For a man with such megalomaniac ambitions, it's striking how little survives of the world Hitler created. Watching over the river traffic with new friends from around the world while enjoying the cheapest accommodations on the Rhine…that's good travel. The first record of a Burg (castle) on the Elz is from 1157. The shorter Best of Germany guidebook focuses on Germany's top destinations and sights, is in full color, and is updated every other year. Holger: Yeah, that's one thing people here really kept from the communist times, and they really fought for them. Rick: Ampelmännchen. In the 1600s, the Catholic and Protestant armies were fighting all across Europe. The crew lives in the bow. Rick: Well, let me try another, a little more. They built it almost overnight in 1961 to stop their people from fleeing to freedom in the West. In the Middle Ages, when Frankfurt and Munich were just wide spots on the road, Rothenburg was one of Germany's largest cities, with a whopping population of 6,000. Many of the castles were "robber-baron" castles, extortion stops — built by petty princes and two-bit rulers, back when there were 350 independent little states in what is today Germany. And the last room celebrates the happy ending, the euphoric days in 1989 when people-power literally tore down the Wall. And I don't need to bring up my bucket of coal anymore. Placards explain the events of 1953. Before World War II, it was the Times Square of Berlin — famously one of the busiest squares in Europe. Auf Wiedersehen. Rick Steves is America's leading authority on European travel. Upstairs, its Museum of Christmas Ornaments gives a kind of historic legitimacy to its merchandise. Along this stretch, there were customs stops like this about every six miles. Suzanne: Sure? They came here to paint and write about the best-preserved medieval town in Germany. Stepping inside, you can see how the first German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm, ordered up bombastic decor, which seems to declare "we're here to stay." In the 1950s, he had it rebuilt with lavish Soviet aid and named it "Stalin Boulevard.". Rick: The modern unification of Germany. Warning: The area has become a Cold War freak show and — as if celebrating the final victory of crass capitalism — is one of Berlin's worst tourist-traps. Its exterior and history are stirring, and it's fascinating to climb up the twin ramps that spiral through its dome. The Loreley, rising 450 feet over the narrowest and deepest point of the Rhine, has long been important. Torture — like stretching someone on the rack — was only used to get confessions. But when the sun beamed on their tower, a huge cross reflected on the mirrored ball, high on the grandest spire in East Berlin. For your lockdown/quarantine reading pleasure... RKI Information on the designation of international risk areas effective from Sunday, November 1, 2020, at 0:00 am in English: A minor offense — such as stealing — earned you a quick death by beheading. As on the Rhine, towns on the Mosel — like Beilstein — grew up below their castles. The Brandenburg Gate is a glorious reminder that, long before the birth of modern Germany in 1871, the country of Prussia was the leading German state and a European power. Cruising the Rhine River, we dodge riverboat traffic and the legendary Loreley. Rick: Actually the Holy Roman Emperor ruled from here? It's cool, people come in with money, the creative people move out, and now you've got comfortable, desirable apartments. Holger: And like me, like, I came here as a student. It's been in the Eltz family for eight centuries. Log in with Office365. The feudal hierarchy — all these layers of lords — rested upon the backs of the landless peasant, or "serf." This is the German Alamo. Freeing to fleedom. This time, we're going medieval — cruising river gorges steeped in legend and climbing castles in the most romantic corners of Germany. Rick: Every time I come here to the Deutsches Eck, I feel it's very close to the heart of the German people or something. After the war, it was the headquarters for the Soviet occupation. Checkpoint Charlie — the most famous border crossing between the East and West — stood about here. The fine echoes here — thought to be ghostly voices — fertilized legend-tellers' imaginations. Generally, just a quick look at these tools got the accused talking. The Mosel moseys 300 miles from its source in France — where it's called the Moselle. Each triangle covers a segment of the bend — the lowest triangle being nearest. Exhibits line up along several long blocks of Bernauer Strasse, stretching northeast from the Nordbahnhof S-Bahn station. Fleeing to freedom in the west. As the night watchman blows his horn signaling all is well, we know that medieval Germany survives. Today, the castle can only be visited on a 40-minute tour (these run more frequently in German, but guides pass out a helpful English info sheet that makes the visit worthwhile). This point, where the two rivers meet — the Deutsches Eck, or German corner — is the tourists' jumping-off point for exploring the dreamy Mosel. Like many medieval towns, the finest and biggest houses were built along Herrengasse — named for the Herren, or the wealthy class. Potsdamer Platz is a symbol of Berlin's rebirth. Rick: So it got really run-down during communism. The grandiose Chancellery is the official residence of the prime minister. Rick: So you don't have to go downstairs for the toilet. Sicily serves up a full-bodied and tasty travel experience. The creaky wooden staircase and the