As We Travel » Germany http://www.aswetravel.com Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:00:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Berlin Where “Green” is the New “Black” http://www.aswetravel.com/berlin-green-new-black/ http://www.aswetravel.com/berlin-green-new-black/#comments Mon, 26 May 2014 20:51:40 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=46362 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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In the past couple of decades, Berlin has been undertaking somewhat of a green revolution. It is undeniable Berlin has always tried to maintain its greenery, with over 2,500 public parks and gardens in the city as well as approximately one fifth of the city’s land surface area covered by trees. But it is not […]

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In the past couple of decades, Berlin has been undertaking somewhat of a green revolution. It is undeniable Berlin has always tried to maintain its greenery, with over 2,500 public parks and gardens in the city as well as approximately one fifth of the city’s land surface area covered by trees. But it is not solely the landscape which can be considered green. The cities inhabitants are increasingly becoming eco-friendly in all aspects of life. Now everywhere you look there is a noticeable effort to lessen the city’s impact on he environment from large carbon neutral government buildings, to promoting recycling. Also check out our 5 Free Things To Do In Berlin

Berlin

As the locals have largely adopted this new way of living, visitors too should aim to be as green as possible whilst visiting the German capital. A good start to a more eco-friendly city break in Berlin would be to rent an apartment in the hip Kreuzberg area. This is a very eco-conscious area which voted Green party in the last general election and houses green spaces such as Viktoriapark and Görlitzer Park. Once you have your accommodation sussed, here are a few more ideas to help embrace the sustainable living style that makes Berlin such an iconic city.

Berlin – Where “Green” is the New “Black”

Transport

In recent years, Berlin has revolutionised transport around the city. As well as a comprehensive and increasingly energy efficient public transport network, the city boasts plenty of other green options for getting around as over 50% of Berliners don’t own a car. Last year there were 1.5 million bike journeys made everyday through the streets of Berlin, over three times as many as in London. The innovation continues as Berlin seeks to lower the effect of transport on their total carbon consumption. Just stroll through the city and you will probably encounter ranks of electric bicycles charging entirely by solar power. Velotaxis are a popular option for getting around and about. These are Berlin’s version of a pedal powered rickshaw and are made entirely from recycled materials. Similarly you could also catch a ride on an E-tuktuk. These are based on the same model as their South-East Asian counterpart but are powered entirely by an electric motor and comply with Europe’s highest safety ratings. This desire for environmentally friendly travel even led Berlin-based inventor Stefan Gulas to come up with the ErokIT – an electric bicycle-cum-motorbike which can reach speeds of up to 50 mph.

Food
If you’re feeling a bit peckish in Berlin, you won’t have to look far to eat “green”. The bustling markets doted around the city are always packed with fresh, organic (Bio) produce. If you are looking for fast food, but want to avoid the standard greasy burger then head over to “Superfood”. This relatively cheap restaurant provides quick healthy organic meals for those on the go including a selection of vegan meals. Alternatively, you could head to Foodorama, Berlin’s first certified carbon neutral restaurant. Not only does this restaurant use fresh, organic ingredients but also directly helps support re-forestation projects in South Asia.

Recycling

Berlin has a strong culture of recycling, especially for plastic and glass bottles. When buying beer from a shop you can expect to pay a supplementary deposit of between 8c-25c. You only receive this money back once the bottle has been taken to any recycling point in the city. Of course if you find yourself a long way from a recycling bank, there are sure to be a number of “bottle collectors” who travel around and earn money by collecting other peoples used bottles and recycling them.

Shopping

A tourist can even help the cause whilst shopping. Eco-shopping is an incredibly popular concept in Berlin and a number of fashion brands promote themselves through their green label. This can be anything from using organic raw materials to promoting fair working conditions. This is a growing market in Berlin which holds two major eco-fashion fairs annually, the “Green Showroom” and the “Ethical Fashion Show”. Any Eco-tourist looking to stock up their fridge in their serviced apartment must make the trip to the LG Bio-Markt, Europe’s Largest organic supermarket, which stocks over 18,000 organic products.

Berlin has succeeded where many other major cities are failing. The green open spaces, improving air quality and general attitude to eco-friendly living makes the city a delightful place to visit and should be high up on any travellers list of “must-visit” places.

