My tentative itinerary

Old Feb 25th, 2016, 11:23 AM
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My tentative itinerary

I was really tempted to misspell itinerary.

Anyway, I've had a hard time with the last part of this itinerary because I locked myself into a couple of non-refundable hotels before I had really planned the whole thing. Here goes:

June 1 Arrive Frankfurt
Air Berlin to Berlin
Berlin 5 days
Warsaw 5 days
Dresden 4 days
Bad Schandau. Zittau, Bautzen, Görlitz (car) 4 days
Wernigerode 4 days
Halle 2 days
Then 4 days for Weimar and/or Erfurt
One night in the palatial Motel One near Frankfurt Flughafen.

I'm not sure what to do about Weimar and Erfurt. I spent a couple of days in Weimar and liked it. I spent a couple of hours in Erfurt but didn't see much. My Frommers suggests that there is architecture that I'd like. I am tempted to spend 2 days in each. Any suggestions?
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 11:29 AM
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Don't forget Naumburg next door to Weimar - a neat old small town and Eisenach just for Wartburg Castle.

Wernigerode - do a day trip to Quedlinburg - a UNESCO World Heritage city if you have not been there. And gorgeous Celle is also just a short train ride.

Dresden check out neighboring Meissen for its famous ceramics factory and museum and a neat old town with a church/castle on a hill - short train ride from Dresden.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 11:41 AM
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Actually looking to your trip report to see where I should go.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 12:37 PM
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Peg, we enjoyed our half day in Erfurt and thought that we'd have liked to stay longer but Weimar has a lot more possibilities, so another 2 nights there and a night in Erfurt might be more like it.

Naumburg would definitely be worth half a day or so and this year the Kirschfest co-incides with the end of your trip:

http://hussiten-kirschfest.de

The Cathedral is the main attraction but there is also the Altstadt, some lovely streets of very pleasant "villas" and a few museums which we have yet to penetrate. Their website gives a lot of information about the city though they have yet to correct the dates for the Kirschfest given at the top - the link further down says that in 2016 it's from 23-27 June.

Even more interesting you may think is the link to the 2016 elections page:

http://www.naumburg.de/index.php?id=...dtnaumburg2014

as it reminds us, it's only 25 years since the inhabitants of Naumburg, like everyone in the former DDR, received the right to vote, something that they obviously take very seriously. Our friends who live there said that some 25,000 Russian troops were stationed there; they only left in 1991. For a town with a population of about 35,000 that was a hell of a lot of soldiers.

very few people in Naumburg speak English which may be an additional attraction.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 01:10 PM
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Erfurt and Weimar are a short train ride apart - I would not relocated as that takes a lot of time but day trip from one to the other - Weimar being a much more relaxed place IME.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 03:03 PM
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If doing all those German places by train check out the German Railpass which at its max number of days costs per day about as much as a discounted ticket or a regional pass (for one person) and you can hop any train anytime with very few exceptions - for lots on German trains check www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

OP is a veteran German traveler and may know about all the discounts but folks often overlooked the German Railpass as being automatically overpriced, etc but do have a look for your German train plans if going by rail mainly it could be the best ticket to ride.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 03:04 PM
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Pal, I think you're right about Erfurt/Weimar. I was thinking about staying in one and spending a day in the other--probably staying in Weimar and doing an excursion to Erfurt. That would save me the hassle of getting on and off another train.

I have been to Quedlinburg and loved it! Gorgeous town.

I have a bad habit of reserving non-refundable hotels too soon and being locked in to a particular town/area. I'm locked into Wernigerode and am unwilling to stray from that general area. I do want to visit Halle because I want to see the museum of pre-history there.

I looked at photos of Naumburg, as I knew it had been recommended, but the pictures I saw didn't look very attractive.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 03:07 PM
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Thanks for the reminder about the railpass. I don't usually bother about saving money if it's a big hassle, but since I'll probably be going by train six or seven times, it could be a real saving for me.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 03:55 PM
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There is nothing wrong with staying in Wernigerode. It is the central place among the places of interest on the northern side of the Harz, and can easily be used as a base to explore Quedlinburg, Goslar, Bode valley, Halberstadt etc., it is also the starting point of the steam railway.

Concerning Halle: in addition to the museum which is really worth seeing, and not only because of the sky disc which is their "star" object, I'd like to draw your attention to two really unique sights:
- the old cemetery (Stadtgottesacker), built in the style of an Italian camposanto in the 16th century, and
- Franckesche Stiftungen, the pietist orphanage and school built around 1700 and completely preserved. Not to be mussed: the Kunst- und Naturalienkabinett, which is actually the collection of items from nature and science, obtained through missionaries from all around the world, that the school used for teaching.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 05:17 PM
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Since you already plan to rent a car for 4 days to explore SE Saxony, you can check if there is any surcharge for renting a full week. Usually 5-7 days are identical in costs.
If so, you could use the car to get to Wernigerode, and have it for 3 days to explore the area for free. Except for gas and the odd speeding ticket - sorry, I could not resist ;-)
One-way car rentals within Germany usually do not incur an extra fee, you may want to check the fineprint.
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Old Feb 26th, 2016, 08:50 AM
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Thanks for the reminder about the railpass. I don't usually bother about saving money if it's a big hassle, but since I'll probably be going by train six or seven times, it could be a real saving for me.>

and convenience - hop on any train anytime- no restrictions to regional trains - no advance booking in stone - I judge the efficacy of a pass on both the cost and the convenience - full spontaneity to hop any train at any station.
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Old Feb 26th, 2016, 10:50 AM
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Your itinerary sounds very good to me. A few comments below.

