Since I wrote about my trip in Germany in August I thought, even if it’s off topic, to write something about that travel along the Romantic Road, the most famous tourist route in Germany, going from Würzburg to Füssen (366 km long). Here I will explain my own Romantic Road Itinerary.
We went by car and the first destination was Burgbernheim, a small town where we rented a small but cozy apartment located in the town symbol, a cute medieval tower.
Romantic Road Itinerary:
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber, maybe the most famous town of the Romantic Road Itinerary, because it is the best preserved, full of colourful houses, flowered balconies and delightful shops. The most famous shop is entirely dedicated to Christmas decorations: Käthe Wohlfahrt Weihnachtsdorf (Herrngasse 1, Rothenburg ob der Tauber). At the west end of the village there is a beautiful park with amazing views on the many medieval towers (from which you can enter the walkway). I suggest you to climb the Rathaus tower: there are many many steps, partly wooden, partly very steep. At the top you will find a lady who collects €2 to climb the last few steps (the worst, the steepest, I managed to go up helping myself out with hands and arms!) to go out and admire the view. As soon as I went down, I spotted a nice fresh apple juice kiosk just out of the Medieval Vaults entrance: delicious and very refreshing! On the contrary I didn’t appreciate very much the local pastries called Schneeballen (snowballs), a sort of fried dough sweet. But I enjoyed very much having dinner at the Restaurant Zur Höll (Burggasse 8, Rothenburg ob der Tauber), where there was a super nice Italian waiter and we enjoyed a delicious romantic dinner. But be sure to book!
- Herrgottskirche and Fingerhutmuseum Creglingen (for the address see here https://www.google.com/maps). Inside the church you can admire a true masterpiece, a wooden altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary, created by the skilful sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider. We saw other wooden altars in Germany during our trip but this was unique for its elegance and the craftsmanship of the carving. Just a few steps away is the Museum of the thimble… Yes, you got it well. I am a really curious person and I like quaint things so I wanted to see it. You must cross the street and go down behind the diner. Ring the bell and soon someone will arrive to open the museum for you. The museum is small but neat and you can see thimbles of every material, shape and colour. Of course it is not worth the detour if you have other plans, but if you are close, you can try it!
- Würzburg. We parked at the Hauptbahnhof Parking and in 5-minute walking we arrived at the Juliuspromenade where we jumped on bus 9 (pure luck! It was 9.40, the next bus would have passed there afer one hour) that took us up the Festung Marienberg hill, where we could enjoy a beautiful view of the city from a small but colourful garden (there are no many signs indicating it once you’re there. You have to go straight ahead. When you arrive at the gate of the chapel, on the left there is another gate, pass it and turn right, you will arrive to the rooftop terrace). We then walked back down. We were so glad that we went up by bus earlier because the path was quite steep! Soon we arrived (on the right) at the Alte Mainbrucke, the main bridge, flanked by huge statues. The city has suffered enormous damage during the Second World War: just passed the bridge, enter the red Rathaus tower and on the ground floor you will see a model of the city after the bombing: a mess. Indeed Wurzburg was much affected by that: It’s a beautiful town, clean, neat, but obviously you can clearly see that it is rebuilt and has consequently lost much of the charm. A brief tour of the centre (Marienkapelle and Cathedral), a Flammkuchen in a bar and then we visited the sumptuous Residenz palace. The highlights are the huge fresco by Tiepolo, many furnished rooms (unfortunately no photo allowed) and the beautiful garden: Do not miss neither the South one nor the East one (in thq map they give you at the entrance the two gardens are actually located to the east and north).
- Tauberbishofsheim. Charming village that deserves more than just a brief stop as we did! It’s really worth a visit and with no crowds at all.
- Weikersheim. Very cute tiny village where we visited the Castle. We joined a guided tour in German ’cause they gave us a booklet in Italian. The highlight of the visit is the Knights Hall, really funny and full of curious details. The guided tour was also lacking: many explanations regarding the first part of the visit and poor information about the subjects painted on the Knights Hall walls. Pity! Another wonderful part (you can visit on your own) is the enchanting park.
- Dinkelsbühl. I loved this village very much. It is full of colourful buildings, it has wonderful city walls with towers and doors, there are less tourists than in Rothenburg. You can admire the medieval walls walking on the inside and on the outside of the village (in this case passing through a grove and next to a nice pond). The village would be ideal if it were not for the car traffic. Too bad, many cars whizzing everywhere. It was even difficult to take a picture without one, two or more cars showing up!
- Schloss Harburg. Beautiful, well maintained, great atmosphere, delicious Café (I ordered the Vanilla ice cream cup with hot raspberries: you can share it with your loved one because these portions are always huge!). Even if some people disliked it, I think you should include it in your Romantic Road Itinerary.
- Augsburg. We used a park and ride facility and took the tram. Efficient service. We visited the Maximilianmuseum, the Cathedral and the Függerei, certainly the most curious thing: a district created by a wealthy banker (Függer, in fact) in the mid 1500 to accommodate Catholic poor people. The neighbourhood is made up of delicious yellow houses with small rear gardens. Still today here live some indigent citizens and the houses are still maintained by the fund created by Függer hundreds of years ago. You pay €4 to enter and this money is used for the maintenance of the houses. It’s really interesting to visit. This complex also has a Café, toilets, a small museum explaining how the life is now and how it was once in this place, a bunker used during the war. Residents pay a rent of only €0.88 per year (excluding charges for water, electricity, etc) and they must recite 3 prayers a day in honour of their benefactors. Frankly I was not very impressed by Augsburg. I notice, when travelling abroad, that I always prefer smaller romantic villages rather than big cities.
- Roseninsel in Lake Starnberg. The Roseninsel is a tiny island where Princess Sissi used to go. To get there we parked at the train station of Feldafing, where, however, there was no indication. We asked at the bar (very nice one and with a super clean bathroom) and the waitress told us to climb the hill behind the station next to the large sign and follow the path. Ok, but once we climbed, the road forked and we did not know where to go. Using Google maps and GPS we went to the left and then we followed the signs that take you to cross a golf course (while the players roll balls!), in a grove and then you get to the docking (20 minute walk). Obviously, as soon as we entered the boat, the rain started and we had to wait I think 10 minutes (but they seemed 30 to me) and then luckily the rain slowed down so we could see the island. Pretty and romantic, but we saw only 3 roses. It is best to visit it in June, I think, but I so wanted to see it!
- Füssen, cute little town but not unmissable IMHO. We stopped for lunch at the Restaurant Madame Plüsch (Drehergasse 48, Füssen) and we enjoyed it thoroughly. The waiter spoke a very clear German (finally!) and he was very nice. Actually I had a french style meal, duck (very tender) and chocolate cake. I really enjoyed it!
- The Castles Neuschwanstein and Hoheschwangau. We saw them only from outside because we had already been there. If you are interested I will write something about them on another post! Just ask!
Strange things noticed around during the Romantic Road Itinerary:
- Many fruit trees full of fruits, with many fruits on the ground left to rot, no one would collect them. I wonder why. I wanted so bad to take some plums, but since no one did it, I did not either.
- The chalk inscriptions on many doors of many houses: 20 * C + M + B + 15. They are writings made to protect the house before Epiphany. The numbers refer to the current year, so 20 and 15 = 2015. C, M and B can be the Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) or an abbreviation of Christus mansionem benedicat (Christ bless this house in Latin).
- In every town, even small villages, I saw too many cars everywhere, even in the historic centre, sometimes parked in the main square. The romantic and medieval atmosphere is badly affected by that.