Cycling along the Neckar in Germany #3 – Rottweil to Oberndorf

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It’s the last day of our cycling holiday in Germany. We’ve checked a few on-line sources and studied the cycling map and are driving to Altoberndorf a half an hour away so that we can cycle along the Neckar to Rottweil and Oberndorf. After an excellent breakfast at the Martinhof, Hotel including Spiegel ei, we are off.

The rathaus in Alto

The rathaus in Altoberndorf

There are roadworks on the motorway (again!) so we take an earlier exit than planned along very small roads. Since Germany developed a free motorway system very early on, there are few major roads otherwise. Some of the time, we are driving along the recommended bike route.

Altoberndorf and the Neckar

Altoberndorf and the Neckar

At Altoberndorf we park near the new rathaus. We are soon in pretty countryside, in a very narrow valley. We come to the first covered bridge of the day. On the other side there are two wooden sculptures – and a very devoted photographer. His wife is waiting patiently further on. I wonder how often she has to do so.

A very devvoted photographer at the first covered bridge

A very devoted photographer at the first covered bridge

The route then runs along the railway line. So far, it’s quite flat but we know we have a steep climb before we get to Rottweil.

The pretty little village of Tauhausen from the bike path

The pretty little village of Talhausen from the bike path

At Talhausen, it’s cappuccino time so we go into the village. Nothing. I suggest we try further up the hill because I can see a sign that looks promising. At the top, there is a bar with a view. The only problem is that it’s closed on Friday’s until 4.30 pm.

The second covered bridge of the day, taken from the side

The second covered bridge of the day, taken from the side

We go back down the hill to join the bike path again and soon come to our second covered bridge. We have seen these in other parts of Germany but are not sure of their purpose.

We follow the Neckar for some time

Following the Neckar

We follow the Neckar for a while until we pass under the motorway bridge. Not soon after that, we come to our long climb – 1.7 kilometers. I can see Jean Michel far ahead of me on the next bend. The road seems never-ending but once I find my pace I work my way steadily up. There is a wonderful view over to my left but I do not stop for photos or I’ll never make it to the top.

The motorway bridge in the distance as we climb the hill

The motorway bridge in the distance as we climb the hill

I think the end is in sight, but can’t see Jean Michel, so I assume the climb isn’t finished. When I am almost at the top, I see a group of four German cyclists resting in front of me. One is even lying down on the grass. I put on my best smile and say “Hallo” very energetically. I am a little disappointing that no one says “Bravo”. I later learn that only one of them cycled up the hill and she had an electric bike.

Me as I get to the top of the hill

Me as I get to the top of the hill

Just round the corner I see Jean Michel waiting for me. He takes a photo and congratulates me. This is most definitely the longest climb I’ve ever done. He says he expected me to walk at least part of the way. I’m very proud of myself.

The first painted house we see in Rottweil

The first painted house we see in Rottweil

We cycle the last few kilometers into Rottweil and each time we freewheel I think of how hard it’s going to be after lunch – even with the 1.7 km descent to look forward to.

The fountain in the main square in Rottweil

The fountain in the main square in Rottweil

Rottweil is a delight to the eye with painted façades and decorated oriel windows everywhere. I am only sorry that the sky has been gradually filling with clouds.

The other side of the square in Rottweil

The other side of the square in Rottweil

We call in at the tourist office and I ask whether there are restaurants other than the Greek, Chinese and Italian ones we can see on the main square. She says to go into the side streets.

More oriel windows in the main street

More oriel windows in the main street

Jean Michel finds a terrace next to the church but is soon told that the kitchen is closed – it’s 1.15 pm.

Our lunch terrace

Our shady lunch terrace

I suggest we go down to the bottom of the square and turn right as there is a park. Just before the bridge, we see a terrace but aren’t sure how to access it. I walk through a porch and out into a courtyard with a little tree-covered biergarten at the end. It’s an Italian restaurant as it turns out – but who cares? The setting is perfect. So is the food and the Italian wine.

Outside the restaurant - Hochebrucke

Outside the restaurant – Hochbrücke – it looks German but is actually an Italian pizzeria

We see there is nothing in  particular to visit in the town – we are not really interested in the Rottweiler dog museum – so go back to the main square to take some more photos.

The second fountain in the main street

The second fountain in the main street

Jean Michel checks the map so we don’t have too many ups and downs before we get to our 1.7 km descent. We go past a tower-like construction we noticed before called Test turm. We later check it out on the Internet. The 246 metre high Tower of Light is a lift test tower whose construction began on 2nd October 2014.

The "Tower of Light" test tower just outside Rottweil

The “Tower of Light” test tower just outside Rottweil

We arrive at the 1.7 km descent at 3.30 pm and this time, I can stop for photos! You can just see the motorway in the distance.

The view from the hill on the way down

The view from the hill on the way down

At the bottom we stop to fill our water bottles at a fountain provided by the local waterworks for cyclists and hikers. The water is nice and cold. We manage to keep it fairly cool with our Australian stubby coolers.

The waterworks where we fill up our water bottles

The waterworks where we fill up our water bottles

We ride past Altoberndorf and on to Oberdorf where we see our fourth covered bridge. There are riotous kids on rubber rafts floating along the river below.

Kids on rafts from the fourth covered bridge just outside Oberndorf

Kids on rafts under the fourth covered bridge just outside Oberndorf

It looks as though the town is up on a hill. Oh dear. Our cycle path takes us onto a ramp that ends in a spiral. I’m walking this!

You can see the spiral bike ramp on the right

You can see the spiral bike ramp on the right

However, before we reach the spiral, there is a sign on the right directing us to the rathaus, Information Office and a church. It’s nearly 5 pm and no sign of life. I stay downstairs with the bikes while Jean Michel goes into the rathaus. I start looking at a guide book in French on the Black Forest that we bought in Rottweil. A man comes up and asks in English if I need help. I explain I’m waiting for my husband who is in the rathaus.

Outside the Rathaus in Oberndorf

Outside the Rathaus in Oberndorf

“Have you visited the church?” “No, not yet.” “It’s nearly 5 o’clock, it’s going to close soon. Come with me”. I follow him, leaving the bikes behind unattached and hoping Jean Michel will not worry when he doesn’t find me. “Where are you from?” he asks. “Well, I’m Australian, my husband is French and we live in France”, I explain. He then says a few words in French because he had noticed the book I was reading.

The church near the rathaus in Oberndorf

The church near the rathaus in Oberndorf

We can go into the church but only the narthex is open. The wrought iron gates leading into the nave are closed. “This is our town’s most famous place”, he says. “It’s a Christmas scene on the ceiling and a crucifixion at the end.” Jean Michel arrives at this point and I explain in French what’s going on. The man offers to find a key to get into the nave but we say we can see well enough from the narthex.

Inside the church in Oberndorf

Inside the church in Oberndorf

He then explains that the town is famous for its church and the manufacture of Mauser weapons. No wonder it was bombed during the war!

The upper part of Oberndorf

The old town of Oberndorf

At my insistence we go up to the old part of the town although Jean Michel is not convinced there is anything up there. However, there are several pretty houses and, more importantly, an eis café. We choose our flavours (we know all the vocab now) and sit down on a nearby bench in a sort of kiosk to eat them. Two other people are sitting there as well and start asking us questions about our holiday, where we live, etc. This is probably the first time we’ve had a real conversation in Germany.

