28th September – 4th October
Happy birthday Dave! We had a quiet day today. Went for a stroll to McDonalds to check our emails before having a walk into Eichstatt. The plan today was to go to the Irish pub for lunch, but as can be the case sometimes, our plans were thwarted with the pub being closed. Plan B, Italian. We went to a nice place called Trompete where Dave had a pizza and I had a pasta dish, oh and of course a beer! After lunch we drove to Dollnstein as there was a hike we wanted to do, however there was nowhere to wildcamp and the stellplatz wanted €15.50 for a small plot of grass and nothing else. We were then going to drive to Altendorf but roadworks prevented us from getting there, only cars were allowed on the detour road. The next place was Pappenheim but along the way, we found a lovely little spot just near the Altmuhltal river so we are going to stay here the night. I wonder what obstacles will be put in our way tomorrow?
Our idyllic little spot ended up turning out to be the noisiest place we have stayed to date. Right next to the train line, which we thought would be OK, surely the trains stop running at a decent hour? They didn’t! All night long the freight trains went past us and in the still of the night they sounded a lot louder than during the day. Why didn’t we move you ask? With no street lights, a road closure up the road and a very cold night we figured it would be safer to stay put, so not a great deal of sleep was had. After breakfast we drove to Pappenheim and set off on our hike. We had a lovely walk along the river to start with, then up into the forest and along the ridge line. The path was littered with the fallen leaves and fir cones from the trees and the view back into Pappenheim was well worth the climb.
We had a walk through the town before having lunch back in Tilly. We then drove to Monheim which is half way to Donauwörth our next destination. We are parked at a free wohnmobilstellplatz that has free wifi, all the water you need for €1, a representative from the town who visits and hands out tourist brochures and electricity for 10 hours-no amp restriction for €1. A great place for a stopover.
The wind is bitterly cold today, so we only went for a small walk into the town of Monheim. There really isn’t much here, but given the amount of walking we have done over the past few days, we are going to have a relaxing day with wifi, turn the heater up and maybe watch a movie.
Another windy day and we were on the road to Donauwörth. It was a pleasant drive on the B2 road and we noticed how much the trees are changing in colour to the beautiful Autumn reds and yellows. On the romantic road route, Donauwörth is pretty town that was 75% destroyed during WWII however there has been faithful rebuilding which means steep-roofed houses in a rainbow of colours still line its Main Street. We had a nice walk along the Main Street visiting the Heilig-Kreuz church which has for centuries lured the faithful to pray before a chip of wood, said to come from the Holy Cross, installed in the ornate-ceilinged Gnadenkappelle which unfortunately was closed for renovations. One thing that has continued to astound us in a lot of the churches we have visited is the number of Saints skeletons that have been entombed in glass fronted boxes adorned with very colourful jewellery. As well as those, there are many smaller showcases housing bones, teeth and some items that are very hard to determine what they may be. After lunch in the park we strolled to the river where the confluence of the Danube and Wörnitz rivers meet and then home again to relax. The stellplatz here with filling and dumping facilities is also free which is doing our budget the world of good!
Our destination today was Nördlingen, a medieval town that lies within the Ries Basin, a massive impact crater gouged out by a meteorite more than 15 million years ago. The crater – some 25km in diameter – is one of the best preserved on earth, and has been declared a special ‘geopark’. Nördlingen’s 14th-century walls, all original, mimic the crater’s rim and are almost perfectly round. You can circumnavigate the entire town in around an hour by taking the sentry walk on top of the walls however we got off half way around to visit St Georgskirche to climb the 350 steps of the Daniel tower. From the top you can truly appreciate Nördlingen’s circular shape and the dished-out crater in which it lies. Very densely populated within the circle, there is a huge expanse of farmland outside with pockets of houses scattered around. We met a nice couple from Melbourne whilst at the top who were in Germany for two weeks and going home in the morning. We had a bit of a walk around the shopping precinct before heading back. More exploring tomorrow.
