Springtime for Germany

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Springtime for Germany

A Journey from Bratwurst to Wanderlust

by Ben Donald | Little, Brown

Suffering from weltschmerz – world-weariness – travel journalist Ben Donald is invited to travel to Germany to rediscover his missing wanderlust. He had grown sick of the global kitsch represented by Peruvian bands playing Hey Jude on pan-pipes below Machu Pichu, or international banking giants claiming intimate knowledge of local customs on a global scale.

But most importantly, he had to get away from the incessant backpack-laden crowds spoiling the serenity of the world’s beauty spots, a crowd he called ‘chavellers’.

Germany appears as a lost frontier, undiscovered beneath a cloak of poisonous myth, and unvisited for 60 years

Far from being a country of humourless sunloungersecurers, Germany appears to Donald as a lost frontier, undiscovered beneath a cloak of poisonous myth, and left unvisited for over 60 years. Yet it is also a romantic country of rivers, vineyards, forests, castles, poetry and music.

So Donald ventures out to the land that only 1.6 million Britons visit each year – tiny in comparison to the 25 million that visit France or Spain – desperate to keep images of Basil Fawlty and ’Allo ’Allo far from his mind.

And boy, does he go in head first. He visits the beaches, or more specifically freiköerperkultur (nudist) beaches; spas where ‘they haf vays’ of making you well; and September’s Oktoberfest, for the chance to gallivant in lederhosen.

He comes back with a consistently humorous account. By relinquishing his dignity, he rediscovers his love for travel, and has his world-weariness blown away.

First published: Traveller magazine, Summer 2007
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