Dresden has the largest fleet of paddle steamers in the world. They are moored on the Elbe below the Old City, and offer cruises lasting from an hour, down to the Blue Wonder bridge at Loschwitz and back, or to Meissen, to a week (to Magdeburg, among other places).
Food and drink are served (at very reasonable prices), and some trips are feature Dixieland jazz bands.
Dresden quayside, below the Altstadt (old city centre).
Fares range from around £10 (for the hour trip) upwards.
Tickets bookable in advance from the box office on the quay.
This museum in the city centre reopened in September 2006 after an extensive restoration.
It shows treasures of the Saxony royal house - in particular, decorative objects and jewellery from about 1650 to 1800.
The design of the museum combines the modern with settings appropriate to the period of the exhibits.
All signs are in German and English.
A visit here would interest both old and young.
Residenzschloss, Dresden city centre, Sophienstrasse.
Tram or bus stop Theaterplatz.
The Danube cycle path (or Donau-Radweg) runs all the way from the source of the Danube at Donaueshingen to Vienna and on to Bratislava and Budapest.
It's all very flat, so it's definitely cycling for softies. About 95% of it is on cycle paths so the only hazard is getting run down by lycra-clad Germans.
There are lots of excellent B&Bs and campsites.
Several detailed guides are available, including a couple in English.
All the way from Donaueshingen to Budapest
Gentle countryside, prevailing south-west wind, lots of cycle paths in the Netherlands and bike-aware motorists when you need to use the roads. Follow paths signed in red from the port across to Enschede or Almelo, then choose your own route in Germany using ADFC cycle maps or download maps with tried & tested routes at www.radweit.de. Dutchflyer tickets from London to the Hook of Holland for only £25 o/w incl bike!
This gallery opened in 2002 and shows the visual arts and design of the 20th and 21st centuries. It was designed by Stephan Braunfel. It is spacious, full of natural light from a huge rotunda, and offers both a permanent collection and changing exhibitions. It is a pleasure to visit. The design work in particular is imaginatively displayed, on ramps, on huge open lifts that revolve in the air, or suspended at eye level from the high ceilings. Like the other nearby museums, it has a good cafe, and an attractive shop that sells both mementos of your visit and scholarly material. The entry fee was 9.50 euros but that covered all the shows offered in the gallery.
Museum District; tram 27 from Karlsplatz (Stachus) www.pinakothek-der-moderne.de
Hamburg is a paradise for shopping. Here are some top shopping centres and department stores in the city of Hamburg.
The Alsterhouse at the Alster U station Jungfernstieg, Karstadt at Mönckebergstraße 16 a few minutes' walk from the main station (Hauptbanhof).
The Quarre shopping centre in Wandsbeck Wandsbeker Marktstrasse 103 U Station Wandsbek Markt, the shopping centre in Mundsburg U station Hamburger strasse.
It's a sort of lounge/nightclub. I think it is a restaurant during the day. I was stumbling around Zoologischer Garten on a Thursday night and some kid handed me a flyer which (out of character for me) I took and it said there was live music playing. So I went over there and when I went in I was really surprised. There was a great band doing covers of soul classics and some other things i didnt recognise with an amazing piano player (who looked like Pat from Saturday Night Live) who took solo after solo and did not disappoint. Not to mention that the place was very stylish, chic but not expensive. Most people were sitting down and listening to the music but another group was dancing. I had a great time there and went back twice during that stay. I heartily reccomend it.
west on kantstrasse from the Zoo Station in Charlottenburg.
The Haus der Kunst is one of the few Third Reich buildings left intact in Munich, (the former air ministry also survives in Berlin). It housed the notorious so-called Degenerate Art exhibition in July 1937, where examples of new art were displayed in order to be ridiculed. By a nice irony the building is now used to show changing exhibitions of radical art of all kinds, including performance.
Prinzregentenstrasse, adjacent to the Bayrische National Museum and the Schack-Galerie. Tram 17 from the city centre.
