German Subway Map
Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the first great German composers. Bach and his contemporary Georg Friedrich Handel composed during the Baroque period of the 17th century, which was known for its extravagant decoration, and popularized the theme-and-variation pattern. Handel’s Messiah (1741) is still widely performed today Hallelujah!
The 19th century was an era of German musical hegemony. Ludwig van Beethoven s symphonies and piano sonatas bridged Classicism and Romanticism with rhythmic drives and intense emotional expressionism; he is perhaps best known in popular culture for his dramatic Fifth and Ninth Symphonies (1808 and 1824, respectively). Meanwhile, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy wrote more ethereal works, such as his musical interpretation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1826). The second generation of Romantic composers included Johannes Brahms, who imbued Classical forms with Romantic emotion. Tristan and Isolde (1859), Lohengrin (1850), and the other (interminably long) operas of Richard Wagner express the nationalist sentiments rising in the mid-19th century.
BY CAR. German road conditions are generally excellent. It’s true, there is no set speed limit on the Autobahn, only a recommendation of 130kph (80mph). Germans drive fast. Watch for signs indicating the right-of-way (usually designated by a yellow triangle). The Autobahn is marked by an intuitive “A” on signs; secondary highways, where the speed limit is usually lOOkph (60mph), are accompanied by signs bearing a “B.” Germans drive on the right side of the road; in cities and towns, speed limits hover around 30-60kph (20-35mph). Germans use mainly unleaded gas; prices run around 4.30 per gallon, or 1.10 per liter. Mitfahrzentralen are agencies that pair up drivers and riders for a small fee; riders then negotiate payment for the trip with the driver.
BY BIKE. Cities and towns have designated bike lanes, often on the sidewalk. Germany by Bike, by Nadine Slavinski (Mountaineers Books, 1994; US$15), details 20 tours throughout the country.
TOURIST SERVICES AND MONEY
TOURIST OFFICES. Every city in Germany has a tourist office, usually near the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) or Marktplatz (central square). All are marked by a thick lowercase “i” sign. Many offices book rooms for a small fee. The tourist info website for Germany is www.germany-tourism.de.
MONEY. On January 1, 2002, the euro () replaced the Deutschmark (DM) as the unit of currency in Germany. For more info, see 14. As a general rule, it’s cheaper to exchange money in Germany than at home. If you stay in hostels and prepare your own food, expect to spend anywhere from 20-40 per person per day. Tipping is not practiced as liberally in Germany as elsewhere most Germans just round up 1. Note that tips in Germany are not left lying on the table, but handed directly to the server when you pay. If you don’t want any change, say “Das stimmt so” (das SHTIMMT zo). Germans rarely bargain except at flea markets. Most goods and services bought in Germany will automatically include a 7 or 16% value-added tax (VAT); see 16 for more information.