The fountain in the old town of Oberndorf

The fountain in the old town of Oberndorf

The sky is getting darker and darker and it’s also getting very windy. “Do you have rain clothes?” asks the lady. “Yes, we have our capes”, I reply. Thank goodness. We are just finishing our ice-creams when the first drops start to fall.

The owner of the eis cafe quic;klky putting down the parasols

The owner of the eis cafe quickly putting down the parasols while Jean Michel puts his paper in the bin

We hastily put our capes on (Jean Michel does not refuse this time) and head for the ramp. I walk my bike down as I’m afraid it might be slippery. By the time we leave the town, it’s absolutely pelting down and doesn’t look as though it will let up soon. Suddenly, we realise that we’ve gone too far and don’t know where we are.

The rain pelting down while I am in the bus shelter

The rain pelting down while I am in the bus shelter

I see a bus shelter and we wait there for a bit. Jean Michel goes off to reconnoiter and eventually locates the underpass into Atloberndorf. that we missed It’s still raining heavily and the gutters are still flooded when we approach the car. I see a place where we can park the car while we put the bikes on without getting even wetter.

We are soaked from the thighs down and our sandals are swimming with water. Fortunately we have a suitcase of clean clothes in the car plus a second pair of sandals so are able to change before going home. It’s still raining when we leave. I make a mistake when entering the address in the Tom-Tom and we end up in Freundstadt. It takes another ¾ hour to get home.

map

Our cycling holiday in Germany is over and the weather seems to agree that it’s time to go back to Blois where the temperatures have improved considerably.

We have now cycled along the Danube, the Rhine, the Moselle, the Elb, the Romantic Road (the Tauber), the polders in Friesland, Lake Constance and the Neckar in Germany on four different occasions. The Danube and Lake Constance remain our favourites.

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Cycling along the Neckar in Germany #2 – Horb – Rottenburg – Türbingen – Bebenhausen

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We seem to have scored with our hotel at last. It is well-located, right on the bike path, the room is spacious with a sofa, two chairs and a desk, the bed is comfortable (and there is even a double bed unlike most accommodation in Germany where two single beds are usually pushed together), it has black-out curtains, the floor doesn’t creak, the shower doesn’t have water spiking out every which way, it has real towels, the breakfast is excellent and the staff is friendly and accommodating. It’s called Martinshof in Rottenburg am Neckar and I can recommend it! We are staying four nights.

The Martinshof Hotel in Rottenburg am Neckar

The Martinshof Hotel in Rottenburg am Neckar

The little town of Rottenburg am Neckar has a marktplatz with several historical buildings and a path along the Neckar where we go to have our picnic dinner each evening as we don’t have a terrace. The light is perfect the first time we go there and I manage to take several stunning photos. It also has one of the best ice-cream parlours we’ve been to in Germany. The dark chocolate is to die for.

Along the Neckar in Rottenburg

Along the Neckar in Rottenburg

The weather prediction for the three days we are staying here is warm and sunny, even very hot the first day. We make the effort to get up early (8 am) and are on our way by 9.30.

The marktplatz in Rottenburg

The marktplatz in Rottenburg

The Neckartal-Radweg path takes us through pretty countryside and is mostly flat. We look for a café in the first village, Obernau, to no avail, so push on to Bieringen which has a seemingly non-descript bakery/open air café that is obviously known for miles around as people keep pulling up in their cars and dashing in to pick up boxes and packets.

Cycling country outside Rottenburg

Cycling country outside Rottenburg

We enjoy our cappuccino but aren’t hungry enough for cake. By now it must be about 28°C.

A golf course literally in the middle of nowhare

A golf course literally in the middle of nowhere

To our immense surprise, we go past a golf course. You’d wonder where the people come from. It’s getting hotter and hotter and we are positively sweltering by the time we reach Eutingen Im Gäu. From then on, we spend most of our time going up and down hills. When we see the motorway bridge above us, we’re not surprised.

The motorway bridge above the bike path

The motorway bridge above the bike path

Fortunately, we then go through a wooded area or we may not have survived! We keep stopping to drink water which we keep chilled with our Aussie stubbie coolers.

The tower on the hill near Horb

The tower on the hill near Horb

Our destination, Horb, is not exactly what we expected. First, it is on top of a VERY HIGH HILL which we walk up, of course. At the top, we see the painted rathaus and church but no restaurants so we go back down the hill.

The painted rathaus in Horb am Neckar

The painted rathaus in Horb am Neckar

I suggest we ride along the river in the opposite direction to see what we can find. Jean Michel is very dubious but I insist. Suddenly we come across an outdoor Italian restaurant under shady trees. It has a very basic menu but we don’t care.

The shady Italian eatery

The shady Italian eatery

There is a high school just behind and the students are all cooling themselves off in the river a hundred metres on. We order wiener schnitzel to be on the safe side with French fries and they are excellent. Jean Michel tells me everyone is calling them “pommice”. We later learn it is the German pronunciation of pommes short for pommes frites, which means French fries in French. I feel sorry for the Italian mamma who’s cooking today. We are reasonably cool in the shade.

Chilling out on the roadside bench

Chilling out on the roadside bench

I am dreading the ride back because of all those hills but in fact, they are not so steep in this direction. After an hour, though, I am happy to stretch out on a conveniently located wooden bench to recuperate.

A vineyard on the way home

A vineyard on the way home

We call in again at the bakery in Bieringen. By now it is 32°C in the shade and we need to cool off again. Business continues to be brisk but we still don’t feel like eating cream cakes and my dictionary does not tell me what holzofen brot is.

The bakery in

The bakery in Bieringen

All we want when we get back after cycling 55 km in 4 hours is a cold shower. Our room does not have air-conditioning but we cool off along the river with an ice-cream. On the way home, we hear an impromptu concert in one of the squares.

It’s next morning and an intermittent fast day. Fortunately, it isn’t as hot and the temperature is only expected to get to 28°C. We shall have to drink a lot of water though.

The beautifully painted rathaus in Tübingen

The beautifully painted rathaus in Tübingen – unfortunately it’s delivery time

We pack our picnic lunch and set out at 9.30 am. Initially, the route is not very exciting, but at least it’s flat. Tübingen, our main destination, is only 12 km away. Since it was not bombed during World War II, most of the houses are very old, many are half-timbered and some are painted.

Marktplatz in Tübingen

Marktplatz in Tübingen

The rathaus with its oriel window is particularly attractive.

Having coffee next to the canal

Having coffee next to the canal

We have an espresso next to a little canal to the accompaniment of live music from Budapest and watch two enormous trucks try to get past each other.

Houses along the Neckar in Tübingen

Houses along the Neckar in Tübingen

After visiting the main sights in the upper part of the town, we cycle down to the tourist office just next to the Neckar Bridge. Tübingen has a population of 66,000 people, one third of whom are university students. They seem to be everywhere!

 

Punts on the Neckar

Punts on the Neckar

We see gondola-like boats on the river which apparently are the local tourist attraction.

A biergarten along the Neckar. What a pity it's an intermittent fast day!

A biergarten along the Neckar. What a pity it’s an intermittent fast day!

As we haven’t determined where we are going next, I ask the man in the tourist office to suggest something to visit within a radius of 10 km. He gives me a brochure on Bebenhausen monastery and castle which is 6 km out of town.

