A five-day weekend through Germany's Romantic Road and Black Forest...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by viajarMOTO, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. viajarMOTO

    viajarMOTO Been here awhile

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    For many folks "adventure travel" means a long weekend. Thus was the case for my wife Chantil and I as we planned a five-day trip over the German Labor Day (or May Day) weekend.

    The Romantische Straße (Romantic Road) is a "themed route" of sorts that was created in the 1950s to help tourism of a post-war country. For many folks, the 350 kilometres (220 miles) are thought of as the "quintessentially Germany". Highlights of the Romantic Road's include the historic cities of Würzburg and Augsburg, along with the three medieval walled towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen. The southern end finished off with the Neuschwanstein Castle at the foot of the Alps.

    For our return home, we chose to travel through the the Black Forest and a famous stretch of road know as the Schwarzwaldhochstraße, (Black Forest High Street). This is one of the oldest and best-known motorrad roads in Germany that winds through a mountain pass for 65 kilometers (40 miles) traveling from Freudenstadt to Baden-Baden.

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    Our five-day loop through southern Germany.

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    The mules are packed. Who's in for the adventure?
    #1
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  2. luftkoph

    luftkoph Been here awhile

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    Bring it on
    #2
  3. PretzelDog

    PretzelDog Adventurer

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    I've done this trip several times. Love all of it!
    #3
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  4. pnoman

    pnoman Just Average

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    We were stationed at Sembach and Ramstein from 2000-2003 and traveled those roads many times, but in a car. Looking forward to your ride report and photos.

    One of my favorite stops on your route was the Zeppelin Museum at Friedrichshafen. I never knew about the tie between Maybach and the zeppelins. Interesting place.

    Safe travels. Gute Fahrt.

    .
    #4
  5. viajarMOTO

    viajarMOTO Been here awhile

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    Romantic Road, Germany Day 1 - Friday, 27 Apr 2018:

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    Map of today's travels from Geilenkirchen to Würzburg.

    We've been looking forward to this trip for quite a while ever since we discovered it for ourselves after buying the National Geographic book 'Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World's Most Amazing Places'.

    I was a bit worried that my mule would not be fixed in time but we were able to tighten the last bolt and go for a short test ride the day before we packed for this five-day weekend. Just in time!

    Today was mostly a autobahn (freeway) day as we took the fastest route from our home in Geilenkirchen to the north end of the Romantic Road to the city of Würzburg. Much of the A3 was slowed by construction and we experienced heavy traffic near Frankfurt. I had to laugh because I had just seen a YouTube video about how efficient and fast the German autobahns are compared to the USA. It seems no country has figured out gridlock. Fortunately, we were able to lane-split for much of the gridlocked sections.

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    The A3 when its not gridlocked. Four lanes moving along with relative German efficiency. I've lived in Germany now for about 9 months and admire how traffic stays on the right side unless passing.

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    We pulled off of the A3 in order to eat some lunch and fly the drone to capture the yellow fields. As you can see spring is in full swing with colorful flowers in spades.

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    A typical small farming community town in Germany.

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    Although riding on most dirt roads in Germany is forbidden we found this tiny stretch of road near where we pulled off. It's funny to me that a country who makes the most successful adventure motorcycle in the world can't even use it off-road in its own country.

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    Last view of the fields before packing up and continuing along our route.

    It was late afternoon when we arrived to Würzburg. Our first exit dropped us into the street-art part of town. We parked the mules and walked around taking some pictures of the brightly-colored and unique art.

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    Many European cities are know for their street art.

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    Words to live by.

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    This mural features an excellent rendition of a Japanese inspired Koi Fish

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    Not sure what this mural means but I love the bright colors and thick black outlines.

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    A short ride down the street brought us to the main section of Würzburg...

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    ... and our first Romantic Road sign.

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    We walked around and enjoyed the evening sun and elegant gardens of the Würzburg Residence. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site that we promised ourselves to learn more about the following day.

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    The inside was closed but we still enjoyed the gardens and the statues located around the outside of the residence.