elegant dining hall, with long wooden tables surrounded by antlers, chandeliers, and feudal weapons, will get you in the mood for your castle sightseeing, but the riverside terrace may mace your momentum. Dreamy castles harken back to Germany's misty medieval roots. The Mauerpark, or Wall Park, hosts a parade of alternative lifestyles. She's a photographer and offers trip-planning services. And back then, standing here, I'd be dead. The commoners built higgledy-piggledy farther from the center near the walls. In another car, a person was actually hidden in a false gas tank. With its motto, "To the German People," it's the symbolic heart of German democracy. This Christmas wonderland is filled with enough twinkling lights to require a special electrical hookup. Hi - New to the forums but am excited to learn from some of the knowledgeable folks here! The Mosel is the Rhine's peaceful little sister — with romantic villages slipped between steep vineyards and the river, lots of friendly B&Bs, and a sprinkling of castles. The powerful Rhine has long been treacherous to navigate. This is Berlin's most substantial memorial relating to its gone-but-not-forgotten Wall. The city's name comes from the Latin word for "confluence" — a reminder of the region's Roman past. It's hoped that each visitor will find their own. The communists also built Berlin's 1,200-foot-tall TV Tower — quite an impressive erection back in the 1960s. Post questions and answers about travel in Germany. This time we're in the fastest changing big city in Europe. Rick: Nice. The home stretch of that axis, leading to the palace, was Unter den Linden. While some travelers do the whole Mainz-Koblenz trip by boat (5.5 hours downstream, 8.5 hours up), I'd just focus on the most scenic hour — from St. Goar to Bacharach. 11:25. Germany's historic parliament building — completed in 1894, burned in 1933, sad and lonely in a no-man's land throughout the Cold War, and finally rebuilt and topped with a glittering glass cupola in 1999 — is a symbol of a proudly reunited nation. Berliners have a remarkable ability to embrace the present while surrounded by remnants of their tumultuous past. Reflecting on its past while energized by a promising future, today's Berlin is an old city with a new spirit. In this fun, family-run wine shop and Stube in Bacharach's town center, Markus and daughters Magdalena and Katharina proudly share their family's centuries-old wine tradition, explaining its fine points to travelers. Rick: Must have been a very creative time. But like Berlin, it's definitively Protestant. Join Rick as he experiences the local culture, cuisine, and fun along with some powerful lessons that only travel can teach. The tenor of the times these days — with the city rebuilt and thoroughly reunified — is peaceful and that's the feeling here on a lazy summer afternoon. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, Tilman Riemenschneider — this is supposedly his self-portrait — was the Michelangelo of German wood-carvers. Suzanne: OK. Riesling is the best white wine grape. I'm Rick Steves. Sort of a rallying cry? A five-minute walk from the bus stop and visitors center takes you to the impressive viewpoint overlooking the Rhine Valley from atop the famous rock. Berlin's an old city with a young past. It's a fine example of how Berlin developed. This leafy boulevard — named for its linden trees — was, in its day, the Champs-Elysées of central Europe. Until next time… keep on travelin'. In three hours, we're in Rothenburg, Germany's ultimate walled city. Nice story. But after World War I, the German Republic was proclaimed from right here. This tour is flat-out the most entertaining hour of medieval wonder anywhere in Germany. I'm staying at Haus Lipmann — a family-run restaurant that rents out a few rooms upstairs. Technically, this invalidates your passport — which has caused some tourists big problems. Galleries here feature art through the ages from Egypt and Ancient Greece to romantic age art that celebrates German nationalism. Cruising along a delightful riverside path, you'll pass the impressive new buildings housing the German government, fine bridges symbolizing the new connection of East and West, and inviting "beach cafés.". While the Rhine is over 800 miles long, the 36-mile stretch from Mainz to Koblenz is by far the most interesting. Today, what was once a former death strip along the Wall is a fun-loving park. Many come with the original medieval view. The Catholic army took the Protestant town of Rothenburg, and, as was customary, they planned to execute the town leaders and pillage and plunder the place. Glorious woodcarvings and cruel and unusual punishments shine a light on medieval life, but my favorite trip into medieval Rothenburg is with the Night Watchman. For almost two hundred years it stood in ruins until it caught the attention of a rich Berliner who bought the castle dirt-cheap in 1868 and spared no expense in turning it into a luxurious private residence furnished with tasteful antiques. Imagine this courtyard 500 years ago — it had a bakery, pharmacy, herb garden, livestock, a well — even a brewery. Rick Steves, America's leading authority on European travel, returns to transport viewers to the continent's bustling cities, quaint villages and picturesque countryside. The museum is more eclectic than its name and includes exhibits on general history, superstition, biblical art, and so on. The included audioguide explains the highlights. Thanks for joining us. Built in 1245 to guard a toll station, it soon earned