Sherri Green won our 2018 Condor competition with her ‘pretzel itinerary’

If I were to go to Germany, where would I go? There are so many possibilities. I usually have trouble deciding what to order off of a restaurant menu! I asked some friends and they helped me narrow down the possibilities. Their suggestion? Tour the country in a pretzel shape! Why not? This way I could discover places I would otherwise never consider.

As I researched these areas, it quickly became clear that seeing all these places in 10 days would result in spending most of my time on trains. I decided it would be best to just take “a bite out of the pretzel” and leave the rest for another time. However, in honour of the original pretzel concept, I will have a pretzel at each stop of the trip and see which place has the best!

The Original Pretzel Trip 1. Frankfurt 2. Bielefeld 3. Cologne 4. Stuttgart 5. Munich 6. Berlin 7. Dresden The Bretzel (bite-sized pretzel) Trip 1. Frankfurt 2. Bielefeld 3. Cologne 4. Stuttgart / Tübingen 5. Munich

Travel
For the travel between cities, I will be using the train system. Because I will need to travel on six of the 10 days, I will purchase the seven-day First Class Flexi Pass. First class because that will allow me more access to the ICE trains, which are faster. Within the cities themselves I will rely on the public transport system for those places I can’t walk to.

Hotels
The hotels have been found through hotels.com. Most of the hotels are located close to main train stations.

Day 1
I’ll arrive at Frankfurt Airport at 1 p.m. on Condor Airlines. I’ll travel from the Frankfurt Airport Train Station to the Frankfurt Main Train Station. From there, I’ll walk to the Hotel Monopol and check in. From the hotel, I’ll walk to find the first pretzel of the journey, as part of a late lunch/dinner. I have two options: if not tired from the flight, go to the Sachsenhäuser Feinbäckerei (http://www.sachsenhaeuser-feinbaeckerei.de/index.html), a 20-minute walk and train ride; or, if too tired, I’ll walk to the Brezelbäckerei Ditsch (about a five-minute walk), located by the train station. After that, I’ll walk around the hotel to get my bearings for the next day and settle in at the hotel.

Day 2
I’ll have breakfast at the hotel and then take a walking tour. It’s about 35 minutes to the Botanischer Garten Frankfurt (http://www.botanischergarten-frankfurt.de) and then 25 minutes to the Opernplatz. This should take me through an upscale shopping area and the area known as Freßgass on Hochstraße: (www.frankfurt-tourismus.de/en/Media/Attractions/Shopping/Fressgass), which is known for its variety of restaurants and cafés. I’ll discover somewhere to have lunch here. Then it is 13 minutes back to the hotel to drop off any purchases. I’ll then train from the S-Bahn Ostendstr Station to visit the Sommerwerft theatre (www.sommerwerft.de/en), a music and arts festival being held from July 20 to August 5. On the return trip, I’ll eat at the African Queen Restaurant (http://african-queen-restaurant.de/). I love Ethiopian food!

Day 3
Eat breakfast at the Hotel Monopol before checking out and taking the train to Bielefeld. I’ll walk from there to the Krispy Kebab for lunch. It’s a farther 10-minute walk to the Arcadia Hotel Bielefeld, and If not yet 2 p.m., I’ll ask if can leave my bag and check in later. I’ll walk the 15 minutes to Sparrenberg Castle Open, which is 2 EUR to go up the tower. On returning to the hotel, I’ll stop by a bakery and grocery store a few blocks away to buy a few groceries (including a pretzel), so I don’t eat in restaurants for every meal. Back at the hotel, I’ll check in, relax and pack a lunch for the next day’s train ride.

Day 4
Eat groceries for breakfast at the hotel. I’ll take the tram to the station, to take the train to Cologne, and eat a packed lunch on the train. In Cologne, I’ll walk 10 minutes to Maternushaus and check in, then take a 10-minute walk to visit the Cologne Cathedral and surrounding area. Next is a 10-minute walk to the Merzenich Backereien to try the nugatbretzel, which is recommended on tripadvisor.com. Another 9-minute walk from the cathedral to the Dufthaus 4711 (House of Fragrances). Take the fragrance workshop (38 EUR) to create my own fragrance. It’s a 10-minute walk to Brauhause Sion, for dinner in the Alter Markt area. I’ll have the Saurbraten. I’ll return to the hotel before going to the 31st Cologne Summer Festival for the performance Che Malambo: The Rhythm of Argentina, at the Kölner Philharmonie at 8 p.m.

Day 5
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before walking to the station to catch the train to Stuttgart. I’ll store luggage in a locker available in the Stuttgart Hbf, so I do not have to walk around the city with all of my luggage (Small locker: 2 EUR; Larger locker: 4 EUR). I’ll walk and bus 10 minutes to Bäckerei Königsbäck to try their pretzel, which is said to be the best in Stuttgart. I’ll return to the station and take the train to Tübingen. There I’ll meet friends Andreas and Susanne, at Tübingen Hbf, and spend the afternoon catching up and settling in at their house. In the evening, we’ll go to Sommernachtskino—an open-air film festival to see La La Land in German (http://www.sommernachtskino.de).