A very early start today. We moved Tilly over to McDonalds at 5.30 to borrow their wifi to watch the AFL grand final. We were there for about 5 minutes when there was a loud knock on the door. Two of the staff advised us that we couldn’t park there, it was private property so we moved across the road and got the iboost out. We watched a dismal game of footy sadly with the Hawks being victorious. Back to the stellplatz and we went for another walk into town going the other way on the sentry walk. We went down to ground level at one of the gates to visit the Stadtmauer museum which was 5 small floors in a tower with the history of the town on display. Today is another bank holiday in Germany so all of the shops are closed. After a brief walk around we headed back to Tilly. Later on in the afternoon we ventured out again, this time walking around the perimeter of the wall on the outside at ground level which in places was the actual moat. At one place on the outside of the moated area there was a huge communal garden full of vegetables and flowers. Lots of small houses built into the wall, some were extremely old. Half way round, we went through one of the gates and walked the rest of the way on in the inside. Again, some of the houses were very old, one of them even had plaster that had fallen off the exterior wall and showed old fashioned timber webbing that was put in place before the plaster was put on. Must have been one of the original houses. Weather wise we have been very lucky, no rain for a number of days and it was really sunny today. Rain forecast for tomorrow.
Back on the romantic road in very wet weather and a drive to Dinkelsbühl through some lovely scenery again with lots of Autumn coloured trees and creepers. We have again been surprised by the fact that we can free park just outside of the Alstadt (old town) with all of the dumping/filling facilities and electricity for €1. We did a quick walk into the old town and it looks absolutely gorgeous, left untouched by WWII with lots of coloured buildings surrounded by another old wall. Not sure if this one is covered like in Nördlingen, we will find out tomorrow when we spend the whole day out and about.
5th October – 11th October
We had a nice day today, the sun was out and we hit the cobbled stones of the old town. It is such a pretty place, with flower boxes on nearly all of the buildings some of which date back hundreds of years. The wall surrounding the old town is original with 14 turrets and 4 towers all in good condition built in the 14 century with a couple of them looking like they have recently been lived in. One of the turret buildings was a debtors prison, several of the big houses were corn storehouses, another a wine market. We visited the St Georges Minster, a late gothic church built in 1448 with only a small stained glass window at the back. A wander through the streets before having a nice lunch at the Zur Sonne hotel. To walk off lunch, we walked around the outside of the old wall past some nice gardens and a wooded area where we watched a couple of woodpeckers getting a feed of bugs from one of the trees.
Back on the road, this time to one of David’s favourite places, Rothenburg on der Tauber. A very pleasant drive once again through beautiful Autumn coloured valleys. The colours are deepening and it is just lovely. We had to stop along the way, first at a mechanics, then at a John Deer service centre. When Dave went to check the water level in the batteries, the leisure battery had a plug that couldn’t be removed. He was a bit concerned given the fluid level in the battery was low. Fortunately JDs had a plug that fitted our battery, so we bought some spare ones just in case. Back on the road and we arrived in Rothenburg just before lunch so we had that first and set off on our walk along the Tauber river, up into the wine growing area which skirts the old town. We ended up in a small town called Detwang where we stopped for a beer before heading back. We walked back through part of the old town with thunder rumbling so we will check it out properly tomorrow.
It was overcast but dry today after a lot of thunder and rain last night. We walked for five hours today, firstly along the perimeter wall of the old town. Longer than the one in Nordlingen, it was also more authentic with less modern repairs to walls, floors and steps. It also has many more towers (42 in total) and the views across to the Tauber valley were just lovely with the golden and red hues of the forest below. We had a nice walk through the castle gardens which no long houses a castle, it is said to have been destroyed in an earthquake in 1356. We climbed up the Rathaus tower on a very narrow stairwell which also gave us a great view over the old town.