The bike café on the way to Bebenhausen

The bike café on the way to Bebenhausen

On the way, we come across a little café on the bike path and have an espresso. Dark rain clouds are threatening and I haven’t packed our rain capes. In the little wood just after the café, there are definite signs that a shower that has already taken place. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

One of the houses in the village of Bebenhausen

One of the houses in the village of Bebenhausen

When we reach Bebenhausen, we are enchanted. I don’t understand why the brochure only shows the rather drab inside of the castle and church when the village itself is so pretty.

The clock on one side of the abbey

The clock on one side of the abbey

Although it is not teeming with tourists we are not on our own. There are two groups of schoolchildren and two groups of adults which makes it difficult to take photographs!

Another view of Bebenhausen

Another view of Bebenhausen

We stop off at Tübigen on the way back to visit the cathedral because it has a flamboyant gothic jubé. There are some interesting wooden statues at the end of some of the pews.

The jube in Tübingen cathedral

The jube in Tübingen cathedral

We’re back at our hotel by 4 pm, having cycled 42 km in 3 hours 20 minutes in near-perfect weather.

Traditional music in Rottenburg am Neckar

Traditional music in Rottenburg am Neckar

 

We have dinner along the river as usual, but no ice-cream because it’s an intermittent fast day. As we reach the marktplatz we can hear music. We’ve arrived at the tail end of some sort of organised event but it’s good to know that our little town is so active.

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Cycling Along the Neckar in Germany – #1 – Ludwigsburg

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We have come to the end of our cycling tour of the Romantic Road and have a week left before we have to be back home in Blois. We look at the map to see where we can do some more exploring by bike. The Neckar river starts in Villingen-Schwenningen in the Black Forest and joins the Rhine in Mannheim. We manage to find a Bikeline map of the Neckar Valley and decide that Rottenburg am Neckar looks like a good base for four nights.

The main façade of Ludwigsburg Palace when you first see it

The main façade of Ludwigsburg Palace when you first see it

Ludwigsburg which is on the Neckar just north of Stuttgart looks like a good lunch stop. It has one of Germany’s largest Baroque palaces. It started off as a hunting lodge built by Ludwig of Württemberg at the beginning of the 18th century. Over the years it was expanded and improved until it became a royal residential palace.

Cappuccino time

Cappuccino time

After parking in the covered carpark in the large shopping centre opposite the palace we have an excellent cappuccino in an Italian osteria where everyone speaks to us in Italian. When we arrive at the palace at about 11.30 am, we learn that we have to join a one-hour guided tour. The next one in English is at 1.30 pm, which is a little annoying. We buy our tickets at 7 euro a piece and decide to have lunch into the very extensive gardens. But the entry is another 8.50 euro each which sounds ludicrous so we go into the little town centre instead. The heat is excruciating by now.

The marktplatz in Ludwigsburg on market day

The marktplatz in Ludwigsburg on market day

There is a fresh market in the main square which only seems to have cafés and no restaurants but we eventually find one that serves salads and pasta and settle for that. Its main recommendation is that it is on the shady side of the square. We buy some tomatoes and fruit before we leave. The vendor’s daughter tells us that her cousin is going to Australia for a year.

The other side of marktpltaz showing the modern buildings behind

The other side of marktpltaz showing the modern buildings behind

Our tour begins on time and our guide speaks good English and is very knowledgeable. Considering the time he spends on each room and in answering people’s questions, I don’t see how it can only take an hour. We can’t take photos, as usual, and Jean Michel has a description of the visit in French.

One of the baroque ceilings that still remains on the ground floor

One of the baroque ceilings that still remains on the ground floor

The castle consists of 452 rooms and 18 buildings but we are only visiting the Queen’s rooms and theatre. The main building has a series of rooms that connect up and form an enfilade that is 150 metres long. During the Empire period, the Baroque décor was considered to be outdated and the beautiful ceilings painted over. We find this part very boring although I hear some other people saying how pretty it is.

The b est view of the original building from the new wing

The best view of the original building from the new wing

However, in the oldest part (the hunting lodge), the original Baroque decoration remains and is much livelier.

We are able to see the formal garden from the terrace of the palace. We learn that the gardens total 30 acres and are very beautiful. Maybe another time!

The formal gardens seen from the first floor of the original palace building

The formal gardens seen from the first floor of the original palace building

Although the Empire rooms seem very dull after all the Baroque and rococo we have been seeing along the Romantic Road, we still feel the visit is worthwhile.

Bike signs in Rottenburg - we are on a lot of bike routes!

Bike signs in Rottenburg – we are on a lot of bike routes!

Back in the car, we encounter a lot of road work along the way, something we have often experienced on the motorways in Germany. We get to Rottenburg around 5 pm and are looking forward to 3 days of cycling.

Posted in Architecture, Cycling, Germany, Travelling | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Cycling along the Romantic Road #8 – Tauberbishofsheim to Creglingen

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After a refreshing sleep in our sccond hotel room in Tauberbishofsheim and Spiegel ei for breakfast, we are ready to go. We’re on our bikes by 9.45 am and it’s already 17°C and expected to get to 22°C in the afternoon.  This is the best weather we’ve had for several days. As we ride through Tauberbishofsheim, we take a few more photos and are soon out in the country. This is what we’ve been waiting for!

Little chapel just outside Tauberbishofsheim

Little chapel just outside Tauberbishofsheim

It’s Sunday morning and we see people milling around the church and cemetery but in this area, no one is dressed in traditional costume. Just out of town, there is a little chapel with a cemetery which is also popular this morning.

Hops growing

Hops growing

We go past a field of hops which seems to have an educational purpose and remember all the hop fields when we cycled along the Danube.

Our "special" cappuccino in

Our “special” cappuccino in Lauda-Königshofen

In Lauda-Königshofen, our first stop, we have a cappuccino at an eis café and the owner talks to us in Italian. Nearly all the eis cafés we’ve been to here are run by Italians. When he brings out the coffee, he shows us the sugar sticks – men for me, women for Jean Michel.

Baroque bridge over the

Baroque bridge over the Grünbach in Gerlasheim

There are several attractive 17th and 18th centuries houses but Lauda-Königshofen’s main claims to fame are its vineyards, the little baroque bridge over the Grünbach with its larger-than-life statues of Holy Kilian, Burkhard, Michael and Nepomuk at nearby Gerlasheim which also has an abbey church.

Geese grossing in front of the calvary on the other side of the bridge

Geese grossing in front of the calvary on the other side of the bridge

The bridge is as romantic as the guide book says and just as I’m crossing it, I see a flock of geese walk timidly across the road in front of a calvary.

18th century baroque church of Heilig Kreuz

18th century baroque church of Heilig Kreuz with its blue stucco pillars

We arrive at the 18th century baroque church of Heilig Kreuz, built as an abbey church in 1723 – 1730, just as mass is over which means we can also visit inside. The apse is blue, which is unusual. Pastel pinks are more common.

Riding past wheat and barley fields

Rectangular hay stacks

The ride, which is mostly flat, continues to be very pleasant, following the Tauber and passing in between fields of hay, maize and wheat, with vines on the hillslopes.

Marktplatz in Bad Men

Marktplatz in Bad Mergentheim

Our furthest destination today is Bad Mergentheim which is a spa town. The marktplatz is very similar to many others, with a fountain in the middle and the rathaus at one end flanked by several half-timbered houses.