the nickname "the unconquerable fortress." And Berlin has emerged as one of Europe's top destinations. See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. The other 43 rooms are empty, as Ravené's descendants took most of their stuff in 1942 when they were forced to sell the castle to the Nazi government (which then used it as a training center for lawyers). Hi, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the best of Europe. It was a holy site in pre-Roman days. Today, even with its crowds and overpriced souvenirs, I love this place. The simple dorm rooms — whether for individuals or families — are a godsend for budget travel. Man: Ja, Kaiser Wilhelm built Germany. A symbolic cemetery? Rick: OK, Ampelmännchen. The hostel offers hearty all-you-can-eat buffet dinners; in summer, its bistro serves drinks and snacks all day until late. Once a tense and foreboding place, it's now a garish commercial free-for-all. This allowed the little German princes to go wild and build all these castles. Most of the buildings were built by 1400. 920.85K 0 0 235. rick steves full episode rick steves travel guide rick steves europe rick steves greece rick steves greek islands greece rick steves greek islands travel greek islands rick steves . This exhibit sits on the site of what was once the nerve center for the Gestapo and the SS, the most despicable elements of the Nazi government. The Alamo? Rick: I like it. They warn of approaching ships. This shop brags it has the world's largest free-hanging cuckoo clock. These first trees were strewn with cookies, apples, nuts, and sugar sticks — which children eagerly raided. Berlin is built around a historic axis. Today, Frederick the Great looks out intently over grand buildings, which symbolized his reign. It's the queen of the white wine grapes. During the Cold War, the House at Checkpoint Charlie stood defiantly — spitting distance from the border guards — showing off all the clever escapes over, under, and through the Wall. And since then, this once thoroughly divided city has tackled the challenge of reunification, and, after a massive and costly rebuild, has effectively woven itself back together. But for Germans, it has a special significance. Posted on September 8, 2020 by Rick Steves Daily Dose of Europe: The Queen’s English Oscar Wilde famously said that the English “have really everything in common with America nowadays — except, of course, language.” Posted on October 10, 2020 October 10, 2020 by Rick Steves Daily Dose of Europe: Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece This altarpiece was painted for a medieval hospital, which specialized in patients suffering from horrible skin diseases. Because of security concerns, getting in requires a reservation (free; book online — spots often book up several days in advance). Visitors here are understandably fascinated by the Nazi sights, communism, and the Wall. 2019-04-12 Published Date . Getting to and from Berlin is easy. Boats generally pass on the right. This line marks where the infamous Berlin Wall once stood. Get inspired with Rick Steves’ recommended places to go and things to do, with tips, photos, videos, and travel information on Germany. This museum — the best of its kind — shows graphically how people were punished in the Middle Ages. Back in the 1850s, '70s, Industrial Revolution comes along, the population of Berlin doubled within the space of 30 years, from one to two million, so people needed apartments, people needed space to live, so that's why all these buildings were built. It saw lots of action in the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), and later became the strongest and most modern fortress in the Holy Roman Empire. Travel with Rick on this video guide to Berlin, Germany and find out what to do on your next trip. Over the years, he's enjoyed showing my tour groups around town. Full Rick Steves' Europe Episodes Watch more Rick Steves' Europe While a massive public expense, Germans consider this a smart investment for both business and the people. After climbing castles and descending into dungeons, we relax with Rhine wine. Logically, imports — like oil — go upstream, and exports — like German manufactured goods — go downstream. Rothenburg is a huge hit with shoppers. Night Watchman: This town was conquered the first time in 1631, so it took a while — hundreds of years — no enemy made it into this city. After a tumultuous 20th century — bombed flat in World War II, divided first by the victorious Allies, and later by its notorious Wall — reunited Berlin has resumed its place as the capital of Germany. About Rick Steve's Europe Thanks to PBS39, you can travel around the world without leaving your home. It raised Europe's largest army, Berlin was a military metropolis, and goose-stepping was in. Today, St. Goar is a tourist town. This one specializes in steins. The Heidrich family has made wine here for generations. Rick: What is the deal? Pfalz Castle (also known as Pfalzgrafenstein), built in the river in the 1300s, worked very effectively to tax medieval river traffic. He whittled this incredible ensemble to hold a precious rock-crystal capsule — believed to contain a drop of Jesus' blood. ... YouTube; Twitter; Pinterest; "I can do that." Herr Jung, Bacharach's retired schoolmaster, is a good friend of mine. Plan your own trip or take one of Rick's value-packed European tours and vacations. Season 11 of Rick Steves' Europe debuts this October and features eight all-new episodes. The canopy is romantic now, but back then, it was practical — it kept