We had our lunch before heading off again. We went into a shop that our son Daniel and his wife would have loved, full of swords, dragons, suits of armour, chess sets, one with the characters of Lord of the Rings, Smeegle as the pawn, everything medieval. We stopped in at the Hotel Spitzweg which is where we stayed when we were in Rothenburg in 2009. The gentleman that ran the place then is still there and said he remembered us, and who wouldn’t! We had a nice chat, finishing up with a glass of schnapps and some worthwhile advice on what places to visit when we head to Wurzburg. The hotel was just as we remembered it, we even showed him a photo that we took when we were there with him in it. He thanked us kindly for calling in. We went in to a Kathe Wohlfahrt shop which sells everything Christmas, it was so pretty. We finished off our day buying a couple of schneeballs, which are pastry strips of various flavours that are deep fried, it is a Rothenburg specialty but not sure what the fuss is about!
Today we visited the Medieval crime and justice museum which houses 1000 years of legal history. Brutal implements of torture and punishment from medieval times were also on display. Exhibits include chastity belts, masks of disgrace for gossips, a cage for cheating bakers, a neck brace for quarrelsome women and a beer-barrel pen for drunks, and there are also displays on local witch trials, to name a few. There were also a lot of exhibits of original documents pertaining to laws written at that time, guides of punishment for crimes, including how to discipline school children, our children had it easy, detention seems like a holiday camp by comparison. While some of the displays were quite gruesome, it was an interesting morning. We sat on the steps of the Rathaus to have our lunch before wandering the streets in the old town again. The weather today was very sunny although cool and it was lovely just taking our time looking at the buildings and visiting the odd shop. We bought our first Christmas decoration for Tilly, a glass Christmas scene with a tea light candle holder. Should look very nice on the table.
It was a working day today. Firstly we did the laundry after finally finding out from the tourist office what laundromats are called in Germany. Previously we have booked into ACSI sites as they have washing facilities, however it was cheaper to stay where we were and go to the Waschsalon. After washing, it was shopping time which Dave always enjoys NOT! We had a quiet afternoon and went out for dinner at the Goldener Greifen and it was the best meal we have had to date. For the people that know me well, they would be surprised to be told I had pork sirloin in a beer sauce and it was lovely. Dave had a Franconian Roast Pork shoulder with dumplings which he also said was the best meal he has had, a definite stop for a meal when in Rothenburg. It is just off the square in Obere Schmiedgasse. Next on our list was the night watchman tour of Rothenburg which started at 8.00pm. The Bob Dylan lookalike was dressed up as you would expect, and the tour was not only informative but very funny, he was so entertaining, had us all laughing. There were at least 60 people on the tour (mainly American) so it would have also been profitable for him at €7 each. An enjoyable evening all round.
Our destination today was Bad Mergentheim on the Romantic Road. First stop via another detour due to road works had us arriving in Creglingen. We got out for a walk, a nice town but not much there. We then drove to Weikersheim and had a bite to eat before heading into the old town. There is a pretty square here where we had a surprise Skype call from our eldest son Adam and his fiancé. Luckily for us there was wifi in the square and he had timed it just right when he called. Once we had finished our chat, we had a walk around the old town and the Schloss gardens before heading back home.
My dear friend’s 40th birthday and wedding day. Happy birthday and congratulations to Nicky and Mark.
Our journey on the romantic road took us to Tauberbischofsheim. We stopped at Bad Mergentheim which had a really nice square in the old town. On the top of the church tower a brass band was playing before the church service started, which was lovely on a bright Sunday morning. No detours today which was good and we arrived in Tauberbischofsheim just on lunch time, so we had a bite to eat before venturing out. This town obviously was badly bombed during the war as there were no old buildings of significant age. We had a walk along the Tauber river for a few kilometres, picking some apples along the way. There are thousands of Apple trees planted in Germany as you would expect, however a lot of them are in open fields and along pathways so you can pick yourself an apple while having a nice stroll. We even had a gentleman tell us today which tree produced the nicest apples. Our fruit bowl has never been so full! Another surprise Skype call today from our other son Daniel and his wife to tell us our beautiful little granddaughter has taken her first steps. Clever girl. Can’t wait for a video.