Our Greek restaurant in Bad Mergentheim

Our Greek restaurant in Bad Mergentheim

We cycle around a bit looking for a restaurant for lunch but there are mostly only cafés and after going to the tourist information office we end up in a Greek restaurant that looks anything but!

The somewhat amateur 1920s event in Bad Mergentheim

The somewhat amateur 1920s event in Bad Mergentheim

We have been told at the tourist office that there is an event at the spa with a 1920s theme. It seems very amateurish and somewhat of a disappointment so we don’t stay long.

Signs of my ancestor Dr Sebastian Kneipp

Signs of my ancestor Dr Sebastian Kneipp

I have seen on the map that there is a walking path called Pfr Sebastian-Kneipp who is one of my ancestors so we set off to find it.

The Italian eis cafe in Lauda-Königs

The Italian eis cafe in Lauda-Königshofen

On our way back to Tauberbishofsheim, we stop off to visit the little baroque church of Lauda-Königshofen where we had our cappuccino. We were not able to visit it earlier because there was a mass. It’s no different from any of the others except for maybe it’s blue draperies above the altar.

The little baroque church in Lauda-Königshofen

The little baroque church in Lauda-Königshofen

After 46 km and 3 hours of cycling and more sun than we expected, we’re glad to relax on our balcony at the hotel. We are still having internet problems though.

Hard-boiled eggs that you can buy in the supermarket

Colourful hard-boiled eggs that you can buy in the supermarket

Next morning, it’s an intermittent fast day and we need to pay a visit to the supermarket. One of the things on my list is hard-boiled eggs, which you cannot buy in France, but which are readily available in Germany. You can recognize them by their bright colours.

Marktplatz in Weikersheim

Marktplatz in Weikersheim

We then drive to the little village of Elpersheim which is just a few kilometers from Weikersheim, the next village mentioned on our Romantic Road map and renowned for its castle, once the residence of the princes of Hohenlohe. We are on our bikes by 11 am and arrive at Weikersheim fifteen minutes later. It is already 23°C and, as you can see in the photo, we are not alone!

One of the contemporary statues in Weikersheim - I love the attitude!

One of the contemporary statues in Weikersheim – I love the attitude!

The marktplatz has a church at one end with gabled houses around it. It also has a number of contemporary statues of young girls which are the second attraction after the castle and very life-like.

Weikersheim Castle from the garden

Weikersheim Castle from the garden

The castle itself is extremely interesting. Unfortunately, there are only guided tours and they are all in German but we are given brochures in French so we won’t get bored. No photos unfortunately. It is one of the rare Renaissance castles that still has its original furniture. The plan is always symmetrical with the male quarters on one side and the female quarters on the other, organized so that you can see right through from one end to the other.

The bedroom with the golden cradle in Weikersheim

The bedroom with the golden cradle in Weikersheim

I take a sneak photo of the most prestigious bedroom with its golden cradle.

The fireplace and ceiling in the Knights' Hall in Weikersheim

The fireplace and ceiling in the Knights’ Hall in Weikersheim

We then go into the Knights’ Hall which is quite overwhelming and most unusual. Completed in around 1600, it is 40 metres long with a painted caisson ceiling to match the three-dimensional stucco figures of hunting trophies.

The poster outside the castle

The poster outside the castle

One of the people in the group starts taking photos and the guide explains in English that he has special permission and that, as a result, we, too, can use our cameras. We don’t hesitate of course!

The gardens at Weikersheim

The gardens at Weikersheim

After the visit, we take photos of the gardens then find a bench in the nearby park to eat our lunch under the linden trees which are very common in Germany.

One of the other sculpturess in the marktplatz at Weikersheim

One of the other sculpturess in the marktplatz at Weikersheim

It has turned very hot and at 2 pm, we are only just beginning our 45 kilometer round trip.

The sundial and bridge at Ta

The sundial and bridge at Tauberrettersheim

At Tauberrettersheim, the next village, there is an old stone bridge with figures of saints and an unusual sundial.

One of the more traditional sundials in

One of the more traditional sundials in Röttingen

But the sundials really begin with the next village of Röttingen which they have become a speciality.

The apartment tower in

The apartment tower in Röttingen

The village also has several towers, one of which has been rehabilitated and turned into holiday flats!

One of the towers in Credlingen

Another town in Röttingen

By the time we get to our destination of Creglingen after a steady though not very steep climb of 4 kilometers, we need a cold drink, but have to content ourselves with a Coca Cola Light. No ice-creams allowed on a fast day!

The wooden altar at

The wooden altar at Herrgott

Creglingen itself doesn’t have much to offer but a couple of kilometers further on, up a steep hill this time, is the church of Herrgott which has a famous 11-metre high early 16th century wooden altar. We decide it’s worth the climb!

Barley fields

Barley fields

As we leave Creglingen, I’m looking forward to 4 kilometers of freewheeling but Jean Michel suggests we take an alternative route. I stupidly agree. So much for coasting down the hill. On the other side of the Tauber it’s up and down all the time.

We have a rest next to the bridge in Tauberrettersheim and are amused by the second hand dealer opposite.

The other side of Weikersheim

The other side of Weikersheim

In Weikersheim, we discover a tower we didn’t see on our way through and take some more photos of the main square.

This sculpture is opposite the castle exit

This sculpture is opposite the castle exit

We are very happy with our two days of cycling and have now completed the main sights along the Romantic Road. We would have liked to visit more on our bikes, but the weather did not permit – it’s no fun cycling when it’s cold and rainy.

The tourist officde bike map

The tourist officde bike map (We used Bikeline as well)

Tomorrow, we’re moving to the Neckar Valley, starting with Rottenburg am Necker which is about 170 km southwest of Tauberbishofsheim. So stay with us on our last week of cycling in Germany.

The Romantic Road Map on the tourist brochure

The Romantic Road Map on the tourist brochure

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Cycling along the Romantic Road in Germany #7 – Würzburg

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We’re on our way to Würzburg, at the northern tip of the Romantic Road, known for its wine and the former residence of the Würzburg prince-bishops, Unesco world cultural heritage site and one of the most important baroque palaces in Europe. The weather doesn’t look too bad but it’s only 15°C so we don’t know whether we will cycle or not. I am still feeling a little disgruntled after my poor night’s sleep.

The façade of the Residenz

The façade of the Residenz

We ask the GPS to take us to the Residenz parkplatz and we’ll take it from there. We find it’s always best to visit popular monuments in the morning before they get too crowded. I suggest we take our photos of the façade after our visit because the sun is on the wrong side. We join the queue to visit the inside. It goes quickly and we are soon in the cloak room putting our phones and cameras in a locker as they are not allowed. We later see many people blatantly taking photos  which we find surprising.

The fresco by Tiepolo, said to be the largest in the world

The fresco by Tiepolo, said to be the largest in the world

Admittedly, it is very frustrating not to be able to use our cameras. The Würzburg Residence is quite sumptuous, with the world’s largest fresco by Tiepolo, an amazing mirror cabinet and various other Baroque and rococo rooms. I’m including two photos from our guide book and hope the authors won’t mind.

The Hall of Mirrors in the Residenz

The Hall of Mirrors in the Residenz

When we get to the end of the visit, Jean Michel says there are still some rooms we haven’t seen but we don’t know where there are. Then we see some people being let through a door which is closed after them. We ask the man who opened the door if we can go too. He explains that the rooms are only open during the week-ends to groups. However, if we wait for the next “house group”, we can go in with them. He goes off to find where they are up to and tells us they will be along in about 15 minutes.