Day 6
Relax this morning and maybe take a trip to a local supermarket. I’ll visit the Ritter Sport Factory in Waldenbuch, either by bus or, likely, Susanne will drive. We’ll have lunch at the Ritter Sport Café and buy chocolate gifts for friends and family back home—a one-stop souvenir shop! We’ll return to Tübingen and have a relaxing evening with friends, perhaps going for a walk.

Day 7
After breakfast, I’ll pack up for the train so I can go directly to the train station after the trip to Lichtenstein Castle. We’ll drive 30 minutes to hike the paths around the castle and take a tour, and perhaps take a picnic lunch (Adult Entrance = 10 EUR). I’ll be at Tübingen Hbf in time to catch the train at 3:15 p.m. for the journey to Munich. I’ll arrive and walk four minutes to Wombats City Hostel, to check in and settle in for the night.

Day 8
Breakfast at the hostel. Visit the Museum of Technology (12 EUR), a 15-minute walk and tram. It’s an 11-minute walk to Viktualienmarkt, to buy some fruit and food for later and choose from the many options in the area for lunch. I’ll walk a few minutes farther to the Bäckerei Müller and try a pretzel.

Two places are said to have the best pretzels in Munich, and I think I’ll need to go to both spots. I’ll walk back (seven minutes) to the hostel and drop off purchases from Viktualienmarkt. Then a 15-minute walk and tram to Neue Pinakothek, via the Karlsplatz (Stachus). The Neue Pinakothek (7 EUR) houses art from 19th-century artists, such as Manet, Monet, van Gogh, and Cézanne. I’ll walk 10 minutes to Der verrückte Eismacher (the crazy ice maker) to try some interesting ice cream flavours, and return to Pinakothek to take the tram back to Karlsplatz to return to the hostel. If I get hungry, I can make a sandwich from the spoils of Viktualienmarkt.

Day 9
Eat breakfast at the hostel and then take the train to the Residence Museum. A combo ticket (13 EUR) allows entrance to the Residenz, the Treasury and Cuvilliés Theatre. It’s a 10-minute walk to the Marienplatz, and if I get there by 11 a.m. or 12 p.m., I will see the cuckoo clock go off.

I’ll go to Rischart Café for lunch and a pretzel.

From the Marienplatz, it is a 25-minute walk to Pinakothek der Moderne (10 EUR), which has art from the 20th and 21st century. Next door, the Alte Pinakothek (4 EUR) has art from the 14th to 18th century, including works by Raphael, Leonardo, and Rembrandt. I’ll tram 15 minutes back to Karlsplatz (Stachus) and walk 15 minutes to Augustiner Klosterwirt for dinner, where perhaps I’ll try the Schweinhaxe, if I am hungry. Then I’ll return to the hostel and pack for my trip the following day.

Day 10
I’ll eat my last breakfast at the hostel and walk four minutes to the Munich Main Train Station to take the train to the Frankfurt Airport. I’ll arrive in plenty of time to check in for the 4 p.m. flight home on Condor Airlines.

Highlights

It is hard to say what the highlights of this particular trip would be. Finding Germany’s bestpretzel? While a fun exercise, I don’t think that reaches the top. Making my own fragrance inCologne would be one of my favourite activities … but then, the history and art in Munich soundphenomenal! When it comes down to it, I think Munich would have to come in second place.The opportunity to reconnect with old friends would be the best part of the trip. After all, theywere the ones who inspired the pretzel itinerary!

In conclusion …

Having done all of this research, I have come to one conclusion: 10 days in Germany is not enough. I found myself saying things like,”Oh, I need more time in Munich! On the 8th, there is a concert at Schloss Schleissheim” or “Checking out a flea market would be interesting … oh, it is only on Saturday.” This itinerary doesn’t even get me to Berlin or Dresden. I know there are things I would like to do and see there. There is only one logical conclusion: I will just have to come back!-30-


The town that ‘doesn’t exist’ …

I hadn’t heard of Bielefeld before. It turns out this is a town known among Germans as a town that does not exist! A joke that began in the ’90s. Might be nice to be able to claim I have been somewhere that doesn’t exist. Read about it here: knowyourmeme.com/memes/the-bielefeld-conspiracy.


How are Swabian Pretzels Different?

I have heard my friend Susanne, who suggested the pretzel trip, talk about how she prefers pretzels from her area to those from Munich. My thought was, Better than Munich? Isn’t Munich the birthplace of the pretzel? Susanne clarified that a Swabian pretzel has skinny arms and a fat belly. That way, as you eat it you get all the variety of texture. It seems Susanne is not alone in her convictions about pretzels. I found an article by Stuttgarter-Zeitung about the Swabian pretzel. It highlights the concerns of the public regarding the beloved pretzel! And so I set out to research the best pretzel in Stuttgart.