12th October – 20th October
We awoke this morning to a temperature of -2.5. I must say it is very hard to get moving when it is so cold, however the heater in Tilly works really well and we had it warm in no time. Onto our last town on the Romantic Road, Wurzburg. Due to roadworks on the autobahn, we overshot the turnoff and ended up going an extra 5kms before we could turn around. We headed to the stellplatz Dave had pinned and couldn’t find it. We later found out we wouldn’t have been able to fit Tilly anyway, it as for small Motorhomes only. The next place where we thought we could get water and dump the toilet had height barriers across the gate. Onto the second park Dave had pinned and we are now set up for the day/night, although we will have to be careful with the water as we are almost empty. We packed up lunch and headed into the old town which is just across the other side of the river from where we are parked. We had a good walk around before heading up to Festung Marienburg, a fortress on top of the hill overlooking the Main River, Wurzburg and the vine covered hills. While it was bitterly cold this morning, the sky was clear, the sun was out and it was very pleasant walking around.
We took a drive to the Aral petrol station as we saw on an app Dave has that we could get water and dump the waste water. No! Nothing there apart from the petrol station however the staff we really helpful and let us fill with water so we were set for the next few days. We headed to the Residenz this morning for the guided tour in English. This palace, based on the design of Versailles in France is one of Germany’s most important and beautiful baroque palaces. From start to finish, it took 100 years to complete, with the shell of the castle completed in 60 years and another 40 to finish the rooms, gardens etc. As with most palaces of the day, the inhabitants didn’t want for a thing. There is one room in this palace with 2.5kg of gold leaf adorning the walls. The north and south wings were extensively damaged during the war while the central section remained relatively untouched and houses the worlds largest fresco above the grand staircase. The tour of the south wing lasted about an hour then we were free to roam the north wing, which is nowhere near as elaborate but still impressive. We visited the chapel, gardens and had a quick walk through one of the archeology museums but unfortunately none of the displays were in English. We then had a walk around town before stopping for a beer at the Ratskeller. A quick weather update on the Internet has snow forecast for tonight and tomorrow morning. We shall see!
At the time of writing, there has been no snow although it is definitely cold enough, the thermals are on! We had a quiet day today, just had a walk into town mainly to update the news on the net and spent the afternoon reading. On the road again tomorrow.
The romance is over! We have left the romantic road and headed for Nuremburg on the autobahn. It was a big drive, just over 100 kms and we did see snow along the way. There was a high section on the autobahn where the fir trees had a light cover of snow as well as on the ground, it looked lovely. Easy to say from a nice warm motorhome! We arrived at the reisemobil to find there again was no water as described in the Bord Atlas only a toilet block with no tap for filling. On the road again to the next place and again no water. The hotel next door kindly allowed us to fill up, so we are set for the next few days. Back to the reisemobil where we donned our warm gear and went for a walk. The reisemobil is just on the edge of a huge park, the Volkspark Marienburg which is full of beautiful Autumn coloured trees, lots of dogs running madly around and a nice little lake. That was our exercise for the day. We will have a big day walking tomorrow.
We started off with a 4km walk into the old town before having a wander around. I had forgotten just how big Nuremburg was. We visited the square where the Christmas markets are usually held, there is a produce market there at the moment which is there all year round except at Christmas time. A quick stop at McDonalds for a wifi update and a quick chat to our daughter in law, Larissa before we had a wander around the marketplace. We visited several of the churches and had a walk around the shops before having lunch. Off to Kaiserburg, the imperial palace for a look through some of the rooms that provided a history of how the Holy Roman Empire worked as well as replicas of the imperial Crown and the imperial orb. Other sections open to visitors included the royal living quarters, the Imperial and Knights’ Halls and the Romanesque Doppelkapelle (Twin Chapel). The chapel illustrates the medieval hierarchy: common folk sat in the dimly lit lower section, with the royals entering up above directly from the palace. It also houses the imperial museum and holds one of Germany’s most important collections of historical weapons. We climbed many steps to reach the top of the Sinwell tower, the castle keep. It gave a great view over the old town. There were also pictures in the tower that compared the castle and the tower from the period before and after the Second World War and the extent of the wartime damage and the reconstruction of the city since. We then visited the deep well in the centre of the outer Bailey which provided an independent water supply for the castle. The shaft goes down 50 metres into the castle rock and still holds 7 metres deep of drinking water. The guide sent down candles to the bottom to give us an idea of just how deep it is, there was also a camera attached to the tray the candles were on. It took 8 years to complete, all by hand! Another 4km home and two very weary travellers.