The photo I managed to take in the Garten

The photo I managed to take in the Gartensaal

We join the group which has a German guide with a very loud, clear, grating voice and spends more than 5 minutes in each of the six rooms. We don’t understand a word, of course, but at least we have time to examine the rooms in detail. The cabinet of mirrors is especially intricate. We find it’s all terribly over the top but are glad to have seen it all.

We collect our belongings and I take a quick photo of the Gartensaal on the ground floor with its beautiful frescoes by Bossi. An official immediately calls out to me not to take photos. I can’t believe it. Not a word was said to the photographers upstairs!

The Residenz from the gardens

The Residenz from the gardens

After a quick look around the gardens (there is a wedding in the baroque chapel so we can’t go in), we set off to visit the town.

Dom Saint Killian

Dom Saint Killian

It’s quite disconcerting as there doesn’t seem to be a proper centre which can be explained by the fact that Würzburg was very severely bombed during the war.

Falkenhaus on Marktplatz

Falkenhaus on Marktplatz

There are a few historical buildings that has been restored, such as the Dom Saint Killian, Falkenhaus and Marienkapelle, but otherwise, most of the buildings are modern.

Marienkapelle on Marktpatz

Marienkapelle on Marktpatz

We arrive at Marktplatz which has lots of bratwurst (sausage) and chip stalls but we’d like a real meal. At Juliusspital a little further on, there is a restaurant in a large tree-shaded courtyard but it’s a little more sophisticated than what we are looking for. Just outside is a small shady Weingarten attached to a Weingut (cellar door), called Bürgerspital, which has homemade wild boar bratwurst so we have that with an excellent dry gewurztraminer. We are in the middle of a wine region, after all.

Enjoying a glass of gewurztraminer in the Weingut

Enjoying a glass of gewurztraminer in the Bürgerspital Weingut with the wine in the foreground

The gewurztraminer comes in a pretty bottle so we buy two to take home to Blois. We later learn that it is the typical bottle of the Würzburg area. As we go back through the marktplatz we see there is a wine tasting stall. We find out how it works – you pay 5 euro to rent a glass and can taste as many wines as you want. Among the whites, we try sylvaner, riesling, weissburgunder (pinot blanc), grauerbungunder (pinot griggio), muscatel and muller-thurgau, all German. Among the reds, we try saint-laurent and maréchal foch (Swiss) and lagrein (Italian from the south Tyrol). In case you are worrying, we do spit most of it out, but the fumes still go to your head.

Winetasting at a temporary stall

Winetasting at a temporary stall

Enough wine-growers speak English or French for us to converse with them. No wine can be bought on-site. You can either order it on-line or visit the vineyard which makes the wine-tasting a very different event from those we have been to in France. When we give the glasses back, we are refunded 10 euro!

Modern rococo in the Neumünster cathedral

Modern take on rococo in the Neumünster cathedral

We visit a couple more baroque churches on the way back to the Residenz to visit the chapel now that the wedding is over. This time, there is no restriction on photos!

The Residenz chapel

The Residenz chapel

By now, the clouds have come over well and truly and the temperature is not high enough for comfortable cycling – or for taken a decent photo of the Residenz – so we drive back to Tauberbishofsheim where we now have a more comfortable room but I have to sit on the steps leading up to the second floor halfway down the corridor to use the Internet.

The "garden" view from our terrace. Nothing wonderful but it's better than being inside a room.

The “garden” view from our terrace. Nothing wonderful but it’s better than being inside a room.

After a picnic dinner on our terrace we go back to our favourite eis café and the helpful waiter greets us from afar with a hearty “Bonsoir”! Tomorrow, we are getting back on our bikes, come what may.

The Romantic Road Map on the tourist brochure

The Romantic Road Map on the tourist brochure

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Cycling along the Romantic Road in Germany #6 – Rothenburg am der Tauber and Tauberbishofsheim

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We have three memories of our visit to Rothenburg am der Tauber in 1999. We bought two beautiful handmade enamelled champagne glasses; we discovered Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas shop; and we had an unforgettable chanterelle salad in a restaurant with a romantic flower garden.

Klingen Bastion in Rothenburg

Klingen Bastion in Rothenburg

We arrive in Rothenburg by car at 11.30 for a lunch stop as it is still too cold to be cycling. We immediately look for a parking lot outside the ramparts (we have now learnt it is pointless to go ito the centre) and pay for 3 hours, which seems plenty. There don’t seem to be too many people.

Markt Platz in Rothenburg

Markt Platz in Rothenburg

Rothenburg is a beautifully preserved mediaeval town with much larger public buildings than Dinkelsbühl. There are quite a lot of tourists but fewer than I expected.

The oldy worldy car outside Käthe Wohlfahrt

The oldy worldy car outside Käthe Wohlfahrt

We soon find Kathe Wolfhart’s shop – there is a large oldy-worldy vehicle parked outside – then head for the tourist office to get a map. There are two women in the tourist office: one is most unfriendly and the other is super-friendly, probably because she has to make up for her colleague! We buy a book in French on the Romantic Road that we regret not buying earlier, but this is the first time we have seen it.

Inside the second store

Inside the second store

After the tourist office, we go to Käthe Wohlfahrt’s first shop (opposite the oldy-worldly vehicle) and walk out again without buying anything. I even wonder how I could have been so enthusiastic the first time.

Rows and rows of decorations

Rows and rows of decorations

Then we go into the second shop and the magic starts working! This is what I remember. There are decorations of every type and colour, every material and texture. Jean Michel picks up a shopping basket. It’s hard to resist, I have to admit. They pack the decorations carefully so they won’t break and we walk out with a large bag!

The surrounding countryside from the ramparts

The surrounding countryside from the ramparts

Jean Michel is very worried however. Apart from Käthe Wohlfahrt’s shop, he has no memory of Rothenburg at all. I am reassured! I don’t remember it either, but that is much more usual. We don’t even remember the view from the ramparts.

A painted oriel in Rothenburg

A painted oriel in Rothenburg

It’s now 1 pm and we are starting to get hungry. “Let’s find the restaurant with the flower garden”, says Jean Michel. We still haven’t found it about a half an hour later but we see a place called Gasthaus Butz in a quiet little square in the Jewish quarter that has fresh pfiffelingen (chanterelle mushrooms).  We console ourselves by saying that maybe we would have been disappointed with our previous restaurant even if we’d found it! The waitress speaks good English and gives us an English menu. We order our pfiffelingen with Wiener Schnitzel for me and knuckle of pork for Jean Michel.

Gasthaus Butz where we have lunch

Gasthaus Butz where we have lunch

By the time we finish our lunch it’s 2 pm and we only have a ½ hour left on our parking ticket so we take a different route back to the car. We are surprised at how many people are now thronging the streets. We would have like to visit the water mill quarter but can only do so on foot and have had enough sightseeing for one day.

After lunch, the main square is considerably more crowded

After lunch, the main square is considerably more crowded

We arrive in Tauberbishofsheim (the home of the bishops of the Tauber) at 3 pm and go straight to our hotel, Badischer Hof. I ring the bell and am eventually answered in German. I say who I am and wait. A very grumpy man eventually arrives. He gives us the key to number 35. We are supposed to have a large, airy “superior” room with a terrace and wifi. Only the wifi doesn’t work. We go back to reception and the even grumpier man explains that when a lot of people are using the internet, there is no connection. I have doubts.

