The land of Bach and the Brothers Grimm beckons. From Sept 8, a Vaccinated Travel Lane between Singapore and Germany will allow fully vaccinated people to travel between the two countries without being quarantined. However, they must undergo Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
Castles, old towns and beautiful rivers and forests are some of the things people can look forward to when they visit Germany. From the gritty cultural capital of Berlin to quaint Bavarian towns and scenic views along the Rhine Valley, the country – home to more than 83 million people – has much to offer.
My love affair with Germany comes from an interest in its language and aspects of pop culture – the tragicomedy film Goodbye, Lenin! (2003); neo-noir television series Babylon Berlin (2017 to present) – and a desire to learn more about its people.
Recently, I was moved by Nora Krug’s Belonging: A German Reckons With History And Home (2018), where Krug, who grew up in the long shadow of World War II, explores her struggles with German identity in a collage-style scrapbook.
During my travels to Germany, I enjoyed being immersed in the language, which is earthy, supple and unexpectedly beautiful. In Frankfurt, I had fun using the ticket machine for the S-Bahn, relishing the way the word for “adult” (“Erwachsene”, “uh-VUHK-suh-nuh”) reminded me of a bud in bloom.
Other things left an impression – the country’s decentralised development (Germany has 16 federal states), the European penchant for sparkling water, the ageing audience demographic at classical music concerts; and the way the cashier at the Heidelberg University canteen charged me for lunch based on how much it weighed.
Ticking off tourist attractions from a checklist is not the most satisfying way to spend a holiday. Better to home in on a few locations that appeal to you, leaving room for serendipitous discovery. These recommendations, while not exhaustive, may be a useful starting point.