Recently, my family and I decided to take a break from our daily routine and make a trip that will be both relaxing and culturally enriching. As a result of our research, we decided to visit Eastern Germany, as it seemed to be rich in picturesque places. We went to visit Zittau, a small town situated in the so-called "border triangle", a place where the borders of three countries meet - in this case, Germany, Poland and Czech Republic. Zittau is also nestled in the Zittauer Gebirge, the smallest mountain range in Germany. Arriving there, we were impressed by the idyllic atmosphere of the city.
We were moved by its amazing natural places and also by its wonderful medieval architecture, which gave us the feeling of going back to a different era, but without losing the advantages of our time. A long time ago, the town was called "Die Reiche" (the Wealthy One), its development and wealth being connected to commerce and trade, especially from the Medieval era until WWII. We could see its impressive cultural inheritance while visiting around. Some of the places that made a special impression on us were the Franciscan Monastery (currently a museum), the central square or Marktplaz, where we could admire several buildings from the old Renaissance and Baroque period, Tierpark Zittau, where we had lots of fun riding camels, and the nice cafes where we had great local food and some authentic German beer.
From Zittau, we headed to Kurort Oybin, a wonderful resort in the mountains. We decided to spend more time in nature, planning for a hike in the woods. Our 3-year old was already too tired to walk after a day visiting Zittau, which surprised us since he is usually very active. Then we prepared some drinks and food and had a very long walk through the forest of a hill overlooking the region, admiring the rocks, famous for their bizarre shapes, the mighty mountains visible at the horizon and overall, the magical, untouched beauty of nature.
The next day, we continued to be in awe discovering Oybin Castle and Monastery, and afterwards, the town called Görlitz/Zgorzelec, separated by the border between Germany and Poland. We felt a great admiration for its amazing architectural heritage and its harmonious clash of cultures.
Then, we headed towards Bautzen, an alluring city with an unusual characteristic - it apparently has the highest number of Neo-Nazis in Germany, which was highly intriguing and a little bit off-putting at first. Despite that, we actually felt really safe there and found it a great place to end our trip.
We returned home feeling grateful for the entire experience. Still under the enchantment of the natural places we have seen, with their forests, rocks and mountains; by the cities, a mix of Modern and Medieval architecture: places of culture, history and sports, which left their mark on us and which are definitely worthwhile discovering and returning to.