The main square in Tauberbishofsheim, on the right of the rathaus

The main square in Tauberbishofsheim, on the right of the rathaus

He says the hotel is full and he doesn’t have any other rooms. OK, we’ll have to find another hotel then, I say, knowing that there is nothing left in the area on booking.com. He then suggests a room without a terrace, but good Internet. We check it out. It’s smaller but looks OK. We take it.

The rathaus in Tauberbishofsheim

The rathaus in Tauberbishofsheim

After unpacking our things, we go to explore the little town and pick up some information from the tourist office. There is roadwork on the way but once we get into the centre, we find it quite attractive. The tourist office is closed of course but there are some free brochures in the entrance.

The main square in Tauberbishofsheim, on the right of the rathaus

The main square in Tauberbishofsheim, on the right of the rathaus

We need some fruit, vegetables and cheese for dinner so we look for a supermarket. Nothing. So I ask a waiter. He tells us there are five supermarkets, all outside the town. What a nuisance. We’ll have to take the car. As we are leaving however, I spy a “Natura” sign which turns out to indicate an organic supermarket. That is fine by us!

he Schlosshof in Tauberbishofsheim

The Schlosshof in Tauberbishofsheim

Back in our hotel room, we realise that our room gives onto the main street and that, despite the double glazing, it is very noisy. What I don’t realise until we go to bed is that there is street lighting all night and the curtains are very thin. At no time during the night is the room dark. Also, the floor cracks and the person above us seems to walk around the room half the night.

I wake up totally unrested and determined to ask for another room. I have checked booking.com and there is nothing else available in the area within our budget, not surprising in a weekend in July. Breakfast is very disappointing with no eggs in sight. When the grumpy man asks us what we want to drink (tea or coffee), I ask for eggs, but am not sure if he has understood. He eventually brings us two hard-boiled eggs but I see that the Spanish people at the next table have fried eggs. Tomorrow, I’m asking for spiegel ei.

The other side of Schlosshof

The other side of Schlosshof

When I go to reception, there is a much friendlier lady with a large onion in her hand. I explain my problem and she says she will see what we can do. In the end, as there is nothing else available, we opt to go back to the room with the balcony overlooking the garden because it’s away from the street, and go down into the reception area when we need to use wifi.

Tauberbishofsheim at night

Tauberbishofsheim at night

The weather seems to be improving so we set off to Würzburg, on the northern end of the Romantic Road, in the hope that we might be able to do some cycling.

The Romantic Road Map on the tourist brochure

The Romantic Road Map on the tourist brochure

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Cycling along the Romantic Road in Germany 5#– Nordlingen, Wallerstein, Dinkelsbühl and Feuchtwangen

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We arrive in Dinkelsbühl just as the sun comes out after very heavy rain following our visit to Augsburg and are absolutely delighted at our choice of a place to stay for 4 nights. Everywhere we look inside this walled city is a delight – except the parking! We find the Romantica Hotel Blauer Hecht (Blue Pike, hardly very romantic) and Jean Michel double parks outside while I get the key. We unload the car and park just outside the town gates, where there are several free car parks, only ten minutes away. We cycle back on our bikes and leave them in the hotel’s bike room.

Arriving in Dinkelsbühl - what a pity cars haven't been banned from the centre!

Arriving in Dinkelsbühl – what a pity cars haven’t been banned from the centre!

Jean Michel is initially not very happy with our room on the second floor, which he says is too dark, but we can’t change it without paying the first night. This is very unlike him – I am usually the one who complains about hotel rooms. However, it’s spacious and has a table and chairs, armchair and sofa. It also has an excellent breakfast, the beds are comfortable and the floors don’t crack too much.

Children practising for the pageant

Children practising for the pageant

We are drawn into the street by activity and music outside our window. We learn that it is a practice run for the 10-day Children’s Festival starting on Friday, the day we are leaving. During the 30 Years War (1618 – 1648), many areas of Germany were destroyed, while the medieval city of Dinkelsbühl was spared because the children of Dinkelsbühl petitioned the Swedish colonel to grant them freedom. For the past 100 years or so Dinkelsbühl has celebrated the event with a festival during which the entire story is re-enacted.

On the parade ground

On the parade ground

While we are having a drink in the main square, we see another rehearsal with a child of about 8 or 9 on a horse obviously reciting a poem and calling out instructions to the other children around him. It must be quite spectacular when they are in costume but we are not sorry to be leaving before the festivities. I can imagine the crowds!

Lunch with the locals

Lunch with the locals

Next day is a true R&R day with no cycling at all. Jean Michel catches up with our travel journal and me with my blog. We have lunch with the locals – or so Jean Michel is convinced – at Zur Sonne in the Weinmarkt, tasting some local Franconian dishes – sausages and ravioli. Somehow, the rest of the day slips away. In the evening, we hear more practicing which we watch from our window.

A typical row of houses in Dinkelsbühl

A typical row of houses in Dinkelsbühl

The following morning we check the weather report which does not look very promising. After temperatures of 30°C in Peiting, we won’t even top 20°C for the next few days. Rain is also predicted. We decide to cycle while we can and set out for the little town of Feuchtwangen after first riding around the ramparts of Dinkelsbühl.

05_rothenburg_tower

There are a total of 16 towers and we photograph them all. It really is the most delightful little town. I can fully understand why they keep up the children’s pageant every year. It would be very hard not to be attached to the history of this little gem of a town.

A former fish farm on the road out of Dinkels

A former fish farm on the road out of Dinkels

From Dinkelsbühl to Schopfloch, after going past what we assume were once fish farms, we constantly follow a deviation that takes us up hill and down dale with alarming frequency.

The Greek resstaurant in Shopfloch where we had our cappuccino

The Greek resstaurant in Lehengütingen where we have our cappuccino

We climb another hill up to Lehengütingen and I am getting desperate for a cappuccino. We only see a Greek restaurant. In Germany, these are second only to Italian restaurants in number. It doesn’t say “café” so I ask inside if a cappuccino is possible. A man talking on a cell phone nods, takes my order, makes the cappuccinos which are really excellent, brings them out with one hand and then gets the sugar, without stopping his conversation!

The main square in Feuchtwangen

The main square in Feuchtwangen

Feuchtwangen proves to be a little town with a pleasant square and a bike shop where I at last manage to buy a decent bike stand.

The cloister in Feuchtwangen that is now a childrens' theatre

The cloister in Feuchtwangen that is now a childrens’ theatre

We visit the other sights, which mainly consist of a very sober evangelical church and a cloister that has been converted into a children’s theatre from what we can see.

Having lunch at Gasthaus zur Sonne hoping it won't rain

Having lunch at Gasthaus zur Sonne hoping it won’t rain

Our choice of lunch spot goes to Gasthaus sur Sonne (which roughly means sunny guesthouse) as the sky is getting increasingly overcast. We order schweineschnitzel as a pork variant of wiener schnitzel and are surprised by the quantity. I should have ordered the kleine version.

Riding home in the rain

Riding home in the rain

The ride home takes us through rain, wind and sun. I put on my rain cape once but Jean Michel resists. By the time we get back, after cycling 32 kilometers and for 2 ½ hours, we are dry again thanks to our super-fast-drying sports clothes.

