Germany has pronounced itself a destination not to be missed especially during the arrival of frühling, spring, for the country just shed off its wintry skin to bask under the gracious warmth of the sun. Streets are lined with cherry blossom trees similar to Japan’s sakura-draped roads, the only difference is, one can imagine the scent of beer wafting the air as opposed to the Japanese sake. Most shops may be closed, including the seasonal ice cream shops which once tempted the onlookers. If people were allowed to frolic outdoors, there would be long lines outside.
The urban views may be bereft of its human demographics temporarily, however Germany’s surrounding environment stays the same, breathing with its lush green life that heralds the awakening of colour. Thankfully, through its new micro-website, Germany Travel affords international jetsetters the prime view of its secret sanctuaries, minus the efforts of donning a pair of hiking boots to go around town. The goal: ‘Discover Germany From Home’ – wherever home is – and get the closest glimpse of the country’s best tourist spots during its spring season.
One of its virtual tours is Hanover, the heart of the Lower Saxony, gazing commandingly above the Leine. Home to the botanical clusters of Herrenhausen Gardens, take an overhead view of the European gardens and its botanical glasshouses as a spectrum of orchids sprout from their hedges. Need to plunge into nature? Virtually take a jaunt to the creative lake Maschsee or take an upward view of the New Town Hall.
The Rheinsteig, tucked deep between Bonn and Wiesbaden, is a gorgeous 320km trail with varied geography, a hiking favourite. There is little chance to gaze into the magical waters of the river Rhine this spring, but Discover Germany from Home offers a 360-degree view across the hike, giving glimpses of the universities from Bonne, the woodlands of Sibengebirge, and the picturesque views of the Middle Rhine Valley. The camera passes through a ridge, heading straight to the vineyard of Dollendorfer which is cast alongside a line of quaint cottages. The striking view of Castle Drachenburg marks the end of the trail.
Perhaps nothing is as more otherworldly as the fairy-tale Schwerin Castle, whose blue turrets remind one of the lush settings of a Disney movie. This sublime royal fort, now housing the seat of the state, perches itself right in front of the lake Schwerin and hides many secrets – ones which are revealed through a virtual tour of its castle-museum.
Other than optical jaunts, Discover Germany From Home also brings viewers near to its beloved cosmopolitan landmarks – from the Dresden State Art Collections, bearing paintings which are the oldest in Europe, and heart-stopping views of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites at North Rhine. One may not see the details by tipping their toes and craning their heads, but zooming in will allow guests to study the art more meticulously.
How to make this experience more German? Sit on the couch and dig into a plate of Bratwurst. While the lack of the annual Spargel Queen puts a dent on a pageant queen’s resume, the harvest of the crowd-favourite white asparagus is more likely unstoppable. Boil a handful of spargels and drizzle it with melted butter and chives – best for breakfasts and snacking.And, while at that, take this time to polish on your German. Begin with this line: Bis später – see you later – a promise fulfilled perhaps during the summer. www.germany.travel ◼