“Hmm,” I thought. “Not really bothered about going there. Rest of Europe is far more interesting.”
Years later, having eventually visited Germany several times, I’m now a firm fan of the place and list it as one of my favourite countries. It’s a crisp-looking country, has bombastic but impressive architecture, a suitably swish transport system (although the trains are frequently a bit late) and the friendly people widely speak English.
So I was very pleased to be invited back there to speak at the Social Travel Summit in Leipzig in April. This was a conference for top travel bloggers and I was asked to speak about how bloggers can introduce a bit of the same robustness that journalists employ in their work. It was a great event and I enjoyed it very much.
While in town, I came across Cafe Cantona, which excited me greatly as ex-footballer Eric Cantona is my all-time hero of all time. It was started by a few football fans in the city as a venue to watch televised football matches and then grew into a full bar.
Well worth a visit, even if you’re not into football, and aside from this poster it looks like a cute bar with tasty food.
After Leipzig I went on a short trip to the remarkable Völklingen Hütte Ironworks in Saarbrücken, right next to the French border. It was a post-conference trip and I went with Matt, an American chap better known as the Expert Vagabond and Simon, who’s an Italian blogger who writes at Wild About Travel.
This former industrial behemoth closed in the mid-1980s after nearly a century of melting down iron ore and is now a gently rusting monument to hard, searingly hot but essential work. It’s also a Unesco World Heritage Site.
After that I moved on to Hamburg, which was a cracking city to hang out in for a while. One part of the town centre was quite reminiscent of Venice.
Then it was on to Berlin for my third trip to the German capital, and the occasion when I really began to fall in love with the place. I’d always liked it, but am now firmly under its spell. Here’s a shot of the Reichstag, the German parliament building. If those walls could talk…
While in Berlin I grabbed a couple of SOTMs. Here’s Sofia with something she was told by nuns. Click on both images to see their page on SOTM.