It sounds like a route you should take with a loved one, so I did feel a little bit of a fraud when I first decided to do the route, and apprehensive as to whether it would be enjoyable for me and the pooch. But actually if you research it, it’s from the ‘romantic’ age, and is the Germans meaning for unspoilt villages, old castles, and lovely countryside. Now I hadn’t planned any of my route in Germany, (or any part of the trip to be honest), just ticked a few areas such as the Bavarian Alps and Lake Constance, which people had recommended, and this actually heads to the Alps and near enough to Lake Constance so I can head off there afterwards result!
The first stop is Wurzburg, a few hundred kilometres from Frankfurt. I had researched a camp site, and it would be the last for the whole journey as in each of the stop over towns there was a motor home stop. The trips expenses are going up and up so at least some cheap ‘car park’ nights would ease the bank balance somewhat! And as nice as campsites are, it is just me and the dog and all we need is a toilet and if possible electricity oh yes and every few days maybe a shower wouldn’t go a miss.
So I managed to leave Frankfurt at the second attempt, and no issues this time, fingers crossed this continues, more autobahn across to Wurzburg, and what a pretty town it is. I drove through in awe at the beauty in comparison to the places I had stayed recently, namely Frankfurt! It has an amazing castle set up in the town on a mound, surrounded by vineyards, lovely welcome to the trip. The campsite was not in town or even walking distance unfortunately but I enjoyed the fields surrounding the campsite and we were right next to the river Main, lovely. Last chance to fill up with free water, do some washing and have a shower. Dogs had to be kept on a lead, and everyone seemed to be adhering to this, damn it. I later realised why this is a good idea when I noticed what looked like a pet rabbit. I thought this can’t be real, must be an ornament I hadn’t seen. Then it moved. There were loads of them. White, brown, black just happily munching on the green grass. Bless Zac keeping his restraint all evening. As nice a setting that the campsite was in it has to be the worst site for facilities. The showers were pretty gross, hair everywhere, the shower had no head so it was a stream of water and the 4 mins you get in the shower couldn’t be paused whilst you lathered up, so I ended up wiping some soap off with water from the taps in the end. The sinks were pretty gross too, hair everywhere. Now I know this is from us campers, but the others have all been so much cleaner, must be a rougher clientele here!! A shower is a shower though, I’ve learnt that after my Nepalese trekking! Lucky it was also one of the cheapest!
I managed to buy a Romantic Strausse guide book at camp so could read up on it. Just as well as I think sat nav would of taken me a much quicker and less picturesque route if I didn’t know all the villages I between stops. Some fascinating facts, and nice to know what you are actually looking at when you stop in towns.
Now the issue with being the only English camper is that when you set up your door is always the opposite side to the other campers. Therefore you end up facing them all evening, no privacy. The Dutch next to me however had kind of cocooned themselves in to a social area beside their camper so not too bad. After a chilled evening enjoying the sunset over the mountains and a nice drink of cider we had a lay in. However when I woke and looked outside half the campers from around me had already left? It was only 10am? I did the usual dog walk and when we got back my camper was the only one left in the centre of the field. All lonely. It made me feel like I should be rushing to leave, that I was missing a trick by relaxing? Check out was 12pm? So although I had no intention of rushing off, I couldn’t relax and enjoy my breakfast, I was all worried about what I had missed, should I of left early, oh the pressures that other campers unwittingly put on you?
Shouldn’t have worried at all. The first day was lovely, through some lovely villages. Stopped and took Zac for a walk in Bad Merginentheim, just a brief walk around the streets to have a look. The drive was a lovely one, a vast improvement to the autobahns of the last two days. I tried to plan a route through each village on the itinerary on sat nav but it kept sending me up a pedestrian street in one town and I couldn’t stop it so decided town by town planning was far less hassle. So next stop Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber. Arrived at the car park and lots already parked up. Couldn’t find a space near electricity and my short lead no use unless I can park beside so just found a space and was without electricity for the night, how on earth will we survive?!?! Toilets were nearby so all fine, it’s only the milk for my tea that I need cooled but I hope it will last the night. £5 parking charge for the night, bargain. Bloody rained as soon as I got settled though so afternoon nap time (I am such and old fart!) while it passed, then headed into the town and walked around part of the old town wall before heading into the centre. Lovely cobbled streets, colourful buildings, small local shops not spoilt with big chain names. A bit Diagon Alley (Harry potter if you aren’t a fan) like in its street setting until you come to the marketplace which is very open with the church the centre peace. We had a wonderful walk around the streets, bought some souvenirs and a local delicacy original snow ball. Looks nothing like an English one, and didn’t taste like it either, just sweet pastry with icing sugar on. Nice enough though, and I do like to try local food.