- I'll comment on Bad Schandau etc. on your other thread.
- I loved Wernigerode, stayed there three nights in the Hotel Gothisches Haus right on the Markt square. My tips here: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/4166c/1f9e/
If you think you run out of things to do, a day trip to Halberstadt is well worth your time - the town was severely bombed in WWII, but the cathedral (with treasure chamber) and the Liebfrauenkirche are stunning. The town Thale is a good day trip option for natural beauty (with chair lift and gondola to take you up to viewpoints.)
- Another vote for Halle. Lots of things to do and see there. The Moritzburg castle has an interesting art gallery with focus on "Die Brücke" paintings. See the salt museum (tours).
- I would stay in Erfurt. Lots of things to do there, more than in Weimar IMO. I personally didn't care much for the latter, but that's subjective, of course. Here are my tips for Erfurt (warning, lots of churches ):
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/4166c/fee6/
Weimar is an easy day trip from Erfurt. If you have already been to Weimar, consider Gotha as excursion. Schloss Friedenstein was recently restored, with stunning exhibits. http://www.stiftungfriedenstein.de/

I would not buy a railpass. For travel within the three states Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia you can use the Länderticket, one covers all three states, no matter where you buy it. Valid from 9 am on the whole day on regional trains and buses, in many cities also on local transportation. Cost is 23 Euro for a single traveller. Better even, if you buy tickets for a fixed train in advance, if it includes IC/ICE/EC trains, you can get them for 19 Euro per trip (for Bad Schandau - Wernigerode e.g.) In Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt (for Erfurt - Gotha, Erfurt - Weimar e.g.) you can use the Hopper Ticket for 7.90 or 8.90 Euro.
https://www.bahn.de/p/view/angebot/r...ueringen.shtml
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Old Feb 26th, 2016, 10:56 AM
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When in Görlitz, if you are so inclined...

...in the park you can stand in the "Geographical Midpoint" of Europe.
...you can view "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Görlitz Warenmhaus Department Store exterior)
...and you can walk the footbridge into the Polish sister city of Zgorzelec. The old German border markers were there once upon a time, though they have probably since been taken down.
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 05:01 AM
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Franckesche Stiftungen, the pietist orphanage and school built around 1700 and completely preserved. Not to be mussed: the Kunst- und Naturalienkabinett, which is actually the collection of items from nature and science, obtained through missionaries from all around the world, that the school used for teaching.>>

a definite "muss". We had guided tour when we went with our legal exchange group last year and it was fascinating.


thanks for the info about Erfurt, Ingo. We obviously missed a lot on our half day there. Peg - I seem to remember that there were some roadworks between Weimar and Erfurt that meant it took us ages to drive from one to the other. Definitely take the train if you can!
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 06:52 AM
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We loved Wernigerode two summers ago! Go up top to the castle for a tour. Take the train up the Brocken or hike up it. My boys, 4 and 6, husband and I hiked it. It's an entire day, but so much fun. Or hike up to the top and take the train down.

There are caves in the area, if you would enjoy that, either Hermannshoehle or Baumannshoehle in Ruebeland. Choose one, you don't need to do two.

Quedlinburg is also worth the visit.

Check out the Sorbisches Museum in Bautzen. The Sorbs are an ethnic community in that area. You can take home a decorated egg as a souvenir.

Also, consider visiting Saxony Switzerland, especially the Basteibruecke. We've always had a car in Europe, but I see lots of buses heading up there. It's so different than the Germany you picture in your head!

Not sure if you are into zoos, but we spent an entire day at the Berlin Zoo two years ago. It's a wonderful day.

You will love Dresden. I used to take exchange students there in the summer and it is one of my favorite places. I do recommend Meissen if you want to head out of the state a bit.

Enjoy your trip! It sounds wonderful.
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 09:02 AM
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Thanks so much for the information, everybody. I have been to many of the towns and cities mentioned, but there are certainly places new to me. I will print out this thread and incorporate various suggestions into my trip.

I've been to Wernigerode twice, but because of health issues, did not go to the Brocken or the castle. I will do both this time, if I have to be carried to them, unconscious and on life support, in an ambulance.

Cowboy: Since I have discovered the little red circle with the number in it on the GPS which tells me the speed limit and which chimes as a reminder, I don't think I'll get a speeding ticket.
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 10:36 AM
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You won't have to be carried to the castle near Wernigerode... they have a little train-like vehicle that takes you from the town square up the hill. Very convenient. We enjoyed the castle... it had more of a feel that a family had lived there.

I know you've been to Dresden before; we love it there, too! Meissen is a short distance away -- day trip if you have time.

I look forward to your trip report!
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 02:30 PM
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And the Brocken is also not such a big deal, as the steam train takes you up to the plateau on the summit and from there it is only a short walk with just a slight ascent to the very top. I recommend seeing thee little museum at the top, by the way.

In case you need another day trip option, and an off the beaten path one, from Wernigerode, have you considered Wolfenbüttel? http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/f86bd/17dd/
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Old Feb 27th, 2016, 03:56 PM
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Wolfenbüttel looks charming, quokka. I'm putting it on my list for a future visit.
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Old Feb 28th, 2016, 01:01 AM
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I like the Motel One chain a lot, but I certainly would not stay near the airport when you have Frankfurt so close. You miss out on all of the sightseeing, restaurants, etc. that is available in the city. You will spend more time and effort getting back and forth to the Motel One then you would getting to a hotel in the city. The train only takes 11 min.

Event the end of June in Frankfurt

* 22 June-1 July Opern Platz Fest, Frankfurt Alte Oper Plaza
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