12th September – 19th September
A short drive to Burghausen after a late start had us arriving just before lunch. We are wild camping in a car park near the tourist information centre which has a lovely park around it and lots of plane trees. We had our lunch before taking a short walk into town, then we headed down to the entrance to the Burghaus Burg (castle) which is the longest castle in the world (1051m). We got all of the info with regards to opening times for Sunday which is when we will visit as it needs a good half day to explore the castle and the old town. Had a lazy afternoon sitting in the park.
We were at the gate of the castle right on opening time at 9 am. As the castle is so long, it is split into 6 sections with the first section being the castle itself which houses a museum that provides some of the history along with a lot of biblical paintings and tapestries. The remainder of the grounds housed ammunition towers, torture towers, jails, there was even a brewery. The castle is the highest point in Burghausen and there were several lookouts which gave views to the lake on one side and the river Salzach on the other which is the border with Austria. We did a tour of the museum which also had a couple of rooms set up as they would have been in the olden days. From there we walked down to the old town and as it is Sunday, as with all shops in Germany the only places open were cafes and pubs. A very nice Main Street with some unusual shops. We stopped at the Augustiner Bierhall for some refreshments and had a nice talk with an older German couple who have travelled extensively, including Australia which they loved, Sydney in particular. Next stop was the lake, which was fenced off at one end and was a user pay swimming area. We have found this quite common in Germany where the bigger lakes have shower/toilet facilities, as well as paddle boats, canoes etc and you can only get in once you have paid your €2. You could get in for a swim at other locations around the lake although there were signs that said it was not allowed. Back home and the clouds have started rolling in, so not sure what the weather will be like tomorrow.
More sightseeing just outside of Burghausen. First stop was Marienberg a pilgrimage church which is referred to as the “Pearl of the Salzach Valley” due to the lavishness of the interior which is in baroque style. It is hard to know where to look first, there was so much to see. Next stop was the Raitenhaslach Abbey. It is a huge complex with not only the abbey, there are festival rooms, guest houses for visiting dignitaries and even a school. A lot of the grounds and buildings were being renovated so the only one we saw was the abbey. Also in baroque style and again there was so much to look at, I wonder how the parishioners kept their mind on their prayers. Back to Burghausen and we had another walk down to the old town and back before the rain set in.
A 55km journey saw us arriving at Allianz Arena, Munich, home of the Bayern Munich football team and our home for the next 4 or 5 nights. What a set up they have for Motorhomes. All of the dumping/filling facilities, two toilets, free electricity all for €15 per night and 9 kms out of Munich with a train station on the other side of the arena. We weren’t planning on coming to Munich just yet, however the attraction of Oktoberfest helped with the decision for a 100km detour! There are currently 10 Motorhomes and 1 caravan here however as Saturday gets closer, which is the start of Oktoberfest I think it will fill up. The building itself is huge as you would expect and the shell of the arena is lit up tonight in red. We had a walk around the outside and managed to get a peek at the ground inside as well. There is a huge Bayern Munich shop selling all sorts of paraphernalia as you would expect. We also had a walk to the train station and bought a three day train ticket as there is a bit we want to see in Munich, one of our favourite cities.
We rode our bikes to the train station and then hopped on a train to Marienplatz. After riding a very steep escalator, we got out at the other end to see the Ratskeller, one of my favourite buildings in Munich.
We had a good walk around town before heading out to the Englischer gaten (English garden) which is a bigger park than Hyde Park. There is a river that runs through it and as there was a lot of water coming through, it formed a never ending wave which was being ridden by surfboard riders of all ages, was great to see. We continued walking to the Chinesischer Turm (a Chinese pagoda with a huge Biergarten) which when we were here last, as with all of the places we visited then, was under a cover of snow. Not so this time with all of the garden areas green and in full bloom. Sadly the other thing in full bloom were the nudists on the grass getting a bit of sunshine! We had heard of this before, the office workers getting some sun during their lunch break, but we were there at 11 o’clock! Who would have thought that the conservative Germans would be so brazen. Outside the Hofbräuhaus the brewery horses were all dressed up in their finery with the beer cart and a few of the staff members drinking big pints of beer. We had lunch here before heading home as it looked like a storm was about to hit. Still waiting!
