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 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.
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 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.
We enjoy our cappuccino but aren’t hungry enough for cake. By now it must be about 28°C.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The rathaus with its oriel window is particularly attractive.
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.
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!
We see gondola-like boats on the river which apparently are the local tourist attraction.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
We’re back at our hotel by 4 pm, having cycled 42 km in 3 hours 20 minutes in near-perfect weather.
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.