig is a city in the eastern German state of Saxony
I first heard about Leipzig in regards to their zoo, that it was exemplary. I did some digging around on Pinterest and found Adelina’s article on her blog Pack Me To, “A Day in Leipzig: History, Bach, and Cake,” and decided to keep digging. It looked like a city that could our entire family entertained for more than a few days. Beyond the Leipzig Zoo, we’re planning on visiting the Museum of Fine Arts (Museum der bilden Künste), Time Historical Forum (Zeitgeschichtliches Forum, charts the history of GDR from division through reunification), and visiting the German National Library. Add in a plethora of historically important cafes, churches, and town squares and we’re going to have an epic trip!

Weimar, a city in the east central German state of Thuringia
This city just won’t be ignored. It's mentioned as consistently as Berlin in my history books. Goethe lived there. Schiller lived there. Nitzche lived there. Weimar is not a day trip city, it's responsible for such a wealth of German culture that you should plan several days to really ‘get it’. I loved the overview and photography that Russell of Roaming Required shared in “Discover Germany’s Cultural Heartland-Weimar”. If you’re fascinated by German history and culture, you’ll want to put Weimar on your list too.

Our bags are packed! Multiple color copies of our itineraries are printed and in page protectors. Yes, page protectors! That’s how we roll. We’re so excited for our annual September trip to Germany! As a result, our blog is on vacation for two weeks, and we look forward to returning the first week of October refreshed and refueled with adventures in Germany. Do you have any suggestions for us before we visit Kassel, Bamberg, Leipzig, and Weimar? What cities in Germany are on your bucket list and why? Let us know in the comments below or send us an email.

Follow Along
If you enjoyed this article, or these topics sound interesting to you, you'll love our weekly newsletter. You'll receive the newest posts each week and exclusive access to free planning resources like ‘Packing List & Tips for 2 Weeks in Germany’ and ‘Everything You Need to Rent a Car in Germany’.

Thank you for reading!



The Most Beloved Bridge in Frankfurt am Main

The most beloved bridge in Frankfurt am Main, the Eiserner Steg! Its pedestrian only and offers a perfect view of the 'Mainhatten' skyline.
Frankfurt am Main is a strong, logical city largely due to the generosity and foresight of its own citizens. They’re a self-reliant group. In 1867, weary of the long, roundabout trek with an out of the way bridge in order to cross from downtown to the neighborhood across the river to Sachsenhausen, a group collected money to build the Eiserner Steg, Iron Bridge. After two years of construction, the bridge was open. There was a toll of one Kreuzer until 1885 when the city of Frankfurt took over management of the bridge. The bridge was replaced and enlarged in 1912, but then completely destroyed during World War II. By 1946 the bridge was rebuilt, and recently renovated in 1993.

The view of the Frankfurt am Main, ‘Mainhattan’ skyline is a beautiful sight from the Eiserner Steg, and while it is pedestrian-only, it's the most beloved bridge in Frankfurt.

The Eiserner Steg bridge is pedestrian only and offers this perfect view of the Frankfurt 'Mainhatten' skyline

Follow Along
If you enjoyed this article, or these topics sound interesting to you, you'll love our weekly newsletter. You'll receive the newest posts each week and exclusive access to free planning resources like ‘Packing List & Tips for 2 Weeks in Germany’ and ‘Everything You Need to Rent a Car in Germany’.

Thank you for reading!


Have You Thought About Packing a First Aid Kit For Your Trip to Germany?

Have You Thought About Packing a First Aid Kit For Your Trip to Germany? Photo Credit Flickr User DLG Images (CC BY 2.0)
Some travelers think of everything - including packing a first aid travel kit for their vacation. Then there are travelers, who travel with a Spongebob Band Aid and an expired Aspirin package. However, any traveler can get sick, whether because of the change to a new climate, unusual food or bad hygiene on an airplane. A few things belong in any travel first aid kit. Medications for fever, pain, and inflammation, as well as medicine for constipation and diarrhea (the #1 travel sickness), are part of the basic equipment. There should also be some bandaging material, as well as sufficient sun protection products, especially if you visit Germany during the warmer months. Here are some tips for your upcoming Germany vacation.

