Since I stuck in Germany for a while, I like to explore nearest places (though I’d better go see Malmö, Sundsvall, Uppsala and, of course, Stockholm). Here are my impressions after visiting a dozen of different towns.
Due to my location I mostly visited places situated near Rhine, so my sampling may be biased.
My first observation is that smaller towns are usually better (look more beautiful, nicer and more comfortable) than larger ones. For example, in Baden-Württemberg I’ve seen: Baden-Baden, Bruchsal, Donaueschingen, Eberbach, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Offenburg, Pforzheim, Stuttgart. Among those I liked Mannheim and Stuttgart the least. Guess what are two biggest cities in this region? Stuttgart also serves for a capital. It’s famous for one guy who invented bicycle and one of the first to invent typewriter (what do you know, Germans still love bikes) and several other guys inventing car (there are still Daimler-Benz and Porsche works in Stuttgart along with their own museums).
Köln (aka Cologne) is the fourth biggest city in Germany. While it has very impressive architecture and interesting museums, it’s queer. Seeing slogan “From Cologne to Cleveland. Gay games 2014” does not improve my impressions. Seriously, Cleveland? It’s rumoured to be one of the worst cities in USA. I’m pretty sure that, for example, Bonn is better despite being former governmental place. Also I’ve heard that they have special dialect, even less understandable than Schwabish (not a problem for me, I can’t understand any German dialect anyway).
Rhineland-Pfalz (aka Rhineland-Palatinate) has no big cities, its capital Mainz has around two hundred thousand people but those towns are beautiful! Well, except Ludwigshafen unless you like concrete panel buildings and chemical industry. Also it’s worth reminding that Mainz was a cradle of one of the most important inventions ever – printing.
I’ve been in Hamburg for about an hour but this (the second largest German city) is also not impressive.
Well, guess what German city sucks most in my opinion (and not only because it’s built on a swamp)? Of course, it’s Berlin. The only good place I’ve seen there is musical instruments museum. The rest looks a lot like Kiev – skyscrapers in the city centre and mostly neglected buildings in other areas. Not to mention that even S- and U-Bahn stations look too spartan and underdesigned. Makes you think that West Berlin was a myth.
The only major exception is Bavaria (even some Germans consider it to be a separate country and not a real part of Germany). They make good cars, they have wonderful tourist attractions, they have very good music (though Wagner was born in Leipzig), they have wonderful nature too. They even had special Monty Python
Flying CircusFliegender Zirkus series filmed there, it’s hard to beat that.
I still have to visit Central and East Germany but I don’t think it will change my opinion. And maybe I’ll have a chance to compare Strasbourg to Paris. I suspect result will be quite similar.