A decision to restore the city of Munich was taken after wartime bombing and so, unlike Frankfurt, for example, which is almost brand new, or Berlin, which is an extraordinary mix of old and new, Munich has regained the main elements of its prewar appearance. The result restores a city whose inhabitants, including its rulers, were in love with Italy and Ancient Greece. Koenigsplatz is one good place to see the epic scale of this phenomenon, where two major classical museums face one another across a vast grassy square, separated by a monumental gate, again in a classical style. What might have been grandiose is saved by the presence, in good weather, of children playing, and students from the nearby university sitting around, chatting, and generally enjoying the sunshine.
U2 to Koenigsplatz from Hauptbahnhof.
The Stadtische Galerie in the Lenbachhaus is set in an Italianate villa and shows both changing exhibitions and a permanent collection of paintings and sculpture from the first half of the Twentieth century. There is an unrivalled collection of the work of Kandinsky, Gabriele Munther and Franz Marc. The building has an intimate, friendly atmosphere and, very important, a good cafeteria.
Luisenstrasse 33. U2 to Konigsplatz from Hauptbahnhof (central station). Five minute walk to Lenbachhaus.
The U6 U-bahn to Universitat takes you to Geschwester Scholl-platz, named after Sophie and Hans Scholl, the students who were murdered by the Nazis for challenging the regime. The buildings in this area, and the nearby Englischer Garten, will be familiar to admirers of "Heimat 2." This is where Edgar Reitz set his series about student life in the 1960's. The area just to the north contains many beautiful Art Nouveau villas.
U6 to Universitat. Short walk to Englischer Garten.
The Alte, the Neue and the Pinakothek der Moderne are wonderful galleries showing painting, sculpture and, in the last case, design as well, all in close walking distance of each other, just to the north-west of the city centre. They have work ranging in time from the Renaissance to the present day, all presented in distinguished buildings which are welcoming and, especially in the case of the modern gallery, fun to visit.
Barer Strasse. U2 line to Theresienstrasse, or Tram 27 to Pinakotheken.
Great park in the middle of Hamburg, a nice place for children and family. You can find beautiful gardens, a Japanese garden, mini golf, ice skating, roller skating and trampoline. From May to September there is music on the bandstand.
Edmund Siemers allee from Damtor U station
Gorch Falk Wall from Stephansplaz U station
While there are plenty of great hotels in Berlin, staying in an apartment proved much better value. We had a huge one-bedroom place in Kreuzberg, where the bathroom alone was about the size of our whole flat in London. And it was £25 a night each. This website has loads of different apartments all over Berlin or varying sizes. A great way to feel like a local while being on holiday.
Fantastic Vietnamese cafe/bar, serving unbelievably cheap fresh noodles, soups, dumplings and juices in a trendy bit of Mitte. Young and cool and always very crowded, with a picture of Monsieur Vuong on the bright yellow and red walls. A welcome respite from too many wursts!
Alte Schonhauser Strasse 46, Mitte
Great French restaurant serving tasty steaks, matchstick frites and a huge selection of wines. Atmospheric lighting, vintage cigarette posters, good service and really low prices given the quality of the food. Stays open late too.
Schutzenstrasse 5, Mitte, www.entrecote.de
The bars and restaurants around Hakescher Markt & Oranienburger Strasse are great: lively venues offering good value with great service. The 'ladies of the night' plying their trade on Oranienburger Strasse was an eye opener.
However, under no circumstances visit 'Dante' in the row of restaurants situated in Hakescher Markt's S-Bhan station arches. We waited 50 minutes before we found that the kitchen had lost our order and a further 30 for the food to arrive, the staff were rude and at no point was an apology offered. This is not the norm as all other retsuarants in the area provided very friendly and efficient service.
In the Mitte. There are countless restaurants situated in and around the railway arches of Hakescher Markt's S-Bahn station, which is on lines; S-5, S-7, S-9.
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