Take as Little as Possible, But as Much as Necessary
The rule of thumb for this list: take as little as possible, but as much as necessary. Feel free to edit the list to your needs. Keep in mind that most “drugstores” in Germany (called Drogerien) do not actually carry any medication. You will have to seek an Apotheke for that. Look for this red symbol. Step inside and ask the pharmacist for help. Most of them speak a bit of English or have someone on their staff that can help with the language barrier.

Note: This list does NOT replace professional advice from your doctor or your pharmacist. Also, keep in mind that some painkillers and other medication, that is sold over the counter in the United States might need a prescription by a German doctor. Take Benadryl as an example, which has Diphenhydramine as a main ingredient. You can buy Benadryl in almost every store in the United States, but in Germany you need a prescription to pick up a package in the Apotheke. Different country, different rules. If you are not sure, take the over the counter medication with you on your trip.

Here is what I usually pack:
• Painkillers For headaches and general pain, bring extra ones as needed. For example, a blister pack of 10 Aspirin pills will cost about $5 in a German Apotheke. Walk into an American drugstore and the $5 will buy you a 100 pack of Aspirin pills.
• Nasal Spray • The low humidity on an airplane always dries my nose out. After using nasal spray for two days, it is usually back to normal. This is my favorite nasal spray.
Nausea & Motion Sickness • There is nothing worse than problems with your stomach and/or intestines. Grab a small pack like this. The pills are chewable and get absorbed by your system fast.
Heartburn Relief • Vacations in different countries with new dishes and beverages leads us to eat too much and often too late in the day. This stimulates the acid production in our stomach, resulting in heartburn. I usually travel with a small package of Tums.
Diarrhea • Another unfortunate consequence of eating unknown or unusual foods on vacation is diarrhea. It can also be caused by bacteria, for example Salmonella, which can be found in products that were not maintained at the right temperature. Grab a package of Pepto Bismol pills (not the liquid) and you should be taken care of if and when your stomach fights back.
Band Aids • For small cuts, I prefer the Flexible Fabric Band-Aid, which is the most comfortable Band Aid I have ever used. My dad buys long strips of it and cuts them to the desired length. For travel, I prefer the pre-cut ones. I also pack a small tube of Neosporin antibiotic cream for small cuts. And yes, you also need a prescription in Germany for an antimicrobial/antibiotic ointment like Neosporin.
Prescribed Medication • If you have a chronic illness, make sure to pack enough pills to cover you for your entire trip, plus two extra days - you never know, you could drop a pill down the drain by accident or have a delayed flight home. Carry them on the plane in the original prescription bottle/package with your name on it and DO NOT check them in your luggage. Keep them in your purse or carry-on bag. Too many bags get lost, especially if you have a connecting flight.
Sleep Aid • Not only might the over-the-counter medication have a totally different name in Germany, some even require a prescription by a German doctor. One of my favorite sleep aids to fight jet lag is Melatonin, which you can buy at any grocery store in the United States. Its not as easy to get in Germany, which requires consumers to be over 55 years old and have a prescription, sold as Circadin in Germany. We’ve also had good luck with ZzzQuil, and use that to try and sleep on the flight to Germany.
• For good measure, throw in a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer, in case you find yourself without running water or want to disinfect your airplane tray table before taking off.


Two More Things
If you have an iPhone, make sure to fill out your Medical ID, so that first responders have access to your health information in case of an emergency. You can find Medical ID Health app setup instructions on Apple’s Help Page here:

For when disaster strikes during your Germany trip: Make sure to book travel insurance for your trip, since you never know what can and will happen. A recent family vacation incident was covered by less than a $100 travel insurance policy. Otherwise a weeks hospital stay including ICU station for several days would have cost us more than $25,000. Needless to say, we were very grateful for the added insurance coverage. For a quick quote (less than a minute), check our resources page and scroll to the bottom.

Have we forgotten something? Let us know what medical essentials you bring when you travel. Denise and I hope you have a safe trip!

Photo Credit: First Aid Kit Image by DLG Images shared via (CC BY 2.0).

Follow Along
If you enjoyed this article, or these topics sound interesting to you, you'll love our weekly newsletter. You'll receive the newest posts each week and exclusive access to free planning resources like ‘Packing List & Tips for 2 Weeks in Germany’ and ‘Everything You Need to Rent a Car in Germany’.

Thank you for reading!






Show more posts about traveling in Germany

Thank you For Reading! Denise & Sebastian | Photo by Irene Fiedler