Lovely evening in the ‘car park’ too, people sat out on tables eating and chatting. Some had fire burners lit so I joined in the theme with my candles and felt all magical and as though we were in the middle of nowhere with no electricity, quiet streets, just lovely and peaceful. How camping should be. Although a few weren’t joining in the traditions of campers, namely those all with electricity hooked up and satellite dishes up. I do wonder what people come away camping for when they then put up a satellite dish so they can watch TV. I watch the odd DVD on my laptop, but love the fact I’m away from everything, you get to read more and just lose yourself from civilisation.
The next morning, some campers had headed off early but not everyone like yesterday, a more relaxed morning. Zac and I had a nice walk around the castle again, then we headed off on day two and I think this was my favourite day. Such lovely scenery and villages again and sat nav was spot on throughout the route. Such a relaxing dive so the hours just whizz by. Dinkelsbuhl was our walking spot today and what wonderful colourful buildings. I stopped to take a picture and some English men who had no idea I was English commented that dogs cat see the colours, they only see in black and white. Not sure the relevance but chuckled to myself as I listened in. The overnight stop this time was Nordlingden, looks huge in the guide book. The car park was next to the town again, and after I had taken Zac on a quick walk someone had left a space right beside the electricity box so I moved and got hooked up. Toilets close at 7pm but there’s a MacDonald’s in the next car park open till 1am, so all sorted there.
After settling in we headed off into the town, and even nicer than yesterdays. More Diagonal Alley lookalike streets, a defensive town wall encircling the town and one you can actually walk all the way around, the only German wall that is fully accessible. Zac and I just walked in and out of the streets for a couple of hours, stopped for an ice-cream, me not him, some more souvenirs and postcards and then headed back to the van. What a lovely afternoon. For the evening walk we walked the town wall in its entirety, and I am so pleased we did as the views were amazing. We passed play areas where families were playing a game with wooden blocks that I’ve never seen. Bars (the drinking kind) on the wall packed with locals and tourists alike, vineyards in the distance. Lovely place to have seen.
In the evening whilst frequenting the McDonalds’ services I helped myself to some of their milk pots, I managed 14 before I left! Very handy for when I have either no milk or no fridge. Such a scavenger!
The morning walk was beside the river Eger which Zac loved, what a lovely start to the day. However this good start wasn’t to continue. This unfortunately ended up being the worst journey. Sat nav just didn’t agree with the romantic route and I was on major roads far too much. There were only three towns on the route today and it was raining hard so we didn’t get out and see any sights. In one town that I was a bit lost in a delivery van reversed and I have no idea how he didn’t hit me but I was absolutely capping myself. Honking my little horn to no avail, panicking to try and find reverse, but he did miss me by millimetres somehow and drove off unaware of my panic. I was shaking again like when I first started driving in Holland. Then to top it off the night time stop I had picked was literally a car park of a sports centre, one camper was parked up, nowhere near the town and so I decided to look elsewhere. The other stop had no toilets and just driving around the outskirts of the town it was more of a city, and very busy and modern. Nothing like what I expected on this route. Ausburg if you read up on it is so big it has 15 museums and art galleries, and a sightseeing tour of the city takes 2-2 1/2 hours. I drove through and out the other side deciding it wasn’t for me and went to a couple of stops later on the route Lansberg am Lech. Well what an awesome decision that was. Open car park, very large self-cleaning toilet/wash room, £1.50 to park for 24 hours and 50p meter for electricity. Now it did keep turning itself off so there must have been a time limit but all in all a great value park.
We headed off into the town again and it has the most amazing weir on the river Lech. Just huge, powerful, stunning and breath taking when you first see it. I just stood and watched it for ages, mesmerised. Stopped and had some local fruit juices, ananas (not bananas as you’d think but pineapple), I know I should have had alcohol but I was so hot, it’s about 32 degrees.
