Saturday 14 September 2013
Another good nights sleep and then it was time to wander up the road to the main hotel for breakfast.
As usual there was a large selection of food. We selected our regular light selection of food:
1) Mixed muesli and cereals with milk
2) Bread rolls with ham, cheese, salami, smoked salmon etc (James also had jam/marmalade)
3) A hard boiled egg
5) Fresh fruit
6) A mini pastry
You can see why, after all that lot, we don’t need any other food until at least midday!
Today’s planned route was as follows:
This was a shade under forty miles so one of the longer days on this leisurely tour.
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, half of today would be continuing to follow the Tauber river but we would then strike out across the hillls to Würzburg.
The path out of Bad Mergentheim was easy and we soon left the town behind. Here it is visible in the distance.
We rode along a nice, smooth cycle track for a fair way, making reasonable progress and fortunately dodging the rain, although there were some heavy-looking clouds at times.
I passed a very weird looking pear tree – the pears were large, lumpy, odd-looking. I wasn’t sure if it was a diseased tree or supposed to be like this. I’m not sure the photo worked very well though!
In March 2014 I received a message from a reader which said the following:
Hallo,hab eben deinen Bericht über die Romantische Straße gelesen,die “Birnen”die du am 14.September fotografiert hast sind Quitten.
So these ‘pears’ are actually ‘quince’, which I probably ought to have recognised as they do appear from time to time in the UK but my botanical knowledge is a bit lacking!
We rode through Edelfingen and then Unterbalbach at which point we crossed the river to the west side again. We skirted past Königshofen and continued on to Lauda (the two towns have sort-of merged into one now).
Lauda was interesting for several reasons. Firstly, there was this rather nice piece of sculpture although we think someone may have nicked his front wheel!
It’s made of metalwork from the Lauda company (looks like they make various steel bits and bobs). Here is a close-up of his face.
And the explanation.
The other interesting thing was that we had lots of kilometre markers along our path. White ones with orange numbers and orange ones with (lower) white numbers. They were for a 10km or 20km race which was presumably taking place later on today.
There was a lovely long, straight section of this cycle pathh/running track to Distellhausen. I had got a bit ahead of James at this point and a chap in a car with trailer (who was putting out the running distance boards) accosted me with “God Save The Queen!” (I was wearing my Union Jack buff on my head so it made me pretty obviously British). He was clearly Mr Sporty as he told me he’d been at the London Olympics, Beijing, the Moscow World Championships recently and more. We had a short chat before we carried on.
Looking across from Lauda to Gerlachsheim we had a good view of a hill with some vines on it.
We also passed a small field of hops.
And then rode under the motorway, the A81.
We rode through Dittingheim and then made our way to Tauberbishofsheim, a larger town along this route.
It had this rather unhelpful bit of cycle path!
However it did not defeat me!
At the top was this posh tower, part of the Kurmainzisches Schloss, and a wedding party outside.
We had seen loads and loads of political campaigning during our time in Germany and had earlier seen a motorhome festooned with placards and pictures of Alois Gerig, the CDU candidate. He was campaigning himself in Tauberbischofsheim – I recognised his face from one of the thousands of posters.
We skirted around the CDU stall so we didn’t have to talk politics.
The eagle-eyed among you will notice that we were still in Baden Württemburg as the comparable party in Bavaria is the CSU.
After we left the centre of Tauberbischofsheim the Romantische Straße route followed the main road but on a cycle path beside it. We saw lots of signs for a bike shop, Esser, and soon enough the shop appeared – the other side of the main road. However there was an obvious bit of cross-grass-verge cycling to bring you up to the shop so I walked it with Alfie.
The shop was huge!
And amongst the vast amount of stock they had what I was looking for – a water bottle with lid cover. Hurrah! So I bought it for 5,99€. James and I have both had new water bottles this holiday (although he didn’t have to pay for his, it was a free gift!)
The pictures on the side of this water bottle suggest that if I drink from it I will get much better at scaling mountains. Which is handy.
We rode into Hochhausen, the point where we were to leave the Tauber valley. I noticed this interesting way of growing a squash plant – it was climbiing along the fence!
And then we reached the significant point – a little bridge over the Tauber which then takes us to Werbach and the new river valley, following the course of the Weizbach.
Here is James crossing over.
We waved goodbye to the Tauber and headed north-east for the first time today. It was probably a coincidencce but it immediately started to spit with rain which was annoying.
We stopped after half a mile at a rather impressive bench area beside a children’s playgound. Not just any bench but an oversized, recumbent-shaped bench!
Here is James enjoying the swinging chair version.
And here are the two of us sitting on that swing (sorry for the bad self-portrait photo, our arms aren’t long enough to take a decent pic like this!)
We wended our way past lots of allotments in Werbach, a sight that would become very familiar today as we rode up this valley. People seemed to grow lots of their own vegetables and masses of flowers too – it was lovely. Anyway, there was this impressive pumpkin display outside one house.
We passed the Liebfrauenbrunnkapelle as the rain came down a bit harder.
In Werbachhausen I saw this sign for the Romantische Straße and once again got Alfie to pose.
