The clocks have just gone back in Europe, it's getting colder and suddenly 5pm feels like 8pm - which means that winter is just around the corner. If you live in Germany like I do, this isn’t such bad news at all - because it means we're one step closer to warming ourselves up with traditional German fare such as Glühwein and enjoying delicious Lebkuchen. These delicacies are particularly well known in Bavaria in the South of Germany so it may be harder for you to get your hands on them if you’re not living here! But at least starting today, you can get a much better sense for Bavaria and its traditions by exploring the streets of the picturesque Bavarian village of Oberstaufen using Street View.

So why Oberstaufen you may ask? For several months, the people of Oberstaufen, along with the mayor and the local tourist board have publicly invited us to put their town on the map so they can show it off to the world. We’ve been so impressed with their creativity (not to mention their cake baking skills), that we’ve worked extra hard in the last few weeks to get some pictures ready and into Street View, which you can explore today.

But sorry, you’ll have to bake your own Lebkuchen (gingerbread) this time, as I’ve been busy with the people of Oberstaufen at a traditional folk festival in celebration of Street View. Where of course we had an XXL version of this cake that the local tourism director Bianca Keybach, Mayor Walter Grath and I cut together during the festival! Look at the festivities as they unfolded today here:

Picasa album of Oberstaufen event

And that’s not all, because today we’re also bringing you a special preview of some other fascinating German places, before we make available full Street View imagery of the largest 20 cities in Germany in the near future. Our preview includes snapshots of landmarks in 5 of the 20 cities.

You can visit Königsplatz in Munich, Castle Solitude in Stuttgart , the Köhlbrandbrücke in Hamburg or the stunning Semper Opera building in Dresden, along with the Zwinger Palace and the Imperial Church.

Semper Opera building

Other places include the Berlin Victory Column and the Federal Chancellery with its 36 meter high main facade, on the eastern bank of the River Spree.

Federal Chancellery

For German football fans (that’s soccer to many of you) we have something really special indeed: ten Bundesliga football stadiums in 360-degree panoramic perspective, including the Allianz Arena in Munich, Imtech Hamburg Arena and the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen.

I hope you enjoy - I’m off to finish my piece of the Oberstaufen cake now and then I’ll go pay a virtual visit to some of my own favorite football stadiums.

Posted by Wieland Holfelder, Engineering Director, Germany