Archive for June, 2015

Tirol and Alps

Arrival – days 8 and 9 (Saturday and Sunday)

Previously:

Days 6 and 7 https://dsugdenholidays.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/head-for-the-hills/

Days 4 and 5 https://dsugdenholidays.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/477/

Days 2 and 3 https://dsugdenholidays.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/the-hard-bit/

Day 1 https://dsugdenholidays.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/setting-off/

Schwangau is a great place to visit if you want to see the two castles, to explore lakes, to cycle, to walk and/or to climb (or hang glide – but then, that’s sport and I don’t do sport J). It is situated just outside Fussen, which is recognised as the last stop on the Romantische Straße.

We stayed at the Weinbauer hotel/guesthouse, which is pleasant enough – but badly placed on the main road. If like us, your rooms are at the front (rooms 1-6), you will find yourself battered by the constant barrage of noise from passing traffic. It quietens a little during the night but you HAVE TO HAVE your windows closed, which is no good if it’s warm. Also, although there is WiFi Internet in these rooms, it is intermittent and weak. We ate in the hotel restaurant, which is open to the public and very busy. I had a delicious goulasch, which was on the special board, Jo had schnitzel, Sharon had a big salad with chicken goujons and Mike had what was described as meat loaf on the ‘English’ menu – but turned out to be spam! (Actually it was a type of leberwurst – http://www.foodgeeks.com/recipes/german-homemade-leberwurst-pork-and-liver-sausage-20324)

Weinbauer hotel

We set off for our final destination on Saturday morning, 27th June.

Although not as good weather-wise as Friday, it was still a nice day and only rained a little as we crossed the mountains into Austria. We hadn’t far to travel (we are now based near Immenstadt) so we detoured through the Austrian Tirol and German Alps (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allg%C3%A4u). Although very twisty, the roads are good and the views are terrific and well worth taking the extra time. [If you’re interested >>>]: We went from Schwangau to Reutte, to Weißenbach, to Nesselwängle, to Oberjoch and almost to Sonthofen, which describes itself as the most southerly town in Germany. However, we detoured again and went on to Oberstdorf – which to me seems to be further south than Sonthofen. Who knows!

Oberstdorf

Oberstdorf, is a winter sports destination but also has many hiking trails to please walkers throughout the year. It rained again while we were here to so we didn’t bother.

The apartment is in-between Sonthofen and Immenstadt, in a village called Blaichach. We’re on the top floor of a large three-storied house. There are three bedrooms; we’re using one as a sitting room, two W/Cs, one with bath and one with shower and a huge kitchen-diner. All rooms have magnificent views over the mountains just to the south.

Breakfast, Sunday.

Because we’ve eaten out for more than a week now, we decided that Saturday night and all day Sunday would be home-cooked/prepared and on Saturday night we sat down to a huge salad with feta cheese and lots of German bread. Sunday breakfast was similarly fabulous with sliced ham, boiled eggs, strawberries, freshly caught bread (I walked into the village and caught it myself) prune mousse jam [pflaumen-mus] and freshly ground coffee we’d bought earlier in Dinkelsbühl. Delicious.

We spent the rest of Sunday relaxing and getting a feel for the area.

Head for the hills

Friedberg – Day 6 and 7 (Thursday and Friday)

On Thursday and Friday we toodled further down the Romantic Road.

We kept off the beaten track as much as we could and found some wonderful roads to drive on and a couple of pretty towns we would otherwise have missed. The weather had begun to change on Thursday and although it still rained, it was only a little and we saw much more sun.

We stopped en route, for a walk and for coffee, at Dinkelsbühl. This is one of the road’s famed walled towns and was the beginning of our off-the-beaten-track detour. It is a lovely town, with many old-fashioned, well kept houses and a walking route around the outside of the walls. By now we had seen all shapes, sizes and colours of old-fashioned central-European buildings (Rotherberg had more than it’s fair share) and it was a pleasure to see that someone had restored one of the tiniest here in Dinkelsbühl.

We stopped for lunch at Harburg, where there is a Schloss/Berg/Castle on the hill (according to the link, Michael Jackson tried to buy the castle, calling it “the castle of my dreams”). The town itself, which is beautiful and well worth a visit, was cut off from the main route because of road works. Yet, because the Castle said it was still open, we were able to ignore the road signs and then (after visiting the castle) cut through into town. The Castle entry was €3 each, which we thought was OK, but in fact gave us access to nowhere other than the restaurant and castle grounds. If we’d paid the full €7 we could have had an hour long escorted tour of the castle and learned a little more of it’s history. Yorkshire born tight-wads!

Because we didn’t think Mike’s back would stand the walk down through woods into town, Sharon and I went alone. We ate in Harburg and they, Jo and Mike, ate in the Castle restaurant. We spent the night at Hotel Zum Brunnen in Friedberg. If you ever go to this hotel, you will find it behind and above the street it says it’s on. This is not a bad thing, as it is in a quiet position, but it confuses the SatNav completely.

Friedberg is a busy little town just outside the much bigger city of Augsburg and right on the Romantic Road. We had a good walk around here, then had a few drinks and then had dinner.

I had the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten. I didn’t photograph the food because the picture would have just looked like slices of meat, egg and tomato floating in a bowl of clear brown soup. Which it wasn’t! The dish had been described to me, both by Jo and by the waiter (interpreted by Jo) and I honestly thought they were describing brawn or the French Pate de Tete. What it ACTUALLY was; was slices of meat, egg and tomato SET in a well-spiced, acidic aspic jelly! This came with sauté potatoes laced with lardons of bacon. It was OK – but … weird. The picture here (from t’internet with thanks, is the nearest image i can find to show what I had 🙂 ) I think it was called Tellersulz.

Friday was a gorgeous day with lots of sunshine and lots more of the narrow, winding country roads, which are the REAL romantic road. We stopped along the way and sat watching swans and all manner of water fowl flying in and out of a lake formed along the River Lech and then had lunch in Schongau, where there is another walled town. Here, we were able to eat our lunch in the sun, in the town square and watch he Friday market packing up for the day.

Schongau

We arrived in Schwangau, the day’s destination, in time for a good walk around the town and time to relax. The hotel http://www.hotel-weinbauer.de/ is well placed to see the nearby http://neuschwansteincastle.net/ perched on a not too distant mountain, and https://www.hohenschwangau.de/556.0.html which is not perched quite so high.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Days 4 and 5.

Today was a better day weather-wise, not much – but better. And, it was the first real day of our holiday, with only a little traveling involved – just enough to take us from Veitshöchheim to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, only around 50 miles on the motorway. But we detoured.

After breakfast we drove into Wurzburg for a few hours ‘looking around’. It was in the car park that we first encountered the Wurzburg ‘personality’ (or possibly the second, if the woman who said we were speaking too loudly in last night’s restaurant was a local). There was lots of standing around and shaking of heads and tutting. “Just think – an English car is trying to park in a German car park”. Tut tut.

Sadly, Mike had woken today with a debilitating back pain – so we explored the town as best we could while checking out a few Apothekes. It is probably worth spending more time exploring this city and maybe we will on another day, on another trip, but for now we had to get under way to see other places along our route. Next stop was Weikersheim.

This is a pretty little village just south of Wurzburg. We parked outside the town and followed a sculpture trail around the edge to get in from the top of town. All of the exhibits are by Gunter Stilling – see: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunther_Stilling and made (mostly? All?) of bronze. And mainly body parts!

We stayed in Rothenberg ODT for two nights.

Rothenburg city wallsThe first evening was spent in the delightful company of our friends Christoph and Edith, who live quite nearby. We’d arranged to meet them in one of the town’s hotels for a drink and to then drive out to a local restaurant they knew, just a small way back up towards Wurzburg. However, because Mike was still ill and had decided to stay in, we were all able to go in Christoph’s car. The food, the drink and the camaraderie was wonderful. Because it was a known venue, and we were with locals, we had the best advice for both food and for drink. I tried two Frankish beers; dark beers, which were delightful, and a local wine – Bacchus (halbtrocken).

 Sharon had Calves cheeks braised in beer, with potato dumplings, Jo had a trout dish that looked lovely and I had a HUGE pork chop with Spätzle and cauliflower. We had such a fabulous evening – thank you Christoph and Edith.

We spent the entire second day walking around the town walls (covered walls), drinking coffee and eventually, beer; and shopping. The town is ‘oldie worldlie’ quaint, but that disguises a keen eye for the tourist $$. The town was heaving with far eastern (Japanese? Chinese? Korean? Other?) and American tourists – all with full shopping bags and selfie-sticks. There are Christmas shops, open all the year round and who export to all parts of the world. Similarly, there are numerous toy and teddy-bear shops stocking all variety of old fashioned and new toys. I saw some really unusual and strange Steiff bears. I even bought a couple 🙂

On Christoph’s recommendation we ate that night at Hell. http://www.hoell.rothenburg.de/ Sharon had a schnitzel, whilst Mike and I had a special chanterelle dish with flour dumplings and meat (I chose bratwurst, but cannot remember what Mike or Jo had). Another great night with great, local, beer and wine.

The hard bit

Puxe. Day 2.

Elephant, CalaisWe arrived in Calais, all safe and well around mid afternoon on Saturday (20th). We’d left Catterick around 6.30am and arrived at Tesco, just outside the Euro Tunnel complex roughly 5 hours later. As we’d stopped and had breakfast on the way, that wasn’t bad timing at all.

Calais was cold. And windy. And then, later, wet. Brrr.

The hotel was what it always is here @ Hotel Meurice, comfortable and an easy place to spend the night. Because the weather was bad, Sharon was ill, I was threatening man-flu and the others were tired, we wolfed down an ‘ok’ pizza and went to bed.

We set off and headed for Metz, which is the nearest city to us here at Chateau de Puxe, around 9:00am and although the weather was hit and miss the whole way down, we arrived at 4:00pm – and only used the A roads (or N/D roads as they are here). We ate out this night, as the Chambre d’Hote couldn’t accommodate us (as we’d hoped, and as intimated on Booking.com). We ended up at le Crocus, Avenue de LaFayette. Not bad, but instantly forgettable food.

Veitshöchheim. Day 3.

Today was another wet and miserable day, worse in many ways than yesterday as the rain didn’t stop at any time.

 Pirmasens

We’d decided to avoid motorways en route to Veitshöchheim (which is just outside Wurzburg – at the top of the Romantic Road through Bavaria) and to enjoy the countryside. Hence, it took all day. We stopped for coffee and a cake at Pirmasens and then drove on through the drizzle until we arrived around 17:00.

The hotel is close to the river Main and the town has been developed around (I suspect) the tourist trade. It is typically German (clean, well ordered and tidy), with a variety of vibrant colours used to decorate the houses – ala Aberaeron.

We ate at a restaurant whose name I forget. The food and atmosphere was tremendous. We came back to the hotel to share this fact but the Internet (which has been a trial all week so far) was ‘down’. Grrrr.

And this morning it is still off – for the entire hotel. Hey ho.

 

 

 

Setting off

As stated in the itinerary’15, our 2015 summer holiday plans include a trip through France and Germany to explore the Romantic Road, Bavaria and the Alsace – with a week long stay along Bodensee. It will be a road trip, accompanied by Joanne (Sharon’s sister) and Mike (Joanne’s husband). Joanne speaks German fluently, so that will help.

Edeficio Alessandra

In April, Sharon and I went to Spain and stayed at the apartment for just over a week, which was just perfect. The weather was good to us and it was great for me, after my trip to Indiagot to keep moving :-).

We managed to eat at Las Islas a couple of time, something we’d been unable to do on previous visits, because they close from October to Easter and out visits have been over winter.

We’re currently in Catterick and will set off tomorrow morning to drive down the A1/A11 etc. to Folkstone and then on the EuroTunnel to Calais, where we will stay Saturday night. More from me later, as we go along.