Munich, Bavaria & the Black Forest

Munich, Bavaria & the Black Forest
By Marc Di Duca & Kerry Christiani
Lonely Planet – $14.99

As deep, dark and delicious as its famous cherry gateau, the Black Forest gets its name from its canopy of evergreens. With deeply carved valleys, thick woodlands, luscious meadows, stout timber farmhouses and wispy waterfalls, it looks freshly minted for a kids’ bedtime story. Wandering on its many miles of forest trails, you half expect to bump into a wicked witch or huntsman, and might kick yourself for not bringing those breadcrumbs to retrace your tracks…

(‘The Black Forest’)

It’s hard not to savour the mere front cover of Lonely Planet’s Munich, Bavaria & the Black Forest, and not be immediately transfixed, if not transported unto a magical place of a seemingly long-gone, bygone era. Although the latter is very much not the case, as the colours, the architecture and the all round enchanting atmosphere of this most beguiling area of southern Germany, is very much hopping, alive and invariably inviting.

As much is altogether substantiated by one this travel guides’ two writers, Marc Di Duca, who, in the immediate ‘Welcome’ section writes: ‘’Is it the sap-scented hills and trails in forests Black and Bavarian, the Franconian beer and dark tourism of Nuremberg or the emotions stirred by the tragic Ludwig II story? Or is it a mildly envious admiration for southern Germany’s knack of producing cars that work, its galleries packed with modern art or the awe I feel for the German intellect as I face yet another devilishly complex Deutsche Bahn ticket machine (perhaps not)? I suppose it’s all the above and heaps more that has me returning time and again to this quirky yet level-headed corner of Europe.’’

It is indeed ‘’all the above and heaps more’’ that cajoles tourists to regularly return to this wonderful area of Germany.

After all, what is there not to like?

Bavaria’s capital city, Munich alone, is crammed with history and far too many things to do. Some obvious. Some not so obvious: ‘’The natural habitat of well-heeled power dressers and Lederhosen-clad thigh-slappers, Mediterranean-style street cafes and Mitteleuropa beer halls, highbrow art and high-tech industry, Germany’s unofficial southern capital is a flourishing success story that reels in its own contradictions. If you’re looking for Alpine cliches, they’re all here, but the Bavarian metropolis has many an unexpected card down its Dirndl […]. Munich’s walkable centre retains a small-town air but holds some world class sights, especially art galleries and museums. Throw in royal Bavarian heritage, an entire suburb of Olympic legacy and a kitbag of dark tourism, and it’s clear why southern Germany’s metropolis is such a favourite among those who seek out the past but like to hit the town once they’re done.’’

Along with a pull-out map of the city, this book includes all there is to know on Munich, from Sights to Activities, Tours to Festivals & Events, Drinking & Nightlife and of course, the terrible trajectory of the Nazis’ first concentration camp (actually built by Heinrich Himmler to house political prisoners in 1933) Dachau. I won’t dwell on the subject, but those interested in visiting the camp will find all they need to know herein.

Then of course, there are the other corners of this most splendid part of Germany which are very much covered in this book: Bavaria in general, Stuttgart and of course, The Black Forest – all of which are liberally peppered with information and a selection of glorious photographs.

So should you be thinking about going (once this whole Covid scenario is finally behind us), be sure to pack Munich, Bavaria & the Black Forest along with your passport.

David Marx

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