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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I take a sneak photo of the most prestigious bedroom with its golden cradle.
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.
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!
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.
It has turned very hot and at 2 pm, we are only just beginning our 45 kilometer round trip.
At Tauberrettersheim, the next village, there is an old stone bridge with figures of saints and an unusual sundial.
But the sundials really begin with the next village of Röttingen which they have become a speciality.
The village also has several towers, one of which has been rehabilitated and turned into holiday flats!
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!
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!
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.
In Weikersheim, we discover a tower we didn’t see on our way through and take some more photos of the main square.
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.
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.