the heat in and the bugs out. Rick Steves’ Travel Blog I'm sharing my travel experiences, candid opinions and what's on my mind. Upstairs is the excellent Christmas Museum, which tells the history of Christmas decorations with a unique and thoughtfully described collection of tree stands, mini trees sent in boxes to WWI soldiers at the front, early Advent calendars, old-time Christmas cards, Christmas pyramids, and a look at the evolution of Father Christmas as well as tree decorations through the ages — including the Nazi era and when you were a kid. All these castles are remnants of Europe's feudal system. The exhibit is a bit dense, but WWII historians (even armchair ones) will find it fascinating. Herr Jung: Nothing changed. More serious capital offenses — like murder with theft — earned you a slow death, like having all your bones broken under a wheel before your execution. For 200 years. It was right here, deep in his underground bunker, that Hitler committed suicide…on April 30, 1945. But today, Berlin is thoughtfully incorporating the river into a people-friendly cityscape. Rothenburg's main church is home to Tilman Riemenschneider's breathtaking, wood-carved Altar of the Holy Blood. But a unification movement was growing. True, this is a great place to buy cuckoo clocks, steins, and dirndls — but see the town first. Here and in other places, hustlers charge an exorbitant €10 for a full set of Cold War-era stamps in your passport. Rooms recall the artful diplomacy of the age, including President Reagan's famous speech. The tour finishes with a scene from the Rothenburg of centuries ago. Then, in 1933, a mysterious fire gutted the building, giving Hitler a convenient opportunity to blame the communists for the blaze in order to consolidate his hold on power. The mighty Rhine is joined by the Mosel River at Koblenz. The "Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart." American travel authority Rick Steves guides viewers through his favorite European cities. That was East, that was West. Reagan: Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. The island's imposing Neoclassical buildings host five grand museums: the Pergamon Museum (classical antiquities; this is undergoing restoration — and is only partially open till at least 2019); the Neues Museum ("New Museum," famous for its Egyptian collection with the bust of Queen Nefertiti); the Old National Gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie, 19th-century art, mostly German Romantic and Realist paintings); the Altes Museum ("Old Museum," more antiquities); and the Bode Museum (European statuary and paintings through the ages, coins, and Byzantine art). Art like this gave Rothenburgers spiritual guidance. Daniela leads Rick Steves tours in France, Germany, and Italy. See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. When Germany called this a memorial to the "murdered" Jews it was a big step. Holger: And we call them Ampelmännchen. As World War II drew to a close, the Nazis made their last stand here. For any Berliner under 30, their world has always been capitalistic, democratic, free, and peaceful. With the Wall gone, the two Berlins were mended together and the scars of the Cold War began to fade. Germany. The earliest building — the Altes Museum — went up in the 1820s, and the rest of the complex began taking shape in the 1840s under King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who envisioned the island as an oasis of culture and learning. Man: You should feel that. With several large panels that swing on hinges, it's permanently left in its open, festival-day position. And artists and intellectuals here were all about legitimizing the notion that Germany should be a single, independent nation. This is my neighborhood, really, you know? The feudal system was based on a series of agreements between a hierarchy of landlords. After the Wall fell in 1989, the two Germanys — and the two Berlins — officially became one. Burg Eltz has a lacy little Gothic chapel. And always vigilant were many lookout towers. Holger: And we were lucky that we can still see it, because they haven't been destroyed in the Second World War. Since the jester could say anything to the king, this relief reminded people they should talk freely. Berlin is young, hip, and famously affordable. It faces Germany's parliament building, or "Reichstag." Germany dominates the European Union in part because of its effective government. Like many castles along the Rhine and Mosel, Cochem's was blown up by French troops in 1689. We sample fine Rhine wine, learn the history of Christmas ornaments, and explore the best-preserved medieval town in Germany — with some help from the night watchman. Though this famous Cold War checkpoint has long since been dismantled, its former location is home to a fine museum and a mock-up of the original border crossing. My husband and I are looking forward to our retirement and are planning a lengthy trip to Europe to celebrate. You can enter two different museums plus various open-air exhibits and memorials, see several fragments of the Wall, and peer from an observation tower down into a preserved, complete stretch of the Wall system (as it was during the Cold War). Frederick the Great's former guardhouse (Wache), across Unter den Linden from Bebelplatz and the German State Opera, now holds the nation's main memorial to all "victims of war and tyranny." , Kaiser Wilhelm — Kaiser Wilhelm — Kaiser Wilhelm had the foundation built, is the work overly. 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