We were now on the penultimate page of our Bikeline guide map book – we had almost reached our destination! Well, we were twenty miles away, but that wasn’t much.
The terrain flattened out a bit briefly although most of the time we had been steadily climbing.
Here is a strip of land beside a field that is growing flowers – loads of ’em.
We rode through Wenkheim in the drizzle and then realised we were once again crossing into Bavaria – here is the sign for Würzburg.
This photo hasn’t come out too well but the house had brown wood and green walls so looked like a mint choc chip house!
More attractive gardens in Unteraltertheim.
Our plan was to stop for lunch in Altertheim at a bakery. However, when we arrived the bakery was shut. A chap was sitting on a step near it (outside the Feuerwehr) and I asked him about food establishments. He said there was only one place in this village and it was up a massive hill but gave us directions and we set off. It was indeed hilly but we found ourselves eventually at a guest house right out on its own up a hill. It was unusual in that it had four Kegelbahn (skittles) lanes.
We were the only customers initially although the owner had his two young boys playing in the restaurant. They were a bit too noisy for my liking (I don’t like children) and we also had the common issue that children don’t understand my German; I think they haven’t heard enough foreigners speaking their language to get their ears into what they were saying. One little boy was really interested in James’s bike and kept saying “Fahrrad” but we weren’t able to communicate any further with him.
James ordered a beer.
And some minestrone soup.
With some herby pizza bread.
I had onion soup.
With garlic pizza bread.
It was all very tasty and the warming soup was just what we needed, having ridden through drizzle for a good hour.
We knew this village was the end of us following the Weizbach river and we now had to climb our way over the hills to get to the next valley, the Main River valley. This involved a fairly reasonable climb which was fortunately on a very quiet road so we could take our time.
At the top of this climb we went through a wood which had the same Romantische Straße map as we had seen right back down near Füssen. James is indicating where we have got to now.
The route then did a steep downhill (great fun, I got up to 40mph even though I had the brakes partially on) and then we crossed over the A3 motorway (along which we will drive tomorrow) before climbing up the other side again. The climb was hard work!
We rode through Waldbrunn and then Eisingen where we took a slight wrong turn and had to retrace about 300 metres. From there we cycled along the ridge with views both sides – lots of wind turbines visible on the horizon all around.
After Eisingen the route went briefly through some more woodland but this time as an unmade track. Fortunately it was a reasonable quality track but it did have an interesting hazard at the end!
We headed downhill into Hochberg and wended our way through there towards Würzburg. Another wrong turn, probably because of a missing road sign or two, meant that we went about a mile out of our way before we realised our mistake. This was a bit frustrating so near to our final destination but we eventually found the correct cycle path which we zoomed down towards Würzburg.
There were some interesting views on the way down the hill, such as Festung Marienberg (the Marienberg Fortress) which is mighty impressive.
The cycle path went through a tunnel briefly…
…which turned out to be under a church (St Burkard)!
Then we had to ride/walk over the Mainbrücke which took ages as it was heaving with people. There was a festival on today and so there were people everywhere, drinking beer, listening to music etc. There was also a giant polar bear on the bridge (something to do with Greenpeace). I think it was a robotic bear as it moved and looked at people but for a few moments I wondered if it was real and if it would dislike a recumbent trike passing right before it!
James took this view from the bridge across at Festung Marienberg.
Because of the crowds we did a bit of a detour to get round the centre of the city and soon ended up at the main station, where we had taken our train to Füssen a week or so ago. James photographed the fountain there as evidence.
Our hotel is a mile or so north-east of the centre so we rode our way up to Lindleinsmühle, travelling some of the way on a road with tram tracks which is always a bit scary. And then we arrived, finally, at our destination – the Romantic Road was complete!!!
Here’s the Garmin statistics for today:
Total tour distance is 287 miles.
We put our bikes into the car and checked into the hotel. We had a smaller room this time but it shared a feature that we have found in many hotels on this tour – the loo seems fixed rather high on the wall. You have to be on tiptoe to touch the floor whilst sitting on the seat. Odd, that.
After a short rest we headed off by car to a local supermarket to get some supplies and then went to a local pizzeria for our evening meal. It was quite late by this time (8pm when we arrived) but the place was full and it had lots of awards hanging on the walls – it was clearly popular.
James had two beers this evening.
We had some doughsticks to start.
I had a lasagne:
With side salad.
Jaames had a pizza.
I realised, whilst eating, that I hadn’t actually had a cake today. Shock horror!!!!!!!!
So I thought we deserved dessert.
James had tiramisu.
And I treated myself to profiteroles.
All very yummy!
We headed back to the hotel, both feeling quite tired after the day’s hills. We talked a bit over our meal about which was the best day and what were the nicest sections of the route – we’ll have to think a bit more about it before giving a definitive answer, but I think Rothenburg ob der Tauber must definitely rank as a highlight.
Tomorrow we are driving back to the Hook of Holland via Kempen (where I will be living from next April). A chance to see Germany at 80mph on the Autobahn rather than 9mph on a cycle path…