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    #5
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  6. viajarMOTO

    viajarMOTO Been here awhile

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    Well manicured gardens are available for the public to enjoy.

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    St. Johannis Kirche ( St. Johannis Church) in Würzburg is the first church that the Evangelical Lutheran congregation built in 1895. This church was almost completely destroyed during an air raid on the city on 16 March 1945. Today only a part of the original steeple and the entrance portal are remaining.

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    The present church was designed by Munich architect Reinhard Riemerschmid (1914-1996) then built and inaugurated in 1957.

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    Much of the sculptures, artwork, and stained-glass had a modern element to it.

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    A nearby park had a memorial to the young men who gave their lives during WWII.
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    Translates to "The city is yours"

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    A short ride along the Main River brought us to our campsite for the evening...

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    ...at Kalfe Quelle.

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    €15 later we had our little piece of grass next to the grazing rabbits...

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    ... and a bright red kids slide!

    Tomorrow we will return to Würzburg Residence and officially start our adventure south via the Romantic Road...
    #6
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  7. viajarMOTO

    viajarMOTO Been here awhile

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    Dankeschön. I seem to have missed the Zeppelin Museum but will have to make a side-trip when we swing by that area again.
    #7
  8. viajarMOTO

    viajarMOTO Been here awhile

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    Romantic Road, Germany Day 2 - Saturday, 28 Apr 2018:

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    Map of our travels of the first section of the Romantic Road. Only about 120 km (75 miles) of the route covered today.

    The Würzburg Residence was our first stop of the morning. We arrived early enough that we enjoyed the interior at our own pace without any crowds.

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    We purchased our tickets early enough in the morning that we had much of the residence to ourselves.

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    The main entrance to this massive residence.

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    Pictures don't do the ceiling justice. The Garden Hall fresco is so large I had to use a GoPro to capture it.

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    The Garden Hall. This is just a small example of the masterful artwork that was painted by Johann Zick in 1750. Notice the actual crimson cloth used with a relief statue of a cherub crawling up it.

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    The large area just below the staircase. This area leads upwards towards the magnificent fresco created by Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and is the largest fresco in the world.

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    Just one of the beautiful sculptures with Tiepolo's fresco on the ceiling in the background.

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    Chantil enjoying the view...

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    On 16 March 1945, 225 Lancaster Bombers and 11 Mosquito Pathfinder planes of the RAF bombed Würzburg destroying much of the city including the residence.

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    Due to the patience of skilled German artists and craftsman the residence was restored over the next 42 years at the cost of €20 million.

    After touring the Würzburg Residence we rode across the River Main and climbed the hill to the Marienberg Fortress.

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    We enjoyed taking in the commanding views of surrounding Würzburg and the warm morning sunshine.

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    Taking pictures and wondering when this door was made. Much of the Marienberg Fortress was built between the 13th and 18th centuries.

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    Wonder how many animals were tied to this ring or who the craftsman was that made it?

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    Incredible views of Würzburg from the commanding heights of the fortress.

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    Old script written sign.

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    Every turn had me wondering what life was like back when this was first built.

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    More well-made doors and latches.

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    A grocery-store bought lunch. Nearly every German grocer had a delicious bread section.

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    After a short lunch we rode south along the Romantic Road towards Weikersheim

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    The Romantic Road connects many small farm communities via its two lane road.

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    We timed our visit through this area perfectly to enjoy the yellow bloom of the farm fields. This color only lasts for about a few weeks in spring.

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    There was one particular section where we pulled over and launched the drone in order to capture the expanse and feeling of riding through this beautiful countryside.

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    Its a great time of the year to see vibrant leaves filling the branches of leaf trees along with the evergreens.

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    A nice abstract picture of riding along a beautiful stretch of road.

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    I wish I could capture this feeling and bottle it so everyone in the world could experience it.

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    We stopped in Weikersheim for a short while to take a break from riding the mules and enjoy the sunny day.

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    Even the police station has a nice relaxing vibe about it.

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    Just one of probably 30-40 riders we came across during today's ride.

