Waking on the Monday morning planning to stay another day at the Vineyard just outside Iphofen to buy some more wine and explore the area a bit more, we recieved an email from the service center at Phoenix asking us to go back so that they could have a look at the 360 Camera. Not wishing to miss the opportunity whilst we were so close, we made our sandwiches, packed up Fawks and set off ready for another day at the workshop.
With German efficiency and Phoenix service, the camera was replaced within a couple of hours and we were on our way again by mid afternoon. Rather than going too far and battling with the traffic we decided to pop back to Concorde for the night… an easy solution and less than 5km away.
The next morning, putting both Concorde and Phoenix behind us we moved on, wiggling our way further south to find the Phoenix sponsored Stellplatz which is in Bad Windsheim, a Spa town. The Stellplatz was huge with over 100 pitches, all well spaced out and arranged around lakes and streams costing about 17 euro a night.
Although the town itself isn’t as pretty as some of the other Bavarian towns – and the weather was a little ‘temperamental’ – the rolling hills around it provided for lots of lovely walking and three nights enabled us to catch up with some washing, shopping and tranquility…. well mostly as the Frogs were in their element!
Trying to choose our route around our stomachs, we had found a Michelin Bib Gourmand Guesthouse and Restaurant 12km North of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in a little village called Tauberzell and conveniently it had a Stellplatz 5-10 minutes walk away. Laundhaus Zum Falken has it’s own Vineyard, Hives for Bees and Kitchen garden amongst also being a specialist in Sausages. We booked for the Friday night as it was the only time we could get a table and when we arrived we were surprised by how quiet it was as we thought the Germans ate early, however it didn’t take long for a steady stream of people to come in and it was soon full. The food was excellent and we even managed to get some more local asparagus which is still in season. Keith opted for the sausages which came with Saurkraut and beautifully roasted potatoes with bacon, I had trout fillets with Rosemary Potatoes and Salad – both were exceptional. Dessert was a honey creme brulee made from their own honey along with a local farmhouse ice cream and I tried their digestif which was apparently made out of ‘all things good for you’ – which meant it didn’t taste quite as good as a Kirsch… but it wasn’t too bad albeit a little cloudy!!
The walking and cycling from Tauberzell was fantastic – we walked up to the top of the Vineyards along the panoramic walk, where you could see down into the valley where the village sits, and also along the valley base in both directions to the next villages. Incredibly tranquil, despite the Porsche rally passing by on Saturday morning and then about 10 Arctic Trucks honking their horns en route to a wedding in the next village a couple of hours later…. we will be back!
Moving slightly further down the road all of 12km we arrived at Rothenburg ob der Tauber which has to be one of the most impressive towns on the Romantic Road… enabling us to see true Bavarian architecture in its full – although this obviously has its downsides too as it means that it is far busier.
We stopped at the largest of the three Stellplatz that the town has and it was 12 euro for 24 hours, arriving just before lunch and it was already pretty full, filling up completely by early afternoon and although the turnover was pretty high, it was still full both nights we were there.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of only very few cities in Germany that have a remaining wall that is complete, unfortunately, although very impressive, only part of the walkway around the top of the wall is remaining, however as the wall is that little bit higher than some of the others, it is well worth popping up onto it for the views out over the roof tops – especially when the sun puts in an appearance!
Every road led to cobbled streets with beautiful coloured houses, mostly pretty well kept. We did a complete tour of the outside of the wall before coming back in to try out the local delicacy known as a ‘Schneeball’…. or in English ‘a snowball’. Basically short crust pastry rolled out flat and cut into strips of about 1cm width almost to the edge of the pastry. Using a wooden spoon, they then thread one strip over the spoon, one under until all the strips are incorporated onto the spoon. Now, this is the strange bit…. they then take them off the spoon and gently scrunch the pastry into a ball putting it into a metal case at the end of a long stick – which incidently looks a little like a torture tool – and plunge the pastry into hot oil to fry. Once crisp, the pastry is removed from the metal casing (and oil) and left to drain, Then coated in chocolate, icing sugar or a multitude of other things. The one Keith had was Amaretto, Marzipan and Chocolate – an interesting concept and lighter than you expect, although not necessarily something we would run back to try again!
However if you had to choose between the Schneeball and the hanging cage – I think the Amaretto and Marzipan mix would sway the decision!
It is fair to say that Rothenburg is beautiful but Keith and I can only take so much of ‘busy’ places and therefore despite lots of lovely walking and architecture, it was soon time to move on to smaller, quieter places for us… although that said, the next place we decided on was Nordlingen, which although far more ‘normal’ – as in a lived in town- it also has a very impressive ‘complete’ wall, and this one you can walk all the round on top.
The Stellplatz (7.50 euro per 24 hours) in Nordlingen was just five minutes walk outside the town walls and once again, was full by lunchtime. The town was really quiet though, enabling us to enjoy the walk all the round the exterior of the wall as well as through the town center without the hustle and bustle.
The wall contains a number of Alms Houses which appear to be tiny dwellings built into the interior of the wall, however it is only when you walk round the outside, or on top of the wall that you see that some of the houses actually penetrate the wall and have extensions going out to the exterior as well – it’d be lovely to see inside some of them as despite appearing tiny from one side I think they are actually deceptive in their size and form.
The main town square houses an impressive town hall and church alongside the obligatory May Pole and Storks nests that appear to be everywhere at the moment – a unique sight and noise when the storks ‘bark’.
The Maypole history and tradition in Bavaria is quite unique so if you fancy a bit of a smile have a look at this link which provides more details as I found it quite interesting… unfortunately we haven’t found any maypole festivities yet but they may be on Whit Monday… just have to wait and see!
Moving on once again, we chose to come to Donauworth which is where the Wormitz and Danube rivers meet as we fancied a bit of countryside walking for a couple of days and figured that the rivers would be a good location to get the most out of the Bavarian countryside.
We stopped at the Stellplatz (7.50 euro midnight to midnight) which is on the island between the Danube and Wormitz – once again, full by lunchtime. Donauworth isn’t a particularly noteworthy place for the architecture but it was founded by two fisherman and is oddly the beginning of several long walking/cycling routes that go down into Italy, Austria and Spain – Perfect for us to get some lovely walking in both along an old railway track and the Danube… and we even heard a steam train – despite not actually seeing it!
I know it is difficult to believe but we have also started to try and learn German. Slowly but surely we are both falling in love with Germany as it has so much to offer and therefore, although we will never be able to get to the same level in German as we are in French and Spanish, we would like to spend more time here and be able to ‘get by’ on a day to day basis with basics…. Babbel here we come!
And finally, just so you can see where we have been over the last couple of weeks…. the map…