Berlin – Where “Green” is the New “Black”

 

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5 Free Things To Do In Berlin that don’t cost a dime http://www.aswetravel.com/5-free-things-to-do-in-berlin/ http://www.aswetravel.com/5-free-things-to-do-in-berlin/#comments Thu, 13 Jun 2013 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=41306 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Berlin is a great city to visit for anyone on a budget; accommodation and food is cheap, and many of the paid attractions are reasonably priced. But small expenses add up and before you know it you’ve spent more than planned, often in places that are cheap  we justify the low prices and end up spending […]

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Berlin is a great city to visit for anyone on a budget; accommodation and food is cheap, and many of the paid attractions are reasonably priced. But small expenses add up and before you know it you’ve spent more than planned, often in places that are cheap  we justify the low prices and end up spending more than usual. Checkout our Berlin Where “Green” is the New Black

The best way to save money is of course to do things that don’t cost a dime, and fortunately, there are tons of free things to do in Berlin …

The Berlin Wall & The East Side Gallery

free things to do in berlin

Most people who have been to Berlin will instantly tell you that you need to visit the Berlin Wall; it is such a huge piece of modern history. The fall of the division between East and West Germany in 1989 unified a city that had been divided for over thirty years.

The East Side Gallery, which is the longest stretch of wall still intact, is covered in art work and murals from famous artists. It takes about two hours to wander along the full length of the wall and I would highly recommend it.

In March earlier this year they removed a part of the all to make way for new luxury apartments. They started tearing it down at 5 a.m in the morning when everyone was asleep so that it would be too late once the citizens found out about it.

If they have the stomach to do something like that, who knows how long the rest of the wall will be there? If you can, go and see it before this piece of the past is gone forever.

For more information on the East Side Gallery visit their website here.

Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is the main entrance to Berlin, and it is stunning. The gate was designed as the great entrance to the Unter den Linden, which lead led to the palace of the Prussian monarchs. Like the Reichstag, it is a very busy attraction, but it’s really worth a visit, even if just for a photograph. The gate sustained major damage during the Second World War and was used as an ideological tool before standing as a symbol of Germany’s turbulent past.  Recently restored, it’s a lovely place to sit and reflect on the rest of the beautiful city for an hour or so.

Free Walking Tour Or Alternative Tour

Sandeman’s new Europe walking tours are free and run every day from the Brandenburg Gate at 11am and 1pm. Taking part  in one of the a walking tours on your first few days is a great way to orientate yourself in Berlin and see some of the most famous landmarks. The tour guides are friendly and happy to answer any questions.

It might be free, but the guides work on a tips-only basis so make sure you have some cash on you to show your appreciation.

If you want to see more of Berlin’s subcultures take an Alternative Berlin Tour around the city. Like the Sandeman tour, it works on a tips only basis, but that’s where the similarities end.

This tour will take you to artist’s squats, underground cultural icons and flea markets in the summer. It’s a much more rock and roll way to get around.

Tiergarten

The Tiergarten is Berlin’s biggest inner city park. It is extremely popular with visitors and locals alike due to its central location and natural beauty. There are loads of monuments and statues to see, as well as beer gardens and even a zoo. If you can, get your hands on a map so you don’t get too lost in the wilderness.

If you want to see all of the park, hire a bike for the afternoon. I hired mine from Fat Tire rentals which cost €12 for one day. To get around the whole of Tiergarten on foot will take up to 4 hours; a bike will get you round much faster.

If you are backpacking around Berlin invest in some lightweight luggage from luggage specialists, Luggage Superstore – lightweight luggage will reduce the burden when you’re in-between attractions.

I bought a hard shell case – a small case like this will be easier to get around local attractions than a heavy backpack or regular suitcase.

The Reichstag

The Reichstag is a fantastic example of Berlin’s clash between old and new. The original building dates from 1884 and was neglected during the Second World War. During its regeneration, a huge glass dome has been attached to the building which offers 360 degree views of the city.

It is the busiest parliament in the world, with over 34 million visitors since its regeneration so it’s going to be pretty heaving whenever you go.

Make sure you choose your date and time slot online to avoid disappointment on the day. You can pre-book at the official Reichstag website.

