After years of traveling to destinations where drinking tap water was unsafe, it was a luxury to be in Japan where the tap water is safe to drink, use to brush your teeth, and wash your fruits and vegetables. Even the water in park fountains was considered safe to drink. Amazing!
Now that I’m heading to Germany, I was pleased to see that many European destinations also have safe tap water for tourists. Since a few still don’t, check this infographic to be sure.
Surprisingly, even though German water is safe for residents and tourists alike, most Germans drink bottled water. But it is nice to not worry when I brush my teeth that I’ll need the Imodium in my emergency travel pharmacy.
As more countries improve their water infrastructure, bottled water may eventually become a travel story from history. But until then, always check, as many tourist destinations like China, Mexico, Morocco, and Thailand, still recommend bottled water for tourists. And remember. If tap water is unsafe, use bottled water to brush your teeth, don’t eat salads or street food, and avoid fruits that can’t be peeled.
To simplify the logistics of our upcoming trip to Germany, we decided to stay in one hotel for the week that we’ll be there and make day trips to other locales. We selected Koblenz as our base because it was at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine Rivers. Link
The German Railroad (Deutsches Bahn or DB hereafter) posts its schedules online. Link We found that the DB provides direct service from the station at the Frankfurt Airport to the main station in Koblenz. The ride takes a little more than an hour and was much more convenient than renting a car.
Examining the schedules for Koblenz, we learned that DB provides morning departure and afternoon return times to the cities and towns that we wanted to visit. We decided to use DB for our day trips as far as Koeln and Luxembourg and as nearby as the Moselle and Rhine country wineries.
DB offers several types of railway passes for tourists on its website. We opted for a pass designed for non-Europeans that provided seven consecutive days of train travel. Moreover, DB was offering a autumn season discount! We ordered our tickets on the DB website and printed them out at home. When we board the train in Germany, we merely show the passes and our passports to the attendant.
We were planning a trip to Boston for a business meeting and said, “Hey! We’re well along the way to Europe. Let’s go!” We settled upon Germany, because Brenda wanted to finally put her German language minor in college to good use.
Lufthansa offered flights from Boston/Logan to Frankfort, so we opted to visit that area. Once there, we considered our options: travel hither and thither, staying in various places, or establish a base of operations in one place and explore the environs. We opted for the latter, eschewing the multiple unpack/pack cycle. We also travel light, so readily finding a laundry with time to use it is a must. (At least, our seatmates on the flights home would prefer it.)
The next decision was where to establish our home away from home. There’s where the DK travel guides for Germany came in handy. The Rhineland offers an abundance of pleasant towns to choose from, so we felt we couldn’t make a wrong decision. We opted for Koblenz because it was convenient to both the Rhine and Moselle attractions, and was large enough to provide lots of different fun things to do and enjoy over our stay.
What about touring the countryside? Car or train? We opted for the convenience of the German railway system. We will use their affordable and convenient rail pass to avoid dealing with auto insurance, parking, and foreign language highway signage. The train system offers direct service from the Frankfort airport to Koblenz and convenient service from Koblenz to other towns and cities that we wanted to visit. And we won’t have to worry about driving after Wine tasting our way through the countryside.
Just a few more details to take care of and we’ll be ready for our trip. What about you? Where in Germany would you like to go?