Achtung, Baby!

So, one of the perks of my scientific career has been the chance to travel to scientific and/or business meetings in various places around the globe – Sweden, Switzerland, Cabo San Lucas, Wisconsin, Japan…

This Friday, I return back to the Fatherland to attend and speak at a scientific meeting being held in Berlin, Germany.  Pretty exciting for me, the presentation is a big deal (to me) and I haven’t been to Germany in 20 years (ugh) and the last time I was there, East and West Germany were still separate.

As is often the case, there is the opportunity to tack a vacation on to the end of these conferences and so The Beloved is coming over on Tuesday (the final day of the meeting) and we’ll split the next 10 days between Berlin and Munich.  We’d thought that we might want to go back to Hawaii this year in the spring, but who wouldn’t rather spend two weeks in Germany in February with the dollar doing so well rather than hanging out on Kauai?  At least we should beat the crowds.

One reason to go to Munich and Bavaria is to spend a little time discovering the Ancestral Betz Homeland.  As near as we can figure from my family history, my particular branch of the Betz-family emigrated to Philadelphia from Bavaria in the 1850s.

No one in my family is aware of any current relatives still in Bavaria (nor are they aware of us apparently), but I’m still excited to go back and see what I can see there.  As near as I can determine, the Betz’s in Germany made their living being hired thugs.  Ahhh, family pride.

So, the next few days will be spent making sure that I have all my stuff together.  I pretty much finished my presentation yesterday, so that was good.  So, has anyone been to either Munich or Berlin recently and have any recommendations???

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25 thoughts on “Achtung, Baby!

  1. Well you sure picked the best towns to go to lol! My family is from Bavaria too and I love going back. I have never been to Berlin though and one of my best friends went recently and said it was just gorgeous with all the new architecture. Enjoy!

  2. I am so jealous! Steve took me to Germany almost 3 years ago and I'm dying to get back. I'll send him over to give you some suggestions since he lived in Germany for 6 years. He's an awesome tour guide.

  3. Hired thugs. Now that is awesome.
    I've never been to Germany so can't offer you any advice. But I'm sure you'll find some great things to do (I'm sure the other Steve will have all kinds of great ideas) and I hope you know that it's an expectation that you'll take lots of great pictures! Don't forget to try the wine. :)

  4. I'm not jealous…..not at all. Sadly, I never made it up to Berlin, so I don't have any suggestions for there. I do, however, know the southern half of Germany very well, especially Bavaria. The first question is: Do you plan on renting a car or traveling by train/taxi?

  5. Steve — we're planning on taking the train between Berlin and Munich, but while in Munich, I think we're likely to get a car if only for a day or two so that we can see a bit outside the city itself. In Berlin, I think we'll rely on our feet and public transportation.

  6. How exciting! Ray has to go to Belgium in March for work. He ends up over in Europe about once a year. I'm yet to EVER be there! When the kids were little, I just couldn't fathom both of us being that far away. I looked into going with him last spring but the plane fare was outrageous at the time. Really should get a passport so I can go someday.
    My family is from Denmark so I'm anxious to visit there.

  7. Geez — 20 years ago, I was in Stuttgart and Munich for a little while, but not so much. We saw a little of Munich, but that was it. We hitched a train out of town to head to Vienna — so a pretty blank slate for me, really. And The Beloved has never been there, either.

  8. Coooool, have a great time! (I'm headed to Barcelona the same day!) I have 2 recommendations which you may already be familiar with: 1- nothin's more fun than a good biergarten (though I forget which one we went to), and 2- If you can make it to Dachau, visiting the concentration camp is a good experience.

  9. Feet and public transportation in Berlin is a good idea. Since it's the capital, there'll be plenty to see. As far as Munich goes though, there is so much to see in that area of Germany, I would HIGHLY recommend renting a car and taking some day trips. Driving in Germany is great to begin with, because the countryside is so beautiful. Legally driving 100mph+ makes getting places faster too. Here are some suggestion that are two hours or less from Munich: BMW museum and factory tour in Stuttgart, the medivel town of Rothenburg Ob der Tauber is a must. A little south of Munich, on border of Austria, is Garmish and a couple Ludwig II castles, Neuschwanstein and Linderhof. The drive between the castles is very pretty too.

  10. ~raises hand~ Me. I wouldn't rather spend two weeks in Germany than in Hawaii. =P(…Wow, what an awkward sentence.)Okay, only joking… this sounds very exciting!!! I expect the most excellent of pictures from you, Steve. Don't let me down!Side note #1: When I first looked at the map, I imagined that literally, the house your ancestors had took up that much space. It made me giggle. I was going to tell you the river/moat should go around the castle, not through it.Side note #2: Maybe we've had this discussion before, but did you know that my dad's side of the family hails from Pennsylvania and that my great-grandfather (or great-great? I get confused when you start throwing "greats" into titles… don't get me started on Catherine The and Alexander The…) was a German prisoner of war that stayed in America? Perhaps the old school Moldenhauers and Betzs partied together! (Or would that be "Moldenhaueren" and "Betzen"? Or "Moldenhauerer" and "Betzer"? Oh dear, I should've taken German instead of Spanish…)

  11. who wouldn’t rather spend two weeks in Germany in February with the dollar doing so well rather than hanging out on Kauai?HAHAHA. Drive fast. Drink Beer. Enjoy the sights. Post photos on return.

  12. I haven't been to Germany in over 10 years and when I went it was to an area between Frankfurt and Wiesbaden, in November. It was absolutely beautiful country, even in November — fall colors, up in the mountains.
    I'm going to be optimistic for you and guess that the area where you're going will be equally lovely despite being off-season.
    Have fun!

  13. That rather blew my mind when you said the last time you went to Germany it was still split. I am 23 years old, and I know the Berlin wall fell in my lifetime, but I just thought that the Berlin wall was somewhere far back in history that you read about.

  14. Steve – I think you should take Janette's suggestions in that particular order! :-) Drive fast, then drink beer…..not the other way around of course! We want you back in one piece with many photos to share!

  15. Have a great trip Steve! I haven't been to Germany so I have no suggestions except to enjoy yourself :)
    Essiequard went a couple of years ago for the World Cup and my brother-in-law went on a motorcycle trip through Germany recently. Maybe they can come up with something cool.

  16. Joie — you crack me up. Those Betz-thugs must have really carved out quite a nice place for themselves! And you KNOW the Moldenhauen and the Betzerrin ate totally awesome cheeseburgers and onion rings together!

  17. CL — the funny thing is that I can distinctly remember standing in my lab in grad school, listening to the radio, and hearing the news about the Berlin Wall. We were completely blown away — and then we ran to tell the grad students from Germany down the hall!

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