These are just a few of many free things to do in Berlin. What are your best tips? (photo credit: 1 – 2 – 3)

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Living In Kreuzberg, Berlin – Gritty But Cool! http://www.aswetravel.com/living-in-kreuzberg-berlin/ http://www.aswetravel.com/living-in-kreuzberg-berlin/#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2013 07:00:49 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=39452 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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After spending a month in the former-hippie turned wealthy-bohemian-latte-mom Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin, we decided to change our surroundings – we moved to another popular neighbourhood called Kreuzberg, which turned out to be a complete contrast to Prenzlauer Berg … Gritty but Cool Berliners love to refer to their city as “poor but sexy”, and no […]

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After spending a month in the former-hippie turned wealthy-bohemian-latte-mom Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin, we decided to change our surroundings – we moved to another popular neighbourhood called Kreuzberg, which turned out to be a complete contrast to Prenzlauer Berg …

Gritty but Cool

Berliners love to refer to their city as “poor but sexy”, and no neighborhood represents this as well as Kreuzberg.

With graffiti covered lanes, murky bars and alternative hang-outs, Kreuzberg is gritty but cool – it’s far from picture perfect and pretty, but it has some of that roughness that gives a place depth and makes it interesting.

Shops and restaurants seem to pop-up and close down before the ink in newly printed guide books has even dried, which makes this neighborhood the perfect place to explore without a guide book.

Multi Cultural Cuisine

Kreuzberg is one of Berlin’s areas with the densest population of immigrants, which has created a great mixture of different cultures.

If you want to sample cuisine from all over the world, Kreuzberg is the ideal district to base yourself in.

From Vietnamese to Turkish, Nepalese to Middle-eastern flair, there are restaurants serving delicious food from all over the world, and while we had a perfectly working freestanding oven in our studio apartment, we ended up eating out a lot of the time.

It’s hard to resist all the awesome diners when often it was cheaper to eat out than to cook at home, and even when they weren’t – who can resist all that deliciousness?!

Here are some great places to try out when visiting Kreuzberg:

Café Mathilda: This place is by far the coziest cafe we went to in Kreuzberg. Plunge into the comfy armchairs and sofas with a latte macchiato in one hand and a home made cake in the other, and enjoy the laid back vibe and vinyls playing on the DJ set by the bar.

With free movie nights every monday, this place has the perfect balance between hip and welcoming (too many places in Berlin are over-doing the hip and underrating comfort!) – address: Graefestr. 12

Wonder Waffel: The staff at this cafe will happily stuff your waffle to the brim with whatever topping you want, from crumbled candy bars to fruit, syrup, ice cream and sprinkles of all kinds. The most baffling part of this is how they manage to keep the price at only €3. We also like the fun atmosphere and retro nintendo game in the cafe – address: Adalbert Strasse 88.

Imren Grill: There are literally hundreds of Turkish diners in Kreuzberg and we have barely scratched the service, buts Imren Grill is a local favorite with cheap, fresh meals and kick-ass Pide! address: Boppstr. 4

Hudson’s: This café truly brings Britain to Berlin, with shortbread, ginger crunch and friendly service in a stylish cafe – and an all-you-can-eat cake and tea deal every Sunday! The only minus is that it can get pretty loud if the cafe is full. address: Boppstr. 1

Wirsthaus Hasenheide: In our last Berlin post we mentioned the obsession Berliners have about the Sunday Brunch, and every Sunday between 9am and 1 pm the most popular Brunch cafes are crowded with locals all meeting up for brunch.

While Prenzlauerberg may win in number of brunch places, no place we’ve been to has beaten Wirsthaus with its huge buffet offering many interesting choices with fancy cheese and Dolmas – all for a measly €4.50!

An interesting thing about this place is that they charge double for Brunch, even though there seem to be no difference in what’s on offer – so beat the crowd, go there early and pay half the price for the same delicious food. address: Hasenheide 19.

Turkish Market

Visiting the Turkish market on Tuesdays and Fridays were one of the perks of staying in Kreuzberg.

There are stalls selling hummus in a hundred varieties, freshly baked bread and home made pasta and dolmas. The aroma from grilled feta cheese wraps is irresistible!