The clouds get darker

The clouds get darker

It is a depressing 10°C when we leave the hotel next day which excludes cycling. We are going to Nordlingen, which is 30 kilometers to the south, by car. We’re even wearing jeans, trainers and sweat shirts for the first time since we left Blois two weeks ago.

Gardens next to the ramparts in Nordlingen

Gardens next to the ramparts in Nordlingen

When we get to Nordlingen, we know why we prefer to cycle into tourist towns. Traffic and parking are always a problem especially when there are ramparts. We soon leave the centre and find free parking outside the walls. Nordlingen is located in the middle of a meteorite crater and is completely surrounded by ramparts that you can walk right around.

The corn storehouse built at the beginning of th 16th century, now used to contain everything needed for the childrens' pagent

The corn storehouse built at the beginning of th 16th century, now used to contain everything needed for the childrens’ pagent

We walk into the centre to the tourist office as usual, but I am cold so we warm up with some coffee in an Italian restaurant first. After that, we follow the very well signposted visit of the city which includes the Rathaus, the tanners’ district, several towers and various granaries. I find it much more interesting than Augsburg.

The town hall with its Renaissance staircase in Nordlingen

The town hall in Nordlingen with its Renaissance staircase 

Houses built against the ramparts in Nordlingen

Houses built against the ramparts in Nordlingen

On the way home, we stop off at Wallerstein with its Plague Monument just as the sun comes out. As there is nothing else to see, we leave almost immediately.

The plague monument in

The plague monument in Wallerstein

One of my most faithful blog readers, Barbara, has mentioned the cemetery in Segringen just outside Dinkelsbühl. We follow a sign that says Historischer Friedhof so I quickly consult my iPhone dictionary. Yes, Friedhof means cemetery. What we see in the Segringen Evangelical Lutheran cemetery is strange to us. All the tombs are exactly the same, with black and gold crosses. The person’s name, date of birth and death, profession and residence are inscribed on one side and what appears to be a religious quotation on the other. None of the tombs seem to be earlier than 1996.

The historical cemetery in Dxxx

The historical cemetery in Segringen

I later learn, thanks to Google translate because no explanations are available in either French or English, that the cemetery probably dates back to the early 1900s or perhaps mid-19th century. There are no family tombs and people are buried in sequential order; the current resting period is 20 years, which explains why the graves are all so recent.

Hotel zur Koppen

Hotel zur Koppen in Dinkelsbühl

When we get back to Dinkelsbühl, the sun is shining and it’s much warmer – 16°C – so we complete the official tour of the little town suggested by the tourist office (which is different in the French and English brochures) and discover there are quite a lot of things we haven’t seen. We have spent a very pleasant three days here and grown very fond of what art historians consider to be one of Germany’s best-preserved mediaeval towns.

The almshouse founded in 1280 - you can see how well it lends itself to historical re-enactments.

The almshouse founded in 1280 – you can see how well the area lends itself to historical re-enactments.

Tomorrow we’re going further north along the Romantic Road to stay in Tauberbischofsheim and will be stopping off to visit Rothenburg on the way. The weather is not brilliant – cloudy especially in the morning with a maximum of 19°C so I doubt we’ll be doing any cycling. After that, it’s supposed to improve. Let’s hope so!

The Romantic Road Map on the tourist brochure

The Romantic Road Map on the tourist brochure

The Bikeline cycling maps we used

The Bikeline cycling maps we used

The second map

The second map

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Cycling along the Romantic Road in Bavaria # 4 – Augsburg

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Now that we’ve decided to follow the Romantic Road from beginning to end, we’re moving further north and staying for 4 nights in Dinkelsbühl. On the way, we stop off for lunch at Augsburg. We park outside the historical centre so we can cycle into the city which proves to be a good plan. We easily find free parking in Lützowstrasse on the other side of the Lech in the north east. That way we can follow the red dotted line on the map at the top and follow it south and then east.

Part of the old town walls

Part of the old town walls

Our first stop, as always, is the tourist office to get a map and list of places of interest. We learn there are three fountains on Maximilian strees, also known as the Imperial Road, erected in about 1600. Unfortunately, the Rathaus (Town Hall) is being renovated but the sumptuous Gold Room, restored in 1985, is open and we are the only visitors.

Mercury Fountain

Mercury Fountain

Ceiling of the Golden Hall in Augsburg

Ceiling of the Golden Hall in Augsburg

One of the doors in the Golden Hall

One of the doors in the Golden Hall

The cathedral and first impression of the historical centre of Augsburg

The cathedral and first impression of the historical centre of Augsburg

We have a picnic lunch in the cathedral square (it’s an intermittent fast day) and visit the Romanesque crypt and the oldest series of stained glass windows in the world.

Wall painting in the Cathedral in Augsburg

Wall painting in the Cathedral in Augsburg

We have coffee just opposite the second fountain, that of Mercury.

Mercury Fountain

Mercury Fountain

Next on our list is the beautiful Renaissance Damenhof, part of the Fugger family’s houses and business premises built from 1512 to 1515. The courtyard with its Tuscan columns supporting arcades and painted arches, was a family garden for the female members of the family.  Today it contains a very romantic café. What a pity we didn’t know about it ten minutes earlier!

Italian Renaissance Dammenhof

Italian Renaissance Dammenhof, now a café and restaurant

We then see the third fountain, that of Hercules.

Hercules Fountain

Hercules Fountain

The two churches of St Ulrich and Saint Afra are built up against each other.

Churches of Saint Ulrich and Saint Afra

Churches of Saint Ulrich and Saint Afra

The late gothic Catholic basilica of St Ulrich is a combination of Renaissance and baroque.

Inside the catholic church of Saint Ulrich

The catholic church of Saint Ulrich

The protestant church of St Ulrich with its beautiful stucco ceilings, is most unusual.

The protestant church of Saint Ulrich

The protestant church of Saint Ulrich

On the way out, we go by the Fuggerei, 67 houses built for the Catholic poor by Jacob Fugger. The annual rent is less than a euro.

The Fuggerei

The Fuggerei

Next stop: the beautifully preserved mediaeval village of Dinkelsbühl.

The bike route we followed (from Bikeline maps)

The bike route we followed (from Bikeline maps)

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Cycling on the Romantic Road in Bavaria #3 Peiting to Diessen

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We set out early at 10.15 am on Sunday and see several locals in their Bavarian traditional clothing. We go to the front of the church hoping to see more of them but we’re too late! Today we are cycling to Diessen and coming back by train. It’s not exactly on the Romantic Road but it’s in the general area. Along the way, we notice several level crossings with no barriers whatsoever! It reminds me of a very scary experience a few years ago.

01_level_crossing

Andrea at the tourist office in Peiting suggested today’s route and said it was downhill all the way which is not quite true for the first 10 kilometers. We seem to do nothing but go up and down. We stop in Peissenburg at an Italian Eis Café for a cappuccino after riding for about 1 ½ hours.

Sunbathers on the Ammersee

Sunbathers on the Ammersee

After that, the descent begins and for the rest of the day, it really is mostly downhill. We start following the Ammer River and often see small groups of sunbathers in the most unlikely spots.

The baroque church in Raising

The baroque church in Wilheim

At Weilhelm, we visit another baroque church with a beautiful white stucco ceiling, much more sober than the recent churches we’ve been to.