I was so pleased I stopped here instead of the planned stop, and there was a full circle walk around the town, past the weir and some tree lined paths just spot on for me and Zac. There was a lovely German lady camping next to us who was chatting away to me. It’s 4th August so 100 years since World War One. We did see a few old planes go over head maybe off to some memorial event. She was talking about how awful it is at the moment with Afghanistan and the Dutch plane. Nice to chat to someone, I don’t meet many who speak English.
We had a storm over night, torrential rain. Good old ruffy is doing well in all this weather and Zac doesn’t care either. Just sleeps through it.
I loved the town so much we went for another walk there in the morning rather than heading off early. So the last day, heading into the Alps. Sat Nav back on form for the most part. I think we missed the first hour of the actual route but got back on track. 10 villages to see on the day, some very small and just worth a drive through to see the very village feel about them. Then you suddenly turn a corner and the Alps are in the foreground, stunning, peaking through the clouds. Just an amazing sight and I loved every minute of it, even as the clouds come in and is pissed down with rain again. Fussen in my opinion wasn’t the main stop. Schangau and the Royal Castles is the place to go. I saw an interesting building off the side of the road so went to see it and looked up as parking and there was Castle Neuschwanstein (Mad King Ludwig’s master piece) up on the mountains, awesome. The building I had stopped to see was the pilgrimage church of St Coloman, and a beautiful sight that was too. I headed into Schangau next without realising where I was and it is absolute madness. The queue for the castle must have been 100 people long if not more, the car parks were over flowing, and the busiest I have seen on this route. As awesome as the castle on the Alps is I am not wanting to queue for hours to see it, and not sure dogs can go in anyway, so we headed to the last stop over in Fussen. The traffic was a nightmare. Don’t expect to get anywhere in Fussen after lunchtime in a hurry.
Anyway we found the stop, half full when we got there so easy to pick a pitch. Well I say we found the stop, I realised later there were two camper stops on the same road and I stopped at the first one I saw. The more expensive one I hasten to add, £15 all in, about £3 more than the other so nothing major! Again it was still raining when we got there so chilled for a bit before heading into town. We were a kilometre away but it was a nice walk once the rain had stopped. I had my umbrella which I had never used before I don’t think, and bizarrely is a hard rock café, Hollywood? Ah well did the trick. Fussen was lovely. Busy with tourists, but all friendly. Some big department stores intermingled with local shops. The Hohen castle is accessible in places and some nice walks around it to see the fancy paint work to accentuate the windows and door ways, which although has been restored is from the 16th century.
I was again fortunate in timing as there was a craft market on whilst we were there. I ended up buying a handmade wooden Father Christmas for my garden this winter. One of the few extravagancies for myself. I also added to my collection of magnets that will sit in Ruffy to show where we have been, some souvenirs for family and postcards once more. I send a few from each town so it’s not such a big task. The evening was interesting in the stop over. It was full by 9pm but people kept turning up, trying to be squeezed in. One lady gave up and just parked in the mega store car park opposite, despite the no camping signs. To be fair it was 10pm and where else can she go at that time!
If you stay here for more than a day then you can actually walk to the castles. It’s a 3 km walk each way so a nice ‘hack’ if you plan it well.
There was a few shops down the road, Aldi again so I got some essentials and for breakfast a bakery so Zac and I had our morning walk to get some fresh croissants and a baguette for the journey. Great place to stop.
So the romantic road is complete. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone visiting Germany. Worth spending more than the 5 days on it that I did, especially if you like castles and old buildings.
This is my turn around point. I have 10 days to get back to the UK, and apart from stopping to meet a friend in Switzerland, again I have no idea of my route home! All such an adventure!
The campsite I stopped at:
Campingplatz Kalte Quelle, Wimterhauser Strausse, 160, 97084, Wurzburg
The motorhome stops:
Rothenburg Parklatz P3, Weinsdorfer strasse
Landsberg am lech, waitzinger wise, gottesackerangerweg.
Fussen – Wohnmobilstellplatz Fussen, Abt Hafnerstrasse 1.