The market is located along the river on Maybachufer street, if you’re nearby but have trouble finding it just tag along with the many old ladies in colorful scarves dragging their trolleys to the market to do their weekly shopping.

Tempelhof Airport – Berlin’s Strangest Playground

It’s not every day you get to roller-skate down a runway or barbecue sausages in the shadow of an airport terminal – but both are everyday scenes in Tempelhof Park, Berlin’s newest playground – check out our article about Tempelhof Airport here!

Exploring The Area

Kreuzberg is full of surprises, most of which you just happen to stumble upon when you’re out exploring.

From street art so big they cover whole buildings to small galleries and a surprising number of odd furniture shops, put on a good pair of walking shoes and bring a camera to capture it all!

One place to include on the itinerary is the Topography of Terror (a free outdoor museum on the site of buildings which during the Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945 were the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS).

Nearby is the famous Checkpoint Charlie, the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East and West Berlin during the cold war – also make sure to walk across the beautiful Oberbaum Bridge when walking over to the Berlin Wall in neighbouring Freidrichshain.

To sum it up, Kreuzberg is a perfect place for food lovers, travelers who love spontaneous exploring, and those interested in Berlin’s shaky past – so in short, a little bit for everyone…

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Life in Berlin: Hip Prenzlauer Berg http://www.aswetravel.com/life-in-berlin-hip-prenzlauer-berg/ http://www.aswetravel.com/life-in-berlin-hip-prenzlauer-berg/#comments Wed, 20 Feb 2013 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=39448 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Prenzlauer berg is the hippest district in Berlin – at least that’s what the people living there love to describe their beloved neighborhood. With beautiful 20th century buildings, cute boutiques and an overload of cafes lining the streets and boulevards – it’s easy to understand why this area has become so popular. Wondering what it […]

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Prenzlauer berg is the hippest district in Berlin – at least that’s what the people living there love to describe their beloved neighborhood.

With beautiful 20th century buildings, cute boutiques and an overload of cafes lining the streets and boulevards – it’s easy to understand why this area has become so popular.

Wondering what it would be like to live in Berlin’s most desired districts, we decided to spend a month renting an apartment there to see what all the fuss was about…

From Poor Hippies to Rich Bohemians

Prenzlauer Berg has a fascinating history, and was once one of the poorest districts of the city, attracting a young bohemian crowd.

But the days of poor artists living on cheap rents in crumbling buildings are over – since the reunification, the district has transformed into a wealthy, trendy area – and the poor bohemians have been replaced… with rich bohemians…

While the residents are wealthier, they still want an alternative lifestyle, and have paved the way for the organic supermarkets, vegan restaurants and fair trade shops that now line the streets.

We found a vegan fast food restaurant around the corner from our apartment and another one with an all vegan buffet around the other, a vegan shoe shop a few blocks away, which was right next to a vegan supermarket – this was vegetarian heaven!

The P-berg Mum

When walking into the hallways of apartment buildings or in one of the many cafes and parks, you may suddenly find yourself surrounded by deluxe baby trolleys.

Prenzlauer Berg is the so called “latte-macchiato-mums” hood, also known as the “p-berg mums” (Prenzlauer Berg mum).

You can usually find them at the nearest boulevard cafe sipping a latte-macchiato with their friends – check out this post if you want to read a hilarious and dead-on description about what the “p-berg mums” are like!

Café Culture

Perhaps thanks to the “p-berg mums”, there are countless of cafes in Prenzlauer Berg that are perfect hang-outs for people wanting to spend half their days with one cup of coffee.

Here are some great places to check out:

  • Godshot Coffee Club: Famous for its great coffee, and a very cozy atmosphere making guests stay for hours on end. Only bad thing is that the wifi costs.
  • Café Morgenrot: Has a great vegan weekend brunch, where you pay what you can afford and a very laid back hippie-vibe.
  • Café Im Nu – A cozy little place with a lovely Sunday breakfast buffet (€8,90) by a nice square. 
  • Schwarze Pumpe – The perfect Berlin atmosphere and typical German food so filling that you will last all day.
  • Vita Bäckerei & Café – Our favorite bakery with delicious home made cakes in fun varieties and flavors. The Coffee is nothing to write home about, but the chai latte is awesome. It’s one of those places where old people hang their coats on the clothing hangar and sit there for hours with a newspaper.