We had an educational day today by visiting the Reichsparteitagsgelände, the gigantic remains of the former Nazi Party Rally grounds which originally were to cover 11 square kilometres. The only building completed was the Zeppelin field which was used as the main rally ground for the Nazi party. There is a permanent exhibition titled “Fascination and Terror” inside what was to be the congress hall which was unfinished but has since had modern additions added in which the exhibition is housed. It provides information about the causes, contexts and consequences of the National Socialist reign of terror. Movies as well as photographs and documents illustrate both the buildings on the ground as they were to look if completed and the history and background of party rallies and the persecution of the Jews. There was a lot to take in, it was a very moving experience and hopefully lessons were learnt so that this atrocity never happens again which is what I said after visiting the Australian memorial in Villers-Bretonneux. We walked around the lake along the Great Road where tens of thousands of soldiers marched to where the Zeppelin field was and stood on the same spot that Hitler did during the rallies. It is now a car park and the field is sometimes used for concerts. Next door to the field is a sports stadium and a football game was underway and the noise from it gave us a sample of what it would have been like during a rally. Back around to near where Tilly was parked and a quick look at the Congress Hall which was never completed but was meant to outdo Rome’s Colosseum both in size and style. Back home and a hot cuppa.
On the autobahn again, this time to Bamberg. The weather was foggy and gray with a little bit of rain. Not much to see along the way, the occasional little town off to the side and some fields of crops and lots of solar panels. We are having a quiet day, Dave has got a bit of a cold and we have done lots of walking so we are taking it easy. We are also planning the next stage as we have had a change of heart about our direction. We are no longer heading to Berlin, we will do that when we come back down from Norway, makes sense when you look at the map. The weather cleared a bit in the afternoon so we went for a small walk along the river which runs at the back of the stellplatz. We are only 1.5kms from the old town, so will head in there tomorrow.
We had a nice day today. We walked along the river to the old town and headed straight for the Rathaus. It is such a beautiful building on an artificial island with lovely frescoes all over the exterior, one of which has a cherub’s leg sticking out from it.
We had a nice day today. We walked along the river to the old town and headed straight for the Rathaus. It is such a beautiful building on an artificial island with lovely frescoes all over the exterior, one of which has a cherub’s leg sticking out from it. Next stop was the Bamberger Dom (cathedral of St Peter and St George) with four spires that tower over the cityscape. Inside is a marble tomb of Pope Clemens II, the only papal burial place north of the alps. It also houses the tomb of King Henry II and his wife Kunigunde. We then visited the Rose garden which is part of the New Residence and gave us a wonderful view of the town centre and of St Michaels church. We had a lovely lunch at the Hofbrau where Dave finally had his smoke beer which Bamburg is famous for. We next walked up the hill to visit St Michaels church, which is currently undergoing substantial renovations and is closed. We knew this before heading up there, we went more for the view than anything else. Back down into the old town past “Little Venice”, former fisherman’s houses that are small medieval half timbered houses with balconies and tiny gardens in front line the bank of the River Regnitz. We walked around a bit more before heading home.
We headed to Coburg on a dreary and wet day. The drive was okay, apart from the trees and fields nothing of note to mention. We are going to have a quiet afternoon and will venture into town in the morning.