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    In general, the road is well marked but you do have to pay attention to the signs...

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    ... especially in the towns with the narrow streets and various round-abouts.
    #8
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  9. viajarMOTO

    viajarMOTO Been here awhile

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    Romantic Road, Germany Day 2 - Saturday, 28 Apr 2018 continued...

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    You could tell we were entering the medieval section of the Romantic Road once we passed under the narrow gateway.

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    Map of Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Red Fortress above the Tauber). This was our final stop of the afternoon. This well-preserved medieval old town was founded in 1170 but started as early as 950 in the Middle Ages.

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    Another bricked archway as we approached the parking area just outside the walled area of the town.

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    Love the half-timber style architecture.

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    A view of the two main towers of the St. James church in the center of the town.

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    A modern sculpture of St. James in front of his church.

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    The St. James Church was built between 1311 and 1484.

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    Here is an example of the building and shingle construction used through the town.

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    Brightly colored buildings flank Roman style statues.

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    Cobblestone street and tall buildings.

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    We came across this unique bakery where we picked this strawberry flavored delicacy. I don't know what it was called but it was delicious.

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    A relief map for the blind shows the prominence of the church within the center of the town...

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    ...making it easy for the radioactive giant woman to find it!!

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    Afterwards we went to the nearby park and captured these images of the town using the drone.

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    It was getting later in the evening, so we made our way to a campsite in Schillingsfürst where we shared a large grass field with some bicycle campers. Before long we were nestled snugly in our sleeping bags and falling fast asleep…
    #9
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  10. viajarMOTO

    viajarMOTO Been here awhile

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    Romantic Road, Germany, Day 3 - Sunday, 29 Apr 2018:

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    Map of today's travels as we continued south along the Romantic Road.

    We wanted to get an early start on our day, so we woke up at 6:30 AM, packed camp, and headed the short distance to Dinkelsbühl. We arrived so early that even the residences of the town were still sleeping. It was relaxing to be able to walk around, explore narrow streets and gardens, and take pictures of this quiet medieval town.

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    The central tower of the town of Dinkelsbühl.

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    Right out if a fairytale!

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    Love the colored buildings and shutter treatments to the white framed windows.

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    It was nice to be able to walk around without crowds in the early morning and enjoy the parks and views.

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    Springtime in Dinkelsbühl.

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    A covered bridge now spans what was probably the moat around the city wall.

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    A schwarze Katze (black cat) hanging around the rafters. Good luck??

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    Cobblestone streets and tall buildings.

    Since it was Sunday, we tried our best to find our church so we could attend sacrament services. Just our luck! There was a church building only about 30 minutes away and it was just a little bit off the path of the Romantic Road. As we approached the address, I was starting to doubt we had the right address. Our churches are normally located in residential areas and we were clearly in a commercial area with large warehouses. It turns out we were at the correct place and the church was inside a converted restaurant building. The service was in German and afterwards we had a chance to talk to the elder missionaries from England and Oregon and a visiting family from Idaho. They seemed impressed with our motorcycle adventure.

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    We found our church! It is in one of the most interesting church buildings we have ever been to...

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    ... apparently it was initially built as a restaurant but then when financing fell through, the LDS church purchased it and then converted it to a church.

    After church we returned to the Romantic Road and continued south to the next city of Nördlingen.

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    (Picture borrowed and edited from www.bavaria.by)

    Nördlingen is definitely one of the more interesting towns on the Romantic Road - if not the world. To fully appreciate this town, you have to look at it from a bird's eye view which clearly shows Nördlingen situated entirely inside a massive meteorite crater 25 km across. The depression from the meteorite, believed to have formed some 14.5 million years ago, made a perfect circular ledge where a wall could be built around the town center.

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    Another beautiful and sunny day in Bavaria!

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    We passed by Harburg Castle long enough to eat a bit of lunch and launch the drone from a nearby park. This castle was built in the 11th century.

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    As we proceeded south the fields slowly gave way to more wooded sections.