While Sundays tend to be very quiet days in Germany with empty streets and closed doors, the cafés and restaurants in Prenzlauer Berg will be crowded already by 9 am.

Going out for Sunday brunch has become a phenomenon in Berlin, and with the huge amount of restaurants, bars and cafés in Prenzlauer Berg it’s almost a crime not to indulge in all the brunch options!

Shopping & Hang-Outs

There aren’t many attractions in Prenzlauer Berg, and yet it’s one of the places everyone tells you to visit. But why?

The reason is that Prenzlauer Berg is kind of an attraction in itself. The best way to enjoy this area is to simply stroll along the streets and alleys, sit down for a cup of coffee, check out some event at the Kulturbrauerei and shop in the many quirky second hand boutiques – and of course make a visit to Mauerpark.

On a sunny day, few places beat Mauerpark. It’s the favorite hang-out spot for locals in Prenzlauer Berg, and is also where one of Berlin’s most famous flea markets is held.

Every Sunday you can make your way down the jam-packed market an find lots of unique things you want and convince yourself that you actually need, from vintage and antiques to furniture, toys, clothes and jewellery.

There is a great vibe in the park and a good mix of people, and sometimes there is even karaoke section going on which is pretty crazy.

To sum it up, Prenzlauer Berg is the perfect place to spend a Sunday – you join the latte-macchiato-mums for brunch before visiting the Sunday market and do some thrift shopping at Mauerpark!

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Tempelhof Airport – The Past & Future of Berlin http://www.aswetravel.com/tempelhof-airport-the-past-future-of-berlin/ http://www.aswetravel.com/tempelhof-airport-the-past-future-of-berlin/#comments Sun, 17 Feb 2013 07:00:22 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=39450 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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It’s not every day you get to walk, bike and roller-skate down an airport runway or set up a barbecue on an airfield at an airport. But at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, these things are normal – the closed airport has become Berlin’s newest playground, now known as Tempelhof park. Taking up a space of […]

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It’s not every day you get to walk, bike and roller-skate down an airport runway or set up a barbecue on an airfield at an airport.

But at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, these things are normal – the closed airport has become Berlin’s newest playground, now known as Tempelhof park.

Taking up a space of 400 hectares, picnics and jogging aren’t the only things this park has space for: kite flying, hot balloon rides, urban gardening and marathon events are just a few of the things you can and will soon be able to do in the park.

The city plans to recreate the park in many ways, from creating a lake to building new homes, while still keeping the airport building which plays a major role in Berlin’s history.

A Little History

Built in 1939-1941, Tempelhof airport was built in typical Nazi monumental “Bombastic” style, complete with carved eagles at the entrance and a roof constructed to hold an audience of 100,000 people watching military parades and air shows, designed to be the world’s biggest terminal.

A Symbol For Freedom

Tempelhof is more than just an abandoned airport or an awesome park, for many of the Berliners it remains a symbol for freedom …

Outside the airport stands the Airlift Memorial, honouring those who fought for freedom and participated in the “supplies action”, and the 79 pilots who lost their lives during the Airlift.

In 1948 Soviet authorities halted all traffic by land and water into and out of the western-controlled sectors of Berlin, with the only access left being an air route across the Soviet Zone. For the next 11 months the western powers began sending skytrains supplying the people with food to survive.

The legendary “Operation Little Vittles” is almost as famous, where the “Candy Bomber” Gail Halvorsen started dropping candy to the children from his parachute before landing, and other pilots started to do the same.

Go There Before It Changes!

Today, a dilapidated plane overgrown by weeds hides in one corner of the park, and in summer you can buy sausages from a beer garden created for the US military during the Cold War.

As always, in true Berlin style, the past is mixed with the present.

I’m sure the future of this park will be amazing, but the way it is today is truly unique and something to experience, and who knows what will be left and distract from its history when the park is recreated into something new?

So don’t risk it, go bike down the runway and enjoy the unique view while you still can!

