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Summary: Germany is in central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark, and is mostly lowlands in the north, and uplands in the center, with the Bavarian Alps in the south. As Europe's largest economy and most populated nation, Germany is technologically advanced, and still retains its very rich history of places to visit.

Capital: Berlin
Time Zone: DST +0200 UTC
Population: 82,424,609
Languages: German
Power: 230 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Euro - Currently 1 EUR € = 1.4607 USD $
Climate: Germany is temperate and marine with cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers. There is also the occasional warm mountain wind called der Foehnwind.

Berlin: Born out of a series of villages, Berlin is the most populated city between Paris and Moscow. Berlin offers a number of interesting places to see, like the Egyptian Museum, and the shops along the Ku'damm, and parks like the Grunewald. The Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of the reunification of the eastern and western halves of the country.

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Munich: It is said that Munich is Germany's biggest village. Home to the original Oktoberfest and lots of pubs and taverns, see the facades of Alte Pinakothek and Glypthotek, created by Ludwig I, and the palaces of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof, created by Ludwig II, as well as the Frauenkirche cathedral, built by the architect who, by legend, won a bet against the Devil in building it.

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Cologne: Founded by the Romans in 38 BC, Cologne began producing its namesake in 1705. When visiting, enjoy the concentration of bars, February's carnival celebration, and one of the most historic sites in the gothic Cologne Cathedral, also known as the Dom, with a star instead of a cross on the church's steeple, and inside holding a golden shrine with what is believed to be the skulls of the three kings that visited Jesus’ birth in the Catholic religion.

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Heidelberg: Home to the mostly destroyed Heidelberger Schloss or castle, which still looks down upon Heidelberg, there are sites of considerable interest. On Marktplatz, find the Gothic church of the Holy Spirit and the Knight's Mansion, a late Renaissance masterpiece, and the nearby Electoral Palatinate Museum.

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Externsteine: In the middle of Germany's heartland lies a chain of sandstone towers and one of the most interesting archeological sites in central Europe. Linked to Charles the Great, a well preserved temple sits atop the tallest tower, and wall sculptures, grottos and caves have been carved into the foundations.



Boat Cruise: Many towns and cities in Germany are located on the Rhine River, so taking a cruise along the river can be a great way of getting a guided scenic tour of the country.

Social Customs: Be polite and practice general good manners, and avoid such topics as World War II or the East German infrastructure.

Autobahn: Although some sections are limit-free, there tend to be limits near cities and towns to control the speed as people get on and off. Note that traffic can move fast - a car moving at 300 km/h will flash his headlights to signal you to move over now. In short, do it.

When To Visit: Germany offers something year-round. In winter, Christmas festivals and skiing will draw crowds; in summer, beer gardens and festivals will be as popular as the swimming and hiking; spring may be the best compromise of good weather and smaller crowds.

Food: German food is pervasive in North American culture, including sauerkraut, bratwurst, and of course, beer.

Phrases: Bitte means please, and danke means thank you.

Tipping: A service charge is included in all restaurant and hotel bills, although it is common to round up the bill to the nearest whole number when tipping. Add about 10% to taxi fares.





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