    The next town of Donauwörth also provided another pleasant and relaxing walk through the center of town and along a creek where we heard some of the most unique frog sounds we've ever heard. Apparently, a German croak is much different than an English croak?!

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    Entering the town of Donauwörth.

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    A bright red Vespa scooter would also be a great way to see the romantic road.

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    More brightly colored buildings against a clear blue sunny sky in Donauwörth.

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    One of the statutes decorating a bridge.

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    Lovely lady in a lovely setting!

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    A hansom church in Donauwörth.

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    A sculpture of Mary on the church grounds.

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    A unique and colorful door.

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    Bavarian influence throughout Donauwörth.

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    Leaving town via cobblestone streets.
    #10
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  11. viajarMOTO

    viajarMOTO Been here awhile

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    Romantic Road, Germany, Day 3 - Sunday, 29 Apr 2018 (continued…)

    Augsburg was the next town on the route. Although it was late in the afternoon we still got to see the Augsburg Cathedral, the Zentrum, and the Fuggerei. All interesting and offering lots of photographing opportunities.

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    Entering the town of Augsburg.

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    The entrance door of the Augsburg Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church founded in the 11th century in Romanesque style with 14th-century Gothic additions.

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    The chapel of the Augsburg Cathedral.

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    Prayer candles flicker in the darkened corners of the church.

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    A carving of Mary and Jesus as a child. The cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

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    The southern clerestory has five stained glass windows dated to the late 11th-early 12th centuries, the oldest in Germany. Portraits of the prophets Jonah, Daniel, Hosea, Moses and David are depicted.

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    The halls surrounding the main cathedral area.

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    The ornate windows looking into the central garden area.

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    The outside fountain has unique drains of bronzed fish heads.

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    A town map made finding the popular sites easy. It was late in the day but we still found plenty of stuff to see.

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    We even found a submarine in Augsburg!

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    Ornate 16th-century bronze statue of the Roman emperor Augustus located in the central square of Augsburg.

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    Augsburger Rathaus (Town Hall of Augsburg). The Goldener Saal, or Golden Hall, is the most impressive of the Rathaus's rooms.

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    Love the ornate and lifelike craftsmanship that went into this 1620s building.

    Our last stop in Augsburg was Fuggerei. I found this area especially interesting.

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    The Fuggerei is the world's oldest social housing complex still in use.

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    The cost of entrance into this community costed €4...

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    ...which cost more than 4.5 times the rent for a month to live here!...

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    ...Yes, you heard correct! The rent to live here inside this community is the same as it costed when it was built in the 1520s - just one Rheinischer Gulden (88 euro cents) for an entire year...

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    ...However it’s a exclusive membership - You must be a Roman Catholic and prove your faith and have become indigent without any outstanding debt...

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    ...and be willing to have tourist come into your community to take pictures...

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    ...of your religious statues...

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    ...and your beautiful gardens, walls, and simple living.

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    But all was not always so... The US Eighth Air Force bombed the Augsburg Messerschmitt works during the day on 25 February 1944. That night, RAF Bomber Command followed destroying a large part of the center of Augsburg.

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    The Fuggerei was heavily damaged by the bombings of Augsburg during World War II, but has been rebuilt in its original style.

    I was reminded of the true cost of war in many of the places we visited in Germany. The staggering human cost of 70 million lives lost across Europe and Asia, from 1939 to 1945, should not be forgotten, regardless of what country or nationality you are:


    The Fallen of WW II by Neil Halloran.

    Back to the ride report and something more positive...

    Chantil noticed a city on the map called Kissing. Go figure, a city named Kissing on the Romantic Road? Anyhow, we stopped long enough at the entrance of the town to "kiss" under the sign. Awww.

    We wanted to make it to a campsite near the town of Landsberg am Lech but we were a bit behind schedule (too much kissing?) and the sun had already set. It would be well into darkness before we would make it... so we found a secluded forest road just off the roadway and set up our tent and sleeping bags. Although "wild" camping like this in Germany is frowned upon (Germans are rule followers to a tee), we would get an early start and be on our way south to the next town before anyone would even know we were there.