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Oktoberfest In Munich – Tips For First Timers! http://www.aswetravel.com/oktoberfest-in-munich-tips-for-first-timers/ http://www.aswetravel.com/oktoberfest-in-munich-tips-for-first-timers/#comments Tue, 02 Oct 2012 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=38007 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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As you walk along the streets of Munich this week, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’d stepped back in time – men are decked out in lederhosen and checked shirts, women are showing off their curves in traditional Dirndl dresses and everyone is slurping frothy beer and enjoying huge platters of meat. It […]

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As you walk along the streets of Munich this week, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’d stepped back in time – men are decked out in lederhosen and checked shirts, women are showing off their curves in traditional Dirndl dresses and everyone is slurping frothy beer and enjoying huge platters of meat. It can only mean one thing – Oktoberfest is back in the town!

The world’s biggest beer festival invites locals and visitors to eat, drink and be merry together, and 6 million people flock to Munich city each year to do just that.

So whether you’re a first timer at Oktoberfest or looking at Munich flights and growing your moustache in preparation for next year, here are some tips for how to survive the crowds and really get into the spirit of this exuberant two-week celebration.

Tents

Oktoberfest takes place across 14 different tents, which spring up across the city in the week before the festival kicks off. The tents vary in size but all house the familiar rows of beer-stained wooden benches, with colourful bunting draped across the high ceilings.

The first beer of Oktoberfest is always poured in the largest tent Schottenhamel – it houses a massive 10,000 people, so expect the cheers to be deafening.

Backpackers tend to head to the Hofbräu tent, where you’ll predictably find young American travellers enjoying litre on litre of the beer that they’re banned from buying at home.

If you’re in Munich with the family, head to the Augustiner Festhalle tent for a calmer and cozier atmosphere and to enjoy beer from more modestly-sized wooden kegs.

Tuesdays is family day and this friendly tent offers great-value meals for kids and adults between 12 and 6pm – for an afternoon of German celebrity-watching check out the famous Hippodrum tent – it’s a favourite of Boris Becker’s.

Accommodation

If you’re already in Munich, you’ll know that the city is crammed to capacity – booking a hotel room in advance is an absolute must and even the city’s temporary campsites become full weeks before the festival begins.

In the city centre expect to pay hiked-up ‘festival prices’, particularly in the area around the hub of the action in the Wiesn.

If you don’t mind a short train journey into Munich, try looking at rooms in the neighbouring towns of Nürnberg, Augsburg, Ingolstadt, Landshut and Rosenheim.

Create a Festival Plan

With so many revellers crammed into one city, it’s often hard to find at seat at Oktoberfest. But the one rule of the festival is this – no seat, no beer.

Do a bit of pre-planning before you leave for the airport and note down all the tents and events that you’d like to see.

On weekdays make sure you get to your chosen tent by 2pm at the absolute latest and before midday on weekends – there are outside places to sit across the city, but the cold weather and lack of brass bands playing sing-a-longs may dampen your festival spirit somewhat.

Have you ever been to Oktoberfest? 

(photo credit: 1)

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Skiing In Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany [VIDEO] http://www.aswetravel.com/skiing-in-garmisch-partenkirchen-germany/ http://www.aswetravel.com/skiing-in-garmisch-partenkirchen-germany/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2012 01:00:03 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=34512 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

Earlier this year, we spent 3 months living in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where we went skiing every single day. It was an amazing place and the perfect location to build up our new project. We know this is probably a strange time to be posting articles about winter, but in the scorching summer heat we think of […]

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As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

Earlier this year, we spent 3 months living in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where we went skiing every single day. It was an amazing place and the perfect location to build up our new project.

We know this is probably a strange time to be posting articles about winter, but in the scorching summer heat we think of this video as a nice, cool, refreshing drink!

This was the first time we had used the GoPro video camera, and it turned out to be easy and really fun to film with – check out the video below to view our impressions – enjoy!

You can read more about our time in southern Germany here:

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German Dining Etiquette – What You Need To Know http://www.aswetravel.com/german-dining-etiquette-what-you-need-to-know/ http://www.aswetravel.com/german-dining-etiquette-what-you-need-to-know/#comments Mon, 02 Apr 2012 12:00:10 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=27871 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Eating out in Europe is always a slightly different experience depending on which country you visit, and while many things are similar to the US, Canada and the rest of the world, there are some important differences. To make sure you don’t have a bad and confusing experience, and that you act with good etiquette […]

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As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

Eating out in Europe is always a slightly different experience depending on which country you visit, and while many things are similar to the US, Canada and the rest of the world, there are some important differences.

