It’s 1999 and we are on our first road trip to Germany. We get to Fussen, at the bottom of the Romantic Road in Bavaria and go to the tourist office to find a place to stay. We don’t have wifi or iPhones or anything like that. There are zillions of people milling around and not a room to be had in the entire town, so we leave. It is now early evening.
As we are driving along wondering how far we might have to go to get a bed, I see a sign saying “Sport Hotel Sonnenbichl”. We turn off and arrive in front of a very long hotel (it turns out to have an indoor swimming pool) and get the last room available for two nights. It’s rather Spartan and the beds are hard but it has a balcony with an incredible view of the mountains, the staff are friendly and helpful and the breakfast is excellent. I learn to say spiegelei which means fried egg.
Next day we put on our walking shoes and set off for a place called Wies. We climb up and up through stunning scenery. I have terrible blisters and have to keep stopping to pierce them. Cyclists and other hikers walk past us from time to time and call out Grüss Got. We soon start saying it too. At the end of a painful 10 kilometers, I am feeling very frazzled.
Just in front of us, on top of a hill, is a white church that doesn’t look anything special.
I limp through the door and nearly cry out in amazement. It is our first taste of rococo and baroque churches and it quite astounding. Every moment of pain seems worth it and the return journey doesn’t seem nearly as bad. Every church we have seen since has been compared with Wieskirche!
You’ve guess it – we’re going back!