Friday, April 30, 2010

Along the Romantische Strasse

By Claire
You may recall our difficulty finding our campground in Rothenburg due to torn up streets because of on going construction. With plans to drive the Romantic Road all the way to Füssen, we thought it would be a piece of cake since the road marker was just down the street. That was our first mistake. In fact, the day just didn't start out well. Cloudy skies for one--watching my shower gel container tip over the side of the soap dispenser tray, the top exploding on impact, was another.

It took an entire hour, first driving the wrong direction for 9 km., then back in Rothenburg, circling and circling, on the lookout for this so called well marked road, according to Rick Steves. I don't know if he let us down or if it was the Germans. The signage was horrible. We finally pulled into a gas station and while Chuck fueled up, I went inside to find someone who could speak English. It's been surprising how few people do speak English in Germany--but that's our problem, not theirs. We now always look for someone between 21 and 30. I found just the guy. His English was one of the best I've heard so far. He was having a coffee at a table standing up so I interrupted him to ask directions. He asked if I had a map. I showed him the one the campground owner had given us, telling him it was pretty useless. He agreed saying, "This is the worst map I've ever seen." He got a better one from the guy behind the counter; in fact, the guy pulled it off the wall. He then very explicitly explained, marked the map and even took me to the window and pointed to the stop light intersection where we would turn left. I was joyous!

We took off, turned left, then right, then right again onto the marked Romantic Road right onto the street that is closed for construction! Naturally, we only discovered this too late to turn around and, there was no place to do this. I'm puzzled why they didn't have signs showing a detour or at least a warning that all the way down the end of the street, you're screwed. Chuck carefully backed up the entire block--I was running ahead to give directions. I had him backing up, I put my hand up in the stop position and yelled stop but he didn't stop for another beat and by then he was into the hedge. More damage to the back. What happens is the bike rack becomes a projectile and pierces the skin of the camper. Oh, the frustration! Another repair job.

We continued on, Chuck quietly cursing and beating himself up. We did finally find the correct road, but the signs were few and far between. The interesting thing is that they are also in Japanese. Almost every sign we saw in Rothenburg in the shops and the museum were in English and Japanese. We did see quite a few Japanese tour groups so this must be a popular place for them.

Back on to what we were now calling the non-Romantic Road, we came to another small, medieval town with the Romantische Strasse brown sign pointing to the left towards their town center. But we wanted to go to Dinkelsbühl and it was supposed to be along the Romantic Road. We do try to follow the rules and the signs so off we went only to see signs for Dinkelsbühl heading back the way we came. We circled through the town, came out the other way, followed the stupid sign again, thinking we must have missed something, and came out the same way as before. Are we just exceptionally stupid or did the town folk turn the sign so everyone would come there to spend their money?

On the non-Romantic Road again, we shortly came to Dinkelsbühl. It's a cute town so we parked and walked in. I spotted a nice café and told Chuck he needed and deserved a treat.

Dinkelsbühl with ominous rain clouds overhead

Luscious cake

German Bear Claw

Both were delicious--my bear claw was stuffed with almond paste and nuts while Chuck's cake was light and creamy. Somewhat restored, we strolled around, both agreeing it's a wonderful little town that doesn't hold a candle to Rothenburg.

Dinkelsbühl house

Dinkelsbühl houses

We drove off, enjoying the beautiful countryside, but not the smell of manure. This is a beautiful area but doesn't quite live up to the descriptions and wasn't as pretty as the Wachau Valley near Vienna. We were interested to find out that the town of Nördlingen, along our way, is known for its 15-mile-wide valley, which is an impact crater blasted out by a meteor 15 million years ago. This medieval town also gained fame as the "grain basket" because of its rich soil. Apollo astronauts did research and field training here; there is even a museum dedicated to the study of the meteor.

Romantisch Strasse

Romantische Strasse--frolicking cows

We are now in Füssen at Camping Brunnen. It's billed as a 5 star campground and it does have heated bathroom floors. So far, so good. Chuck has taped up the damage as a temporary fix.

I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow. ~ Scarlett O'Hara, Gone With The Wind


Diane said...

I'm always so impressed with how you two keep your senses of humor. Of course chocolate cake and German bear claws help! Why do German cows look so much happier and healthier than other cows? Bavarian cows were among the happiest and healthiest I've ever seen . . . these frolicking cows look pretty happy too.

Karin said...

Ahhhhh, yes! Dinkelsbuhl, a name out of the past, as well as Fussen. You mentioned the countryside being a bit unimpressive (maybe even a little disappointing), but what unimpressed me was all the signs with Japanese on just looks weird to see that in Germany..but it is true, they are really great travellers and it would be a great help for them.

Sorry for your camper "backup" problem...but I agree with Diane, it IS impressive how you keep your sense of humor...although I bet that chocolate cake and bear claw DID indeed help! Your quote at the end is perfect! :)

Karin on Paros

Elisabetta said...

HAPPY MAY FIRST, the celebration of the Worker!
I have a joke 4 U, told to me by a dad when I was teaching 6th grade in Catholic school, about 100 yrs ago:
How do you know whether you've gone to heaven or hell after you depart this planet? Answer: in heaven you will find British police,German auto mechanics, French chefs, Swiss administrators, and Italian lovers.
In hell? British chefs, French administrators, Italian auto mechanics, Swiss lovers, & German police (groan at end - it's an old joke.)
So you're about to enter the BEST administrated land of all, (perfect signage) where my Swiss friends told me, "even the dirt is clean!" Then onward to U.K ~
These days they feature yummy Thai & ethnic restaurants in England, otherwise you'd return to States thinner. Maybe you should freeze a few German pastries before you head north.

You guys crack me up! Claire, when you wrote of your string of bad-omens on this day, I had a cruder name change in mind for the Romantic Strasse ~ then when you mentioned the smell of manure, that did it!!
It shall henceforth be known as "Chuck & Claire's S--- Road!"

Here's a pun for the road ahead: when you arrive in Switzerland, you will find both "utter and udder perfection!" Auf wirdersehen!

Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.