To make sure you don’t have a bad and confusing experience, and that you act with good etiquette when eating out in Germany, follow this guide…

Getting A Table

When you stop to eat at a restaurant, you will most likely be seating yourself – if you choose a table larger than you need, you may be joined by other diners.

This is not bad etiquette in Germany, and often there are a few long tables rather than many small ones, especially in beer gardens.

If this does happen, take the opportunity to meet new people – it could be a lot of fun.

Smoking and non-smoking sections exist at some restaurants, but most restaurants don’t have specific “non-smoking” sections and second-hand smoke is somewhat tolerated, so complaining about it won’t help much.

When looking for seating for your group, remember that some tables are reserved for specific regulars – these will likely have a “Stammtisch” sign in plain view – if there are no other tables, ask the waiter/waitress if it would be okay to sit there.

Complimentary Goodies

It is not customary to serve bread/rolls before a meal without charge, that is sometimes added to the bill as a separate “cover charge”.

Even water carries a charge at most restaurants in Germany. If you order water you will have to pay for it as any other drink, and you will never get tap water (asking for tap water is sometimes even seen as rude).

Germans generally don’t drink tap water even though it’s usually safe to do so.

Service is a bit slower than in the U.S., so you might be tempted to opt for the water and bread and rolls to hold you over until your first course arrives.

In many restaurants, even in fast food places like McDonalds, you will be asked to pay extra for ketchup and mayonnaise.

And, if you are at a familiar fast food venue, don’t expect the same taste or serving size you are accustomed to in the US.

The Tipping Custom

Tipping in Germany is totally different from the United States – first of all, Service and VAT are included in the menu price in restaurants, cafes, bars etc – however, it is customary to tip the waiter.

In Germany waiters and waitresses are normally paid more so the tip tends to be much smaller.

A rule of thumb is to add 5 to 10 percent of the bill, and it should be rounded up to the nearest Euro.

For example, if the waiter says “€7,50, you can hand him a 10 Euro note and say “9 Euros”, and will get €1 back in change.

You don’t leave the money and the tip on the table when leaving the restaurant, but it expected to pay when the waiter comes up to your table with the check and tells you the price.

When deciding how to tip for services at restaurants and night clubs in Germany, you should also consider how many people were served and how good the service was just as you do in the U.S.

Cash, Credit Card or Check?

In Germany, cash is king – checks are very rarely accepted and credit cards are not the norm. Germans use either cash or electronic cash cards (EC), so be prepared before visiting a store or restaurant.

If you don’t have cash, ask in advance if another form of payment will be accepted – it sometimes is.

It’s very common to split the bill (especially among younger people), and the waiter usually asks if you prefer to pay together (“Zusammen?” in German).

If you pay separate the waiter will tell you how much you pay each, and you round up your own bill just the same.

Table manners and restaurant etiquette are a little different everywhere you go, but embrace the differences and you will have more fun and make more friends when you venture out to a new world.

For information on Frankfurt & flights from the U.S. to Frankfurt, visit: http://www.singaporeair.com/jsp/cms/en_UK/promotions/new-york-flights.jsp

(photo credit: 1)

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Top Of Germany : The Instagram Photo Essay http://www.aswetravel.com/top-of-germany-instagram-photo-essay/ http://www.aswetravel.com/top-of-germany-instagram-photo-essay/#comments Fri, 23 Mar 2012 07:00:17 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=27652 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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Our time here in southern Germany is coming to an end, and during the winter months we have grown to really love this little gem tucked away between the mountains. Here is a photo essay with photos taken from our iPhone and edited in Instagram, showcasing a few of our impressions from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the […]

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As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

Our time here in southern Germany is coming to an end, and during the winter months we have grown to really love this little gem tucked away between the mountains.

Here is a photo essay with photos taken from our iPhone and edited in Instagram, showcasing a few of our impressions from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the surrounding alps – enjoy!

The Bavarian Alps in southern Germany is truly a winter wonderland, with cozy villages, quaint houses and an abundance of white, glittering snow.

