Our son, Alan, and his wife Stefanie, moved to Germany in July 2011. Stefanie is German, so it was going home for her. On September 4, 2012 we embarked on a three week adventure to see them, meet Stefanie’s parents, Elisabeth and Rudi, and tour southern Germany and a bit of Austria.
We arrived in Saarbrucken mid-afternoon on the 5th and met Alan and Stefanie for dinner. The next day we drove south to Stefanie’s parents’ home south of Stuttgart. That evening we enjoyed Flammkuchen cooked in the outdoor wood oven, one of Rudi’s many projects. We spend the next three days in with Stefanie’s family. On Friday we went to Hohenzollern castle.
We spent Sunday in Konstanz on the Bodensee and on Monday, Alan and Stefanie joined us for a trip to Munich. We left on Saturday for Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This town is at the foot of the Alps and of Germany’s tallest peak, the Zugspitze. On Sunday we took the train took us most of the way up, to the Zugsplatz and from there a cable car took us to the peak. We were at a height of about 2950 m and the view was extraordinary! This was the first time I had been on a “real” mountain and I was awe- struck! In Nova Scotia there are things called “mountains”, but the name does not match the reality. On Monday the 17th we travelled to Vienna and spent three days there before returning the the western edge of Germany on the 20th to the Wine Road that we slowly enjoyed on the 21st, sampling and purchasing wine. Finally, later that afternoon we arrived back in Saarbrucken and spent the last four days with Alan and Stefanie. On Saturday we took the train from Saarbrucken to Trier, the oldest city in Germany. Then on Sunday we drove up to the Saarschleife, where the Saar River makes a loop before ultimately joining the Mosel River. It is very clear that there is a better understanding of public space in Germany, or at least that part of Germany we saw. The parkland was extensive and conducive to use with benches and playground equipment. All of the the cities we visited had large car-free areas that encouraged people to walk, shop, eat and socialize. Along every roadway there was a separate, usually paved, path for cyclists and pedestrians, thus encouraging people to walk and bike. In Canada the debate seems to be how to protect cyclists when they are hit by cars. In Germany the solution seems to be to separate the two. We also are concerned about obesity. Building this kind of infrastructure may not be a magic solution to that problem, but it is a proactive and meaningful way to address the problem. Everywhere we saw individuals and families, often with strollers, taking advantage of safe ways to walk and bike between places. Other pictures from the trip can be seen here.
Travels2012-13 Germany Cozumel Roatan Cozumel (Feb) Cuba Akumal

Germany - September 4 - 25, 2012