After my 4 years in Germany, I am proud to say that I’ve been everywhere and beyond. Thanks to the extremely broad coverage of the Bremen/Niedersachsen semester ticket and DB campaigns like the post-COVID abo upgrade week, combined with having friends all over Germany and a never-ending wanderlust, I managed to travel quite a bit. Here, I will be sharing with you 16 stories from 16 states!
I love Baden-Württemberg for a lot of reasons. It is very sunny (at least compared to Bremen), and you can actually feel the difference. Moreover, historic towns around the Neckar River are absolutely beyond charming. Whenever I am traveling south, I stop by Heidelberg in order to visit Uni Heidelberg’s geo exhibition. It is free to enter and has mind-blowing crystals and fossils including the chin bone of Homo Heidelbergensis, one of our earliest ancestors.
Just half an hour away from Regensburg you can find Walhalla, a Greek-temple-esque building sitting on top of a hill overlooking the Danube river, filled with the busts of important Germans. Visiting it left me amazed in so many ways.
The thick B has a special place in my heart. My first long-ish stay was at a language summer school in a town close to Berlin. Once, I and 4 friends took the train to see the East Side Gallery. Afterwards we had dinner, and we lost track of the time. Realizing we might miss the curfew, we started rushing back, jumping over fences, and running on the sidewalks. My friend Sude was navigating us back, and she made us hop on a train. We all did, without questioning. After a while, I realized that we entered a tunnel, however, on the way to our village there were no tunnels. I quickly checked the info screen and realized that we were on a long-distance train to Hamburg! Luckily the train stopped one last time before getting too far away and we got off. It was already too late to get back before the curfew, so the counselors were not exactly happy, but we had an adventure!
The language school that I mentioned was in Brandenburg, in a town called Bernau. The main square had a döner shop and the döner guy was coming from the same town as me. He was surprised to see me because apparently, no Turks lived in that town besides him. I visited his shop at least 3 times a week, and to this day I never had such delicious döners anywhere else in Germany or Turkey in my life. After coming back to Germany, I went to Bernau to visit his shop, but unfortunately it was not there. I asked around and learned that my guy retired and sold the shop.
My home! Every year, Bremen hosts one of the oldest festivals in the world: Freimarkt! It celebrates the liberation of Bremen from the Vikings, and will soon turn 1000 years. I go there a few times with friends every year. Once, I brought my professional archer friend Lila and she won me a giant stuffed Flamingo in the archery game.
Due to its proximity to Bremen, I often visit Hamburg. One of my friends used to live in a 3-bedroom apartment in the middle of the city for under €900, which is impossible in Hamburg, so I decided to visit him to see what was wrong with the apartment. It had a very peculiar layout, with smaller rooms inside rooms and stairs to small altar-like platforms. Turns out, it used to be a very famous fetish club, which moved to the adjacent building.
The city of Kassel has a gigantic park called Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe. You can easily spend the whole day there without being able to see everything. I got lost many times while trying to find some hidden spots. On the top of the hill, there is a Hercules sculpture and spectacular views. It also has an enormous water feature consisting of many levels and is powered by gravity. Totally recommended!
Schwerin is an extremely underrated city. I crashed on a friend’s couch for 3 days and saw everything to be seen. Don’t stay this long, please, you’ll get bored, but it is definitely worth a visit.
Niedersachsen has a few hidden fairy-tale-like villages. Hann. Münden is one. Even the locals do not know about this place, it’s a real hidden gem. Visiting there was perhaps my favorite trip ever in Germany.
During the lockdown, I had a free week and did a road trip with 3 friends to arguably one of the ugliest states of Germany, NRW. Köln is pretty, though. The city of Wuppertal has a very old suspension rail train. It is really odd to see.
On the Rhine river, there is a steep turn with a huge rock, called Lorelei. All the sunken ships in the past blamed the sirens. The views are magnificent.
Not the most exciting place to be. Many Germans that I talked to call it the ugliest state of Germany. On a spontaneous trip to Luxembourg, me and 4 friends spent the night in the small town of Beckingen. Despite the industrial setting, I think it is a very relaxing place.
Magdeburg is a fascinating city. It has a giant cathedral, but I think the prettiest structure in the city is a building by the famous architect Hundertwasser. While I was trying to take the picture that you see in front of it, a shop owner nearby saw my struggle, went out of her way, and came to help.
The famous German NASA engineer Jesco von Puttkammer is from Leipzig, and to keep his legacy alive, his house is converted into a space hotel. Students receiving education on space and engineering man the facilities. There are model rockets in the backyard, and when I stayed there I ran into the Germany correspondent of the space education program that I participated in the US back in 2017.
The island of Sylt marks the northernmost point of Garmany. While visiting the island’s one of the most popular beaches, I had an encounter with a curious sea lion. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even though the animal kept its safe distance, seeing it in its natural habitat, and enjoying the waves like I did was very funny.
On a long-distance train approaching Jena, I overheard a group of people complaining about a certain institution located in the city. They were particularly dissatisfied with their supervisor. The friend that I was going to visit had an upcoming interview scheduled with the same supervisor. I asked for the phone number of the people on the train and forwarded it to my friend. After talking to them, my friend decided to turn down the job offer that she received after a few weeks, and saved herself from a very toxic working environment full of mobbing.