With its claim to fame as “the top of Germany”, the Zugspitze mountain is the highest peak in Germany. To get there you have to take a cogwheel train through tunnels in the mountains, passing quaint villages, churches and fields along the way.

We have really had all types of weather here, from snow storms with 2 meters of powder snow to ski in, to sunny days hitting well over 20 degrees Celsius.

The people are very proud of their traditions, and many take every opportunity they can to dress in traditional clothes.

The façades on the houses are beautifully painted sharing the history of the people who live in the homes and who own the shops, and cafes and restaurants serve mainly food famous for their region.

Spring has really arrived by now, and people are enjoying the alps the way you do best – spring skiing, beer drinking, walking, beer drinking, biking, beer drinking, and so on…

Have you been to this part of Germany? if so, what were your impressions?

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Living In Garmisch-Partenkirchen – Our Impressions http://www.aswetravel.com/garmisch-partenkirchen-germany-our-impressions/ http://www.aswetravel.com/garmisch-partenkirchen-germany-our-impressions/#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2012 12:30:32 +0000 http://www.aswetravel.com/?p=27407 jQuery(document).ready(function(){ var options = { sites : new Array("facebook","twitter","gplus","linkedin","stumpleupon"), plugin_url : "http://www.aswetravel.com/wp-content/plugins/all-in-one-social/" }; load_all_in_one_social_banner(options); });

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We’ve spent just over two month in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a small town in southern Germany, and have had such an amazing time. We weren’t quite sure what to expect as we had never been in this part of Germany before, but we were curious to find out, especially since everyone we spoke to during our travels […]

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As We Travel - Traveling Tips, Destinations, Videos & Travel Blog

We’ve spent just over two month in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a small town in southern Germany, and have had such an amazing time.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect as we had never been in this part of Germany before, but we were curious to find out, especially since everyone we spoke to during our travels in Germany were very opinionated about Garmisch and Bavaria - the region it is located in.

One girl we met in Stuttgart said that there was too much forest for her liking, and a guy we met in Berlin broke into a big smile and started reminiscing about the huge pints of beer we would get.

But whatever their thoughts on Bavaria were, they all agreed on one thing – Bavarian people are different from other Germans…

The People…

Bavarian people are known to be very proud of their heritage, and tend to see themselves first and foremost as Bavarians, and secondly as Germans – something we noticed very often, but in a different way than we had expected.

The people in Garmisch do talk about themselves as Bavarians, but always with a sparkle in the eye and never seem to take themselves very seriously at all.

When something isn’t quite right, they joke and say that it’s ”Bavarian”; a Bavarian bill (one that is wrong or doesn’t make any sense), Bavarian time or Bavarian English are things we often hear from people here.

Most people we’ve met are very friendly and many start random conversations with you on the street – this has made us more determined to improve our German so that we can actually hold a proper conversation.

Our stay here in Garmisch has really made us realize how many opportunities you miss out on by not speaking the language well.

There are small things with the language here that is different from the rest of Germany, and if you don’t know about them – you could accidentally rub people the wrong way.

For example, it’s considered prim and distant to say ”Guten Tag” (Good day) – here instead most people say ”Grüß Got” (Greet God).

The Traditions…

In some sense, life here is a bit like living in a bubble, no matter what goes on in the rest of the world, little happens here, and many things remain the way they always have, especially traditions…

Everywhere you go you will be sure to pass a man wearing the traditional Bavarian alpine hat on his head.

It’s fascinating how such a small and flimsy hat can stay on someone’s head, and I’m surprised that they are so determined to wear them even though they can’t do much good in the winter weather, giving no warmth or protection from the sun – it just…sits there…

Even in -16 degrees Celsius you’ll see men in their 60’s going for walks in their knee-high lederhosen and knee socks – pretty impressive..!

The Lifestyle…

I guess the life we live here in Garmisch is very different from most people who have a normal 9/5 job, just the ability to get up in the morning and be skiing down a mountain an hour later is a winter-lifestyle-heaven for us.

It takes some time to get used to the slower pace, but for us it has been like taking a refreshing break from life.

I absolutely love how you can walk into a dairy shop and buy fresh, unpasteurized milk that comes straight from their own farm in the back of the house.

Have you been to Garmisch-Partenkirchen? What were your impressions?

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