This is part one (of four) of my Germany and surrounds trip. In total, I’ll be spending just under eleven weeks in Europe, most of that in Germany, the country of my ancestors – and of my recent(ish) citizenship acquisition. In this post, I will give you the basic outline of the first two and a half weeks of the trip, from my arrival in Frankfurt to my departure for Berlin from Paris. Note that some specifics might change due to the exigencies of scheduling, weather, Covid, or any number of factors.
Day One – Los Angeles to Frankfurt
My flight arrives in the morning, and I’ll get to use my German passport for the first time. I’m actually pretty happy with my itinerary: Burbank to Dallas to Frankfurt using American miles. After clearing customs, it’s off to my hotel. (As you know, I normally use Airbnb properties, but a) Frankfurt was expensive and b) with unknowns when booking as to what Covid requirements would be I thought it safer to spend the first leg in a hotel where staff could assist if needed.)
If I’m able to check in, I’ll grab a quick nap. If not (or after the nap), it’s off to Frankfurt’s old town to see some churches, eat some food, and explore the Kleinmarkthalle, the old market. Regardless, it will be an early night, I’m sure.
Days Two through Five – Frankfurt
I have several things planned, which I’ll be spreading out over these four days, and which are largely being comped (the perk of being a writer). I’ll be visiting the Stadel Museum, one of Germany’s best art museums, and the Frankfurt History Museum. I’ll experience the Judengasse, a museum to the historic Jewish neighborhood of Frankfurt, where some of my ancestors once lived. I’ll learn about Goethe while visiting his home, wander the huge Palmengarten, and view the city from above at the Main Tower.
Of course I’ll also start my journey through German cuisine. Apfelwein (apple wine), frankfurters, and other regional specialties await.
Day Six – Frankfurt to Bonn
It is time to depart Germany’s financial hub for the capital of West Germany, now a small city with little political clout. There are two ways to get there by train: the high speed train to Cologne and a quick jaunt south to Bonn, or the slow train up the Rhine Valley. I will be opting for the latter. Scenic rail trips are a true pleasure, and I intend to enjoy this one thoroughly.
Day Seven – Bonn
My day will start with a visit to Beethoven’s house, and I can’t imagine a better way to start this portion of the trip. Afterward, I intend to walk the old part of the city center, finding a nice cafe along the Rhine for lunch before returning to my Airbnb.
Day Eight – Cologne
Cologne is about thirty minutes from Bonn by train, making this a nice day trip. I’ll be visiting the Cologne Cathedral, one of the largest in the world, drinking a tiny beer called a kolsch, and learning about the origins of cologne (as in perfume) at the Fragrance Museum. And of course there will be some wandering of the city center before heading back to Bonn. (Yes, I know there is so much more to see in Cologne, like a world-class Roman museum, but I prefer to keep my days a bit lighter and more relaxed, even at the expense of seeing more.)
Days Nine Through Twelve – Bonn
The rest of the week will be spent in Bonn. Some highlights I’m excited for: a Beethoven concert back at his house, a visit to a museum dedicated to the history of West Germany, a trip down the Rhine to Konigswinter and Drachenburg Castle, and a leisurely wander through Poppelsdorf Palace and its gardens.
Day Thirteen – Bonn to Paris
It just so happens that I have a wedding to attend in Paris, that scheduled after my trip did. So a side trip is in order. The express train from Cologne to Paris is just a few hours (seriously, we need such things in the US), meaning I’ll arrive in the early afternoon to check into my hotel in the Opera District.
Days Fourteen through Sixteen – Paris
To be honest, I don’t know how much time I’ll have to do touristy things, given familial obligations. I do expect at least a few hours here and there. I will be skipping the top sights (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, etc…) in favor of some of the second tier, like Sacre Coeur and Montmartre, one of the public gardens (maybe Luxembourg), and of course as many cafes and boulangeries as I can fit in.
Day Seventeen – Paris to Berlin
My flight from Orly to Berlin isn’t until evening, and family is leaving from CDG in the morning, so I have most of a day to spend at the Musee D’Orsay. Then it’s off to Berlin and part two of the trip!
So that’s the basic itinerary for the first portion of my trip. As always, you can follow along for daily highlights on my Instagram page. Articles will probably begin mid-September, well into part two of the trip, but you can count on some cool looks into some awesome places all throughout the fall and winter.
Below is a map of this portion of the trip. Frankfurt is to the far right; Paris is on the left. Bonn is the other flag, just up and to the left from Frankfurt.