TRAVEL Q&A

German Jaunts Beyond Berlin

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By Elissa Leibowitz Poma
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, March 18, 2007

Q. During a summer trip to Germany, I'll spend four days each in Munich and Berlin, with three to spare in between. Where should I go?

Rufina Hernandez-Prewitt, Annandale

A. The countryside wedged between the two cities is like a Christmas card scene, with sites worth seeking out and towns worth wandering into. "The scenery is . . . rolling countryside dotted with villages and beautiful forests," says Ellie Turner, a Germany specialist with TT&A Travel (703-360-1999, http://www.tt-a.com/) in Alexandria.

If tourism is on your mind, consider Nuremberg, Weimar and Leipzig, suggests Victoria Keefe Larson, a public relations manager for the German National Tourist Office.

About an hour by train from Munich, Nuremberg is known for its medieval buildings, the huge Germanic Museum dating to 1852 and the somber Documentation Center, where Nazis once rallied and paraded and later were tried for World War II war crimes.

For a brain-cell boost, head to Weimar, Germany's intellectual center in the 18th and 19th centuries; it's a three-hour train ride from Nuremberg. The Baroque house where poet, novelist and theorist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe spent 50 years is now a museum.

When you head next to Leipzig (an hour by train), stop by the historic district's Auerbachs Keller, reputed to be the country's second-oldest restaurant. Goethe, Bach and other bygone German glitterati hung out there. Leipzig also has several museums and fine shopping.

Turner suggests a few alternative destinations, including Bayreuth, Dresden and Salzburg.

More info: German National Tourist Office, 800-651-7010, http://www.cometogermany.com/.

Should my 13-year-old son and I join a tour group for a spring trip to Cuzco and Machu Picchu in Peru?

J.L. Osborn, Bethesda

Cuzco and Machu Picchu are major tourist destinations that are easy to visit without the benefit of an organized tour. You could easily book your own lodging and transportation, explore the region by foot and hire local guides to show you around.

If hiking and other sports are a part of your plans, a youth-friendly tour would be worth it, because you'd have all arrangements made for you, English-speaking guides and the camaraderie of other families with teenagers. Plus, all or most of your equipment would be provided.

Austin-Lehman Adventures (800-575-1540, http://www.austinlehman.com/) of Billings, Mont., offers a family-oriented, nine-day outing to Lima and Peru's Sacred Valley, with guided walks, a hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and horseback riding, among other activities. It includes lodging, equipment and most meals; cost is $3,098 per person.

Postscript

Liz Tankersley of Washington spent lots of time in South Dakota and has additional tips for things to do (Travel Q&A, March 4). To understand the history of Mount Rushmore, tour the Lincoln Borglum Museum on the grounds of the monument. At the site of the Crazy Horse Memorial is the helpful Indian Museum of North America, which goes in depth on Native American history. The town of Hot Springs, with a woolly mammoth excavation site and mustang sanctuary, is also highly recommended, she said in an e-mail.

Send queries by e-mail (travelqa@ washpost.com), fax (202-912-3609) or U.S. mail (Travel Q&A, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071). Please include your name and home town.


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