    Until tomorrow…
    #11
  12. viajarMOTO

    viajarMOTO Been here awhile

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    Romantic Road, Germany Day 4 - Monday, 30 Apr 2018:

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    Map of today's travels to include the last section of the Romantic Road then to Triberg.

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    Since we were wild camping, which is frowned upon in Germany, we made sure to get up early and get a move on before 6:30.

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    The rain was just starting to sprinkle as we made our way back onto pavement.

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    We found a grocery store with and attached bakery where we enjoyed some delicious pastries for breakfast.

    Shortly after leaving the bakery the rain stopped, the clouds lifted, and we had nearly blue skies for the rest of the day.

    Our first stop was The Pilgrimage Church of Wies - another UNESCO World Heritage Site. We enjoyed the quick walk around the property and a view of the elegant interior before making our way south.

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    A nice view of the church from the walking pathway.

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    The door knocker on the main entrance. I wonder how old this is?

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    The altar is overwhelming with the incredible details and grandness of the entire structure.

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    Elegant statues adorn the flanks of the chapel.

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    The Wieskirche (Wies Church) was built between 1745 and 1754.

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    The C, M, B mean Christus Mansionem Benedict (Latin for ‘May Christ bless the house’). The ‘+’ represent the cross. 20 + 18 is the year. This is a popular thing among Germany. Our home also has it printed above the doorway.

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    Neighboring home with its unique window treatment.

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    Continuing south and just starting to see the glorious Alps!

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    Tomorrow will be May 1st and in Bavaria this is maypole day. Local folks dress in their finest costumes and celebrate. These maypoles are decorated with ribbons, wreaths, and signs representing local craftsmen’s guilds.

    Our next stop was the Schloss Neuschwanstein (New Swanstone Castle). I had been looking forward to this castle since we planned the trip. Unfortunately getting tickets on the German Labor Day weekend was going to be tough.

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    The closest to we got to Schloss Neuschwanstein was a drone flight.

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    The valley was incredibly beautiful with blue skies and yellow spring dandelions.

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    Picturesque perfect cabin in Bavaria.

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    A traditional horse cart being pulled under the shadow of the Neuschwanstein Castle.

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    The end of the Romantic Road brought us to Füssen.

    We parked the mules and walked around a bit but realized that it was going to be difficult to find a restaurant that was going to be able to serve is quick enough to get back on the road in order to make it to the Black Forest before the end of the day.

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    Hanging out with this hansom guy!

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    It was also difficult to see the Alps just on the horizon and realize that we would have to wait for a future date before we could ride into Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.

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    Onward to Triberg and the Black Forest where we got a hotel room for the night.

    Tomorrow we will explore Triberg, ride north through the Black Forest and the famous Schwarzwaldhochstraße, and then (sadly) return home...
    #12
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  13. viajarMOTO

    viajarMOTO Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Map of Day 5 where we left Triberg, passed through the Black Forest via B500 and then returned home.

    Triberg reminded me of Estes Park in Colorado - A mountain community with lots of touristy shops and hiking trails among pine trees and water falls.

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    Riding from the hotel to the Triberg Waterfall through tight but colorful streets.

    The Triberg waterfall area is a bit of a tourist location, where you have to pay to see the falls.
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    Do I really have to wear these goofy German clothes?

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    There was also a rope bridge and play area for the kiddies - us adults are kids at heart.

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    In town there are multiple vendors and shops selling everything that is the Black Forest.

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    We stopped by 'The House of 1000 Clocks' to see the wide variety of clocks they offered. I'll spare you all 1000 of them but here are a few of my favorites...

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    A bright red deer headed clock.

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    A modern clock with a nod to the traditional.

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    Google-eyed owl clock.

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    Of course, there are the traditional Black Forest ones.

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    And a mix of traditional with modern bright colored clocks.

    We made out way to Oli`s Schnitzstube who has spent his life making cuckoo clocks. The level of detail of his clocks was pretty incredible.

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    Oli also makes unique bird houses.