Back on the bikes and train and into Munich for a day of culture. We visited the Munich Residence which houses the residence museum, the treasury and the Cuvillies theatre. First stop was the treasury which displays a collection of priceless enamel, rock crystal and ivory work, crowns and royal insignia and goldsmith work from nine centuries all belonging to the Wittelsbach dynasty. As dukes, electors and finally kings, the Wittelsbachs developed the residence from a small moated castle to an extensive complex built around 10 courtyards. For four centuries the residence was the seat of government and residence of the Wittelsbachs. The rooms that are open to the public included the apartments in which the family lived as well as guest rooms, chapel rooms, meeting rooms etc. The majority of the building was destroyed in WWII and has been rebuilt as close to the original as possible and contains valuable furniture, paintings, sculptures, bronze work, clocks and tapestries. We spent about four hours wandering the halls and imagining what life would have been like. Munich was very busy today with what seemed like a lot more visitors than yesterday. Oktoberfest starts tomorrow, could that be why?
Back into Munich this morning to find a suitable spot to watch the Oktoberfest parade. Lots of bands playing and horse drawn floats with the horses all dressed up that represent the breweries that are to take part. Only beer conforming to the Reinheitsgebot, and brewed within the city limits of Munich can be served at the Munich Oktoberfest. Beers meeting these criteria are designated Oktoberfest Beer. There are six in total, with the most famous being Paulaner. The parade went for about an hour and from there most of the crowd headed to the 42 hectare Theresienwiese, an area just outside of Munich and home to the 17 day festival. Not too dissimilar to our Royal Show with sideshow alley full of very scary rides, lots of booths selling all types of wurst, frites, nuts etc. The only obvious difference apart from the sheer size is the beer tents. We did manage to get into one that was bursting at the seams with people, a lot dressed in traditional dress, however we were not able to order beer as we didn’t have a seat! Oh well, we got to see what we wanted, and we just walked back into Munich and had lunch at the Augustiner beer house instead. There also was a football game on at the arena today, second league 1860 were playing. We got back to Tilly after the game had finished and an hour later there are still supporters singing club songs in the carpark. No notes on the windscreen saying we can’t stay here, the Bord atlas mentions that during Oktoberfest you aren’t allowed to camp in this carpark, however we are here for the night and off again in the morning.
20th September – 27th September
A drive of 70kms along the autobahn sees us arriving in Landsberg am Lech, which as the name suggests is on the Lech River. Being Sunday everything is closed however from what we could see this looks like a lovely town to explore tomorrow although it’s claim to fame is that Hitler wrote Mein Kampf whilst incarcerated here. We had a nice walk along the Lech river in both directions, first up to a ruin, of what I don’t know, possibly a house and then in the other direction past the weir, which reminded me of Bath. There is a car park just near the weir which will be our free home for the night.
We moved to the stellplatz this morning before heading out. We had a nice walk around the old town, however a couple of the towers that we wanted to climb were closed unfortunately. There are 7 old gates and part of the old wall still remains and many buildings are heritage listed. The main church here like many others is baroque in style and quite large. We sat in the square and had our lunch before a much needed haircut and a walk home.
We drove on the Romantische Strasse (romantic road), a 500 km stretch of road that runs from Fussen to Wurzburg through the middle of Germany. We travelled about 40 kms to Augsburg through some very pretty towns. We stopped at the botanical gardens in Augsburg to stretch our legs and as it was only €3 each to get in, we decided to go in. It is quite large, with a beautiful Japanese garden, herb gardens, rose gardens, beer garden! and a hothouse that had a lily pond at the entrance with a huge lily that had 6 flower heads coming into bloom as well as new lily pads. There were lots of plants that are very common in Australia and Asia including Dave’s favourite, the pitcher plant. There was a separate orchid house with some lovely specimens ranging in sizes. We had our packed lunch while there before heading back to Tilly with the intention of moving to the stellplatz but on the journey back to the van, with no signs telling us otherwise we are now staying overnight here. There is a bus stand just near us that will take us into Augsburg so we are quite happy to stay put.