The blue umbrellas on the left belong to the pizzeria

The blue umbrellas on the left belong to the pizzeria

We have decided not to be too fussy about where to have lunch today and end up eating in a pizzeria at the bottom of a modern apartment building. At least I can read what is on the menu! These German words all stuck together are a bit of a problem. It is excessively hot , about 30°C, and the cold Lambrusco is very welcome. We order entrecôte which turns out to be fillet steak.

Storks along the train tracks

Storks along the train tracks

We are back on our bikes by 2.30 pm. Unfortunately we keep getting lost, not because of the lack of signposting, or the wine for that matter, but because there are so many different choices! We follow the train tracks for a while which is reassuring.

The telecommunications station in Raisting

The telecommunications station in Raisting

We pass Raisting which has one of the largest telecommunication stations in the area.

The painted ceiling and organ in Wilheim

The painted ceiling and organ in the pilgrimage church of Saint Johann in Wilheim

The village of Raisting also has a rococo church with sumptuous ceiling paintings.

On the edge of the Ammersee in Diessen

On the edge of the Ammersee in Diessen

At Diessen am Ammersee, we find ourselves an Eis Café on the edge of the lake and have a welcome ice-cream. Note to self: I need to find out how to say “plain ice-cream with nothing on it”. Unless it’s in a cone, they seem to add nuts and syrup and all sorts of other things I don’t like.

Jean Michel examining the ticket machine in Diessen

Jean Michel examining the ticket machine in Diessen

We go past the train station and think it might be wise to buy our tickets ahead of time. We are told there is an automatic ticket machine in the train but we’re not taking any chances. There is only one train every hour.

One of the painted houses in Diessen

One of the painted houses in Diessen – I wish I could read what is written!

We start cycling up a hill past a number of beautifully painted houses so I spare my knees and walk up so I can admire them better. Jean Michel rides up and misses the paintings.

The outside of the Marienmünster cathedral in Diessen

The Marienmünster cathedral in Diessen

At the top is the beautiful Marienmünster cathedral with a large expanse of grass in front and no cars which makes it easy to photograph without too much distortion.

The beautiful painted ceiling of Marienmünster in Diessen

The beautiful painted ceiling of Marienmünster in Diessen

The inside is particularly beautiful and not as overdone as some of the rococo and baroque churches we have seen.

The scenery from the train on the way home

The scenery from the train on the way home

We wait for the train for 15 minutes in the hot sun and are glad when it arrives – it’s air-conditioned. We attach our bikes with the straps provided and enjoy the 45 minute journey back to Peiting. For once, the windows are clean enough to take photos!

An interesting group of statues in Peiting

An interesting group of statues in Peiting

We’ve clocked up 52 kilometers and 4 hours by the time we get back to our Alpenhotel in Peiting at 7 pm. Another excellent day of cycling. Tomorrow we’re moving further north along the Romantic Road to Dinkelbühl.

Our route from Peiting to Dissen (Bayerische Seen bike map adfc)

Our route from Peiting to Dissen (Bayerische Seen bike map adfc)

The Romantic Road Mp on the tourist brochure

The Romantic Road Mp on the tourist brochure

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Cycling on the Romantic Road in Bavaria #2 – Lechbruck to Fussen via Neuschwanstein Castle

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We start off on our day’s cycling on the Romantic Road in Bavaria by driving 15 minutes to Lechbruck am See and the first views of a little turquoise lake are beautiful.

Starting out from Lechbruck

Starting out from Lechbruck

Our route then takes us along the Forggensee and past some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, the photos do not do it justice. The sky is slightly overcast so it’s not too hot which makes the many hills easier!

First views of Forggensee

First views of Forggensee

At one stage we can see both the Illasbergsee and Forggensee at the same time.

And the pleasure continues

And the pleasure continues

We stop for coffee along with many other cyclists on the rise of a hill.

The cycle path along the Forggansee

The cycle path along the Forggansee

After a while we sadly quit the lake but it’s more restful for our knees. As usual the route is well signposted.

Well-signposted road for both cyclists and trekkers

Well-signposted road for both cyclists and trekkers

The scenery then becomes meadows with the Bavarian Alps in the background as we approach Schwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle, the Romanesque Revival palace built by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and homage to Richard Wagner. Since his death in 1886, it has attracted more than 61 million, with 6,000 per day in summer every year.

Neuschwanstein castle barely visible in the background

Neuschwanstein castle barely visible in the background

The last time we were here, we didn’t visit it but have decided to do so today. However we are discouraged by the milling crowds and long queue at the ticket office. Also, it’s a long climb up to the castle and not really do-able by bike.

Building on the lake at Schwangau

Histsorical building on the lake at Schwangau near Neuschwanstein Castle

Instead, we cycle along one side of the little lake up to the first viewing point, which is enough for me, then turn back and continue on to Fussen.

View of the lake at Schwangau

View of the lake at Schwangau

Last time we were in Fussen, we only saw the tourist office, but this time we discover a pretty little town with many beautifully decorated houses.

The main street in Fussen

The main street in Fussen

It’s 2.30 pm and we think we should have some lunch but would like to find a place on the river. We have no luck so keep riding up the other side of the Forggensee in the direction of Lechbruck. The weather is distinctly improving. What a pity we didn’t have blue skies and sun in the morning!

The lake in Fussen

The Lech in Fussen

There is a landing stage for cruise boats not far out of Fussen but we don’t like the look of the restaurants. Also we can’t take our bikes.

A cruise ship near Fussen

A cruise ship near Fussen

At Dietringen – it’s now 3.45 pm – we find an Eiscafe but all the tables are in the full sun, which is now very strong. There is also a lot of wind and the owner is afraid of opening the sunshades so we keep cycling.

A cyclist's dream!

A cyclist’s dream!

We push on towards Rosshaupten and on the way, I spy a sort of wooden armchair with a view so we have water and biscuits instead of lunch!

The sort of gasthaus we like with a shady biergarten

The sort of gasthaus we like with a shady biergarten

At 4.30 pm, we find a biergarten to our liking called Landgasthof Schwägele but it’s too late for lunch and too early for dinner, even if the Germans dine very early. We have a restorative glass of weiss wein instead. Fortunately there is only one steep hill during the remaining 7 kilometers.

The last few kilometers and much flatter

The last few kilometers are much flatter

At 6 pm, after 5 hours of cycling and 52 kilometers, we are back in Lechbruck, just in time to go home, have a shower and go out to dinner. We are planning on going to nearby Schongau (not to be confused with Schwangau), which is too steep to visit by bike.

One of the gates in Schongau

One of the gates in Schongau

What a disappointment! Apart from a promising gate in the old fortified wall and a square with a few historical houses around it, there are nothing but pizzerias and snack bars.

The main platz in Schongau

The main platz in Schongau

We drive a half an hour back to Landgasthof Schwägele and have a delicious wiener schnitzel instead. Yesterday, when we visited Wies, and today, with its magnificent scenery on the Forggensee, are among our best days of cycling ever, along with the S-bend in Austria.

Our cycle route from Lechbruck to Fussen (Bayerische Seen map by adfc)

Our cycle route from Lechbruck to Fussen (Bayerische Seen map by adfc)

The Romantic Road Mp on the tourist brochure

The Romantic Road Mp on the tourist brochure

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Posted in Cycling, Germany, Travelling | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments