Romantische Straße – Füssen to Schongau

Saturday 7 September 2013

After a good night’s sleep we opened the shutters to discover a beautiful blue sky. The weather forecast of thunder and lightning seems to have avoided us, at least for the morning.

The Hotel Christine has an extremely high rating on the hotel website and up till breakfast we hadn’t thought it anything particularly special. It was a nice hotel but like many others I have stayed in in Germany which only warrant 8/10. Hotel Christine was 9.2/10.

However, when we went down to breakfast, the reason for the 9.2 rating became clear.

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They also bought over a basket of bread and rolls and a plate of scrambled egg each. Everything was absolutely delicious and we probably managed our five a day fruit and veg just this morning!

Our washing had not quite dried overnight as we had ended up wearing our cycling kit until eight in the evening, but hopefully it will finish drying tonight.

The forecast for after this weekend is cooler with a bit more rain so we will make the most of today’s great weather as we cycle 32 miles, taking in what is considered the most beautiful Rococco churches in the world, the Wieskirche at Steingaden.

Here is today’s route:

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We set off at 10 AM in beautiful sunshine, retracing yesterday’s route towards Neuschwanstein although cutting a corner and missing out the main route to the castle.

James posed beside this huge propeller near the hydroelectric plant.

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We were heading north easterly for the first few miles, running alongside the edge of the Alps with them always to our right.

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Here I am with Neuschwanstein Castle in the background.

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We cycled on what must be an old floodplain and saw to the right hand side the St Coloman pilgrimage church built in 1673. Neuschwanstein Castle is visible behind it.

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As the weather was good I decided to take off my mudguards and see if they would fit in my panniers – they did!

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The route took us past the Bannwaldsee (lake), the smaller of the two lakes near Füssen, with views across it to the Alps behind.

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We were slowly getting our eye in with regard to the signposts as the little signs for Romantische Strasse seem to be quite hard to see.

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Here you can see the sign just above James’s shoulder.

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We continued on, making a small detour to a village in which our guidebook said there was a bike shop. The bell on my bike had broken on our train journey and it’s really useful to have a bell when out cycling in Germany on busy paths. We found the shop but it was closed – undoubtedly they were out cycling instead, and I didn’t blame them on such a beautiful day!

The route continued on but unfortunately changed from asphalt to loose chippings, something that you often find in Germany and which is a pain in the neck for a three wheeled bike like mine.

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This carried on for a couple of miles which meant we were going a lot slower. There were also some fairly steep up and down hills which slowed me down/sped me up so we were moving at a fairly variable pace. The views were always lovely though so we were happy to trundle along slowly, even if it was getting a bit hot at times.

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These photos were taken near Trauchgauer-Ach, as is this panoramic video with cowbell accompaniment.

Here James went ahead up a hill to see the view whilst I trundled up in a very low gear.

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My Garmin said that we were at 2870 feet, having started at Füssen at 2500 feet.

We were heading for the Wieskirche in Steingaden which is one of the most famous rococo churches in the world.

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It was awarded world heritage status by UNESCO in 1983 and as soon as we stepped in we could see why.

The church is famous for Johann Baptist Zimmermann’s ceiling fresco in the trompe l’oeil style.

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I loved this candle with the Hebrew for Yahweh at the bottom, along with the rainbow (gay pride in a church?!)

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Even the pews had beautifully carved ends.

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We spent a little while in the church and once we stepped outside were pleased to find a café. It was 1pm so time for a drink. My attention was caught by some special things being cooked…

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They were freshly made giant ring doughnuts with sugar and cinnamon. I requested one without cinnamon as I’m not keen on it. Within minutes both had arrived – mega yummy!

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Light and fluffy inside too!

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And as it was the first proper day of cycling James had a Radler (half beer, half lemonade).

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It was 10 to 2 when we were ready to set off after a nice break and food and chance to chill out. We were halfway to our destination – it’s a short day of 32 miles but we had a fair few ups and downs to come.

This is looking back at the beautiful Wieskirche.

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From this point the official cycle route splits two ways. We decided to take the easternmost route which our English guide book suggested took in more of the beautiful towns on route.

This was possibly a more hilly route though as we discovered as we made our way up the very steep hill into Wildsteig. This photo is looking back down the hill – James had gone up quite fast and managed to twist the end on his handlebar as he was hanging on to it as he powered up the hill!

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A bit of forward planning and studying the Bikeline German guide book maps showed us the next section was off road with loads of ups and downs, including several very steep bits. However the main road took a less hilly route and was only slightly longer so we decided to use that instead.

This turned out to be an excellent plan as we had a fantastic swooping down hill and I got up to 38 mph!

We joined up with the official route just before Rottenburg.

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At Rottenberg we nearly went wrong and missed an underpass but a man standing in his front garden told us the correct route. Very helpful chap!

We continued on along the official route which was through a very quiet hamlet which rejoiced in the name Moos. Cue lots of photos of cows and the village sign!

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I liked this road name too.

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We then followed the cycle route beside the main road the B23 with a couple of short climbs but nothing too strenuous. There was one more significant climb which went over a small hill where the main road diverted round it. This included a rather exciting 20% descent – you can see the sign here. I waited for the tractor to pass before I headed down.

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Sadly I couldn’t get up much speed down here as I was following a car and he was being very careful.

We saw four tractors go past in close succession. They were all very interesting old ones and one of the drivers was wearing traditional dress so we wondered if there was some kind of Bavarian tractor rally going on.

Here is a look back to the Alps just before they went out of sight for good on this tour.

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We had to cross over and under the main road on a few occasions and I was rather impressed by this set of paths as it gave wide vehicles like mine a good turning circle to make the corner!

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Here is some local wildlife.

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As we approached Peiting there was a disagreement between our satnav route and the cycle route signs. We ended up going with the satnav route into Peiting which passed the road sign for the Romantische Strasse.

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The road route and cycle route are actually quite different, I believe the cycle route is 30% longer, for example. As the bikes are kept away from the main roads we don’t see these signs all that often.

At Peiting I saw an Aldi supermarket so stopped to get some biscuits to keep us going when we got to the hotel.

Here we are entering Schongau, our town for this evening.

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Schongau turned out to be rather hilly and we did a detour to reach our hotel to avoid going over an enormous hill. The hotel itself was up a hill and we ended up walking the final 10 metres to the hotel reception area.

At the same time as we arrived a large group of cyclists rolled up. They had no luggage with them, it turned out to have been delivered for them. They had enormous suitcases – that is cycle touring with all the luxuries.

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The receptionist told us that the bicycle parking was back down the hill again under the hotel which is built into the hill so we got to cycle or walk down that steep ramp again.

The bike parking turned out to be the wine cellar – it was dark and cool and had a small stream running down the middle. A very unusual alternative to our shed at home for the bikes.

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I took a photo of my Garmin for today’s figures. We cycled just over 32 miles and at a very leisurely 8.8 mph. It was lovely to stop regularly and look around at the scenery so we were very happy with how we rode today.

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After the traditional shower, writing up of the blog, washing clothes, generally faffing about it was time to go out for our evening meal.

We are staying in hotel Holl which has a restaurant but it is closed at the weekend. The receptionist told us about the Brewery down the road which I had seen on our way here. They did food.

So we wandered down together, took a seat and enjoyed the surroundings of a brewery plus restaurant.

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James ordered a Weissbier which was brewed at this brewery.

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(The glass is from a different brewery).

We ordered food, James had a chicken kebab from their barbecue, I had a German style burger.

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Both were very tasty.

After our meal, although it was dark we thought it worth visiting the town walls which are very impressive.

This is the view of the outside of the brewery.

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From here we walked for five minutes to the town walls. They were nicely floodlit – I’m not sure how effective the photos are but hopefully it gives you an impression.

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We had a little walk through the town inside the walls and then came out of the Maxtor Gate and walked back to the hotel.

We had a message from a friend who lives near here to say she may be able to meet us on Monday with her partner whom we also know. That’d be great, hopefully we can sort it out. They are both keen cyclists so perhaps we’ll be able to have a bit of a ride together.

Tomorrow we are heading to just south of Augsburg to a place called Königsbrunn. The weather forecast is reasonable although we may get a small amount of rain. Monday onwards looks a bit cooler and wetter, but it won’t dampen our spirits at all!

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