It was a very bleak and wet morning however that didn’t stop us deciding to walk into Augsburg as it is only 2.5kms away. It is the third largest city in Bavaria and one of the oldest in Germany. We visited the Augsburg cathedral which was quite big but didn’t take my breath away as have some of the cathedrals we have visited. Oddly there was a painting in the church of Jesus’ circumcision, why? We also went to St Anna’s church which is often regarded as the first Renaissance church in Germany and contains a crypt which holds the three Fugger brothers. The Fugger family were one of the wealthy banking families that were said to have bankrolled entire countries. We wandered around the streets looking at the old buildings before heading back.
As I have mentioned before, the beauty of this type of lifestyle is you can change your mind on where you go at any time. We did! Instead of following the romantic road, we made a 70km detour to Eichstatt due to both of us having a bit too much of the cities and the numerous churches we have been visiting. The drive was quite pleasant, travelling mainly through small farming communities. In Eichstatt there is a place called Altmuhltal which is a nature park that has some great hiking, mountain bike and canoe trails which we are keen to explore. The weather over the next few days should be dry so we should get a few good hikes in. We went for a small walk along the river and found the stellplatz we were originally heading for, but as we have water and dumping facilities where we are, which is free we are going to stay here instead.
What was supposed to be a relaxing day just visiting the tourist office ended up with a 15km walk. We started off in town stopping at the Pfaffkirche which again is in baroque style with some gothic influences. From there we hiked up to the hilltop castle of Willibaldsburg which gave a great view over the town of Eichstatt and the surrounding valleys. Next stop was Kloster St Walburga where every year between mid-October and late February, water oozes from Walburga’s relics in the underground chapel and drips down into a catchment. The nuns bottle diluted versions of the so-called Walburgaöl (Wal- burga oil) and give it away to the faithful. Sorry we missed that! We had our lunch there before venturing back down into town and a visit to the Dom which holds a carved sandstone Pappenheimer Altar (1489–97), depicting a pilgrimage from Pappenheim to Jerusalem. Another baroque interior but not as over the top as some of the churches we have visited. Finally we made it to the tourist office and we now have more than enough information to go through to work out which hikes we will do over the next few days.
We drove a short distance to Ansberg where the start of our hike was, however after talking the wrong path, we decided to do the Nordic walking trail instead. This trail as reasonably flat except for the last 2 kms or so where it wound its way through the forest. We came out at the other end in the town of Bohming which was having a two day lamb festival where they had a demonstration of mustering sheep from one area to another with dogs. Lots of stalls selling everything sheep, from woollen blankets, floor rugs, socks etc. There were also stalls selling jewellery, cheese, lamb sausages, salamis, carved wooden items, kitchen utensils, lots of stuff. There was also a stall there giving out information on the Altmuhltal Naturpark. The lady showed us another trail along the ridge line of the hills that we could take back to Ansberg and it was much more like what we were after. The view from the top was lovely, overlooking the valley below and the Altmuhltal river. There is a nice area that has been cordoned off for parking for this festival so we have decided to stay here the night as we have a ride that we would like to do in the morning.
We hopped on our bikes today and rode to Kipfenburg a couple of kilometres along a good path from Bohming. We continued on one of the paths that was recommended by the Altmuhltal tourist office which followed a small river through some lovely forest. Nothing at the other end, it was more the journey than the destination. Back into Kipfenburg where we locked up the bikes and took off on foot up another hiking trail up to the Burg (castle). We thought the view from there would have been great as it was the highest point however apart from the museum, the burg is privately owned and currently being lived in so we weren’t allowed to enter. Never mind, we enjoyed the walk. Back on the bikes and into Bohming where the lamb festival was still going. We had another walk through and enjoyed a nice lamb stew for lunch with a local beer in the beer tent before heading back to Eichstatt.