Aside from Colorado, Zac and I typically are not the type that want to visit the same place twice. This should not be confused with whether or not we would visit places again. Every trip we have taken, I know for a fact that we would go again. For example, after our winter trip to Iceland, I know that sometime down the road, we want to visit again in the summer. We just have too many places on our bucket list. Thus far, there has not been the time for multiple repeat trips. Although I am sure that down the road, we will revisit places we have already gone, we have not yet chosen to do that.
That being said, we technically have visited Germany before, but were only there for a total of nine hours. On our trip to Greece, our flight out of Des Moines was delayed so much that we were still sitting there, waiting to board our first plane - when we should have been boarded to our second plane, already in the air on our connecting flight. We were being told that there were no other options for us to get to Greece for days. I remember how furious I was, standing there and hearing that news from the flight attendant.
Finally, someone was able to find the most ridiculous workaround (but a workaround, nonetheless), including an overnight stay in Chicago and a nine hour layover in Germany. It still landed us in Greece much later than expected, but it offered us a chance to see a bit of Germany. It was also much better than going back home for a few days before leaving Des Moines, like they originally were stating we would have to do.
Although it was not in the initial travel plan, it actually turned out to be such an incredible opportunity. I had posted our travel change on Facebook, and a friend from high school reached out to me via the comments. We hadn’t stayed in touch very well for quite a few years - but that was because she had been a foreign exchange student from Germany and it seems to be even harder to stay in touch with those out of the country. When she saw that we would be in Germany, though, she reached out to see if we would like to get together with her while on our layover.
I turned another year older in Germany that year, exploring as much as we could of the country and catching up with Tasha before Zac and I had to re-board the plane to our final destination. I was so absolutely grateful for the way that it turned out, and wouldn’t ever go back and change it if I could. The fact of the matter is, however, that we simply did not get enough time to explore everything we would like while we were there. We definitely still have Germany on our bucket list, even after that short visit.
With that, on to Germany.
September is the start of fall for Germany, which means that the weather is typically still nice from the summer, but the crowds are much smaller. Larger crowds then come into Germany for Oktoberfest and Christmas, so September is a good midway point between the two busier seasons for tourism.
The average temperature in September for Munich is 66℉, with a record high of 88℉ and record low of 32℉ - quite the range, to be honest! Frankfurt is very similar, with an average temperature of 68℉, a record high of 88℉ and record low of 36℉.
I reviewed the weather for both Munich and Frankfurt for a reason - both places have international airports. That means that, for two places that are just shy of 300 miles away from one another (about a 4.5 hour drive - or shorter, if Zac is driving), there could be a decent price difference between the two. Des Moines to Munich is $1,247 per person, while Des Moines to Frankfurt would be $1,073 per person.
Similarly, there can sometimes be a large price difference in trips straight out of Des Moines compared to trips from Chicago, which is a drive just shy of 4.5 hours from us. Chicago to Munich would be $1,039 per person, and Chicago to Frankfurt would be $1,053. If we were to choose to fly into Munich, we could save about $500 total on the flight and hotel by driving to Chicago instead of flying straight out of Des Moines.
I’ve always known about Oktoberfest in Germany. However, what I didn’t know until researching things to do in Germany in September is that it actually kicks off in mid- to late- September. Oktoberfest 2021 festivities actually start September 17th.
This may be a surprise to some (but probably not to those that know me well), but I love wine. On a few of our earlier trips, shortly before I actually started a job with a winery for a while, we made it a point to always stop at local wineries, do wine tastings, and pick out a bottle or two to bring home with us. With that, I was overly excited when I found out that September is considered the season of German wine. The German Wine Road is a fun route tourists can take from winery to winery, vineyard to vineyard, and even see the world’s largest wine barrel.
As for things to see, Zac and I love national parks. When I found out that Germany had multiple beautiful national parks, Black Forest National Park and Saxon Switzerland National Park, I immediately had to research their hiking trails. Black Forest has a ton of day hikes available, in all different lengths and difficulties. Saxon Switzerland has multiple day hikes as well, and their views are gorgeous.
They also have an absolutely incredible history that allows visitors to see beautiful castles, wonderful architecture, and even medieval towns.
I've looked into New Zealand and Germany so far. Next, I'll explore Scotland and Alaska to see how they each compare to one another. As I mentioned in the first post, I hadn't yet told Zac what I had narrowed our options down to and what I was thinking of researching. He seems excited about all of the options, but is apparently also very minimally researching other options as well. I think the decision for our September trip is certainly going to be interesting. We just need to figure something out soon enough to go!