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    We ended up buying a tiny clock that we'll use as a Christmas tree ornament to remind us of our time in the Black Forest. Unfortunately this one is not made in Germany - it's made in Taiwan.

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    We had some miles to cover before the end of the day so we reluctantly left Triberg to head north.

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    Just a bit out of town is the WORLD LARGEST CUCKOO CLOCK! (Capital letters for effect!). We ended up timing our arrival well because it only goes off on the hour and half hours. Cool clock. Moving on...

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    Some local art showing the traditional clothing or Tracht of Gutach.

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    The red color of the pompons indicates that the woman was unmarried. What do you think? Do red pompons make a woman more desirable?

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    Ever since arriving in Europe, I've wanted to ride an Alpine luge. Sommerrodelbahn Gutach provided that opportunity for just 3 euros. A bit slower than I imagined but fun. Perhaps there are faster ones in the Alps?

    The highlight, at least for me, was riding the B500 or Schwarzwaldhochstraße (Black Forest Road) the entire 64 km from Freudenstad to Baden-Baden. This is regarded as one of the oldest and best know motorcycle roads in Germany.

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    Other riders enjoying the Schwarzwaldhochstraße.

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    Mummelsee is a lake half-way along the B500. According to legends, the lake is inhabited by a Nix and the King of the Mummelsee.

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    A tree with a bunch of love locks. It's seems "p and g" feel their love is bigger than all the others (roll eyes).

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    More clocks at Mummelsee Lake.

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    There were a few food trucks and a couple restaurants in the area...

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    ...and a shop selling all types of art and trinkets.

    We wanted to try Black Forest Cake before leaving the area so we found a seat among the tourists and waited for what we were hoping was a delicious desert.

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    Unfortunately the whip cream was so full of rum that it destroyed the taste of the cake. Perhaps we should have ordered the "virgin" Black Forest Cake?

    [​IMG]
    It was getting late, especially since we had quite a distance to go before getting home. Time to move on...

    [​IMG]
    ... but not before saying "goodbye" the the King of the Mummelsee.

    [​IMG]
    Back on the Schwarzwaldhochstraße. The temperature was near perfect and other seems to be enjoying the well maintained road through the forest.

    [​IMG]
    I expected heavy traffic on the German holiday but was pleasantly surprised when we only had to pass two slower vehicles and got passed once by a sport bike rider.

    Unfortunately, the fun part of our motorcycle trip had come to an end. It was now time to ride the 4.5 hours back home at 130 KPH (80 MPH) along the Autobahn.

    [​IMG]
    Almost home.

    Overall, we covered about 1,130 miles in five days and got to see a major part of southern Germany. We’ll definitely return to the Black Forest again and explore it a bit longer in the future. Until the next ride report... Cheers!!
    #13
    Bors, bomose, Hakatan and 9 others like this.
  14. Wyodrill

    Wyodrill Master Chief 1200

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    NE Wyoming
    Great reading, pictures outstanding! Thanks for sharing.
    #14
    viajarMOTO likes this.
  15. BillUA

    BillUA Las Vegas, NV

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    682
    Location:
    Las Vegas Nevada
    Really enjoyed the report!

    ich liebe Deutschland!
    #15
    viajarMOTO likes this.
  16. brnsrgn

    brnsrgn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    IL
    Enjoyed your pics. Drove this same area in a 911 turbo cab and had a blast. Other favorite area is to wander along the Neckar Valley.

    Thanks
    #16
    viajarMOTO likes this.
  17. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,099
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    Nice report and great pictures. Thanks for sharing.
    #17
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  18. greenmtndave

    greenmtndave Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    312
    Location:
    Elmore, Vermont
    I really enjoyed your report and great pics. Thanks for taking the effort to share.
    #18
    viajarMOTO likes this.
  19. franken

    franken Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    329
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Great report and fantastic pics. Thanks for sharing.
    #19
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  20. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    24,113
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    glad to find this one. awesome info. i have 5 days to burn in heidelberg before heading north to meet friends. taking this for my notes and routes. thanks.
    #20
    viajarMOTO and BillUA like this.