We did 14 days, 2 countries, 5 cities, 10 towns, 3 Castles, 3 Inns, 2 hotels, 1 apartment, 1 guest room (at my brother-in- law and sister- in- laws house) and 1900 miles of driving, where there is no speed limit! And we'd do it again in a minute.
Staying in Castles was incredible. Each of them was so different yet they all managed to turn their Castles into luxury hotels while keeping their authenticity, case in point, all the doorways my husband had to duck for. Our favorite castle was Auf Schoenburg. Our room was amazing with an incredible view of the Rhine River and came complete with a late night scary Castley thunder storm.
Every town looked like a puzzle with different color rooftops and church steeples. We fell madly in love with all the window boxes full of gorgeous flowers. My husband is Swedish on his Dad's side and German on his Mom's and with the help of some family tree history from his Aunt, a women at the travel information store in Schmalkalden, who spoke very little English, and an old lady hanging over her balcony, (who spoke no English but keep talking), we were able to find the house where his great, great, great grandfather was born!
The food was fabulous and in spite of what I heard, you can eat healthy in Germany. This helped to balance out the daily pastry, apple strudel and the amazing Bavarian pretzels. Not to mention those wicked little Nutella packets they give you everywhere. If you have never dipped a Bavarian Pretzel into a Nutella packet while speeding on the Autobahn you haven't lived. The breakfasts were our favorite, I'm now hooked on 5 minute eggs and I'm trying to keep the slow pace of savoring meals.
We stopped at 8 towns along the Romantic Road in Bavaria. Our favorite was the town of Dinkelsbuhl. At the morning market a woman heard us speaking English and asked where we were from. Turned out she, (Linda), lives in Lake Havasu but was born in Dinkelsbuhl and comes every summer with her family. She had a basket of veggies and had just come from a lavender making class, so I liked her instantly. She ended up taking us on our own private tour which ended at her house. I was so excited to see inside one of these doll houses, so charming, each one showing off the most beautiful window boxes overflowing with flowers. Everything was perfect from a five star Castle to a two star Inn run by an old man named Eric and his wife, decked out in Liederhosen and insistent that we throw away our "stupid" GSP and let him plan out the rest of our trip
A few silly things you need to know if traveling to Germany. There is no ice tea. This may not be important to you but turns out I'm an addict, it was a 14 day withdrawal for me. Internet is not readily available through 3 foot stone walls. It took me 6 days to get over it. No one knows what a restroom is, it's toiletten or Water Closet (WC). It rains. Living in CA I forget this happens in most other places on a fairly regular basis. I had a suitcase full of sundresses. I was saved by 2 cardigans, a big scarf and a denim jacket. I'm not one who wears sneakers unless I'm working out, but boy was I glad I brought them. Castles have hundreds of steps, no elevators and miles of driveways.
If you want to rent a car and need an automatic, reserve way in advance as there are not very many, most all of cars are stick shift. My husband wanted a stick even though that meant he would do all the driving. It was easy to rent a car, in spite of what we read on-line. We were excited to get a little forgien car. And then they gave us a Ford Fiesta, electric blue. Seriously, I think they marked us as Americans so that everyone on the Autobahn knew to pass us, and by pass I mean nearly run us off the road. No speed limits on the Autobahn. My husband did great except for the near head on collision. Note, one way and two way roads are not marked well. The lights go from red to yellow to green instead of green to yellow to red. This is so you can shift on yellow, heaven forbid you waste a minute going 0 - 100 in a split second. I attempted to give the stick shift a try. I shifted and went what felt like 20 ft in the air. I happily went back to navigating. This too was a challenge as the GSP was in German.
If you are planing a trip to Germany please feel free to e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like details on where to stay, eat, etc.
Here are a few of the 4,000 pictures we took! Oh yes we did. Hope you enjoy them!
Castle Hugenpoet in Essen.
The town of Oberwesel.
Castle Auf Schoenburg
Wrote in my journal at night in this spot while it thunder-stormed, serial.
Cruising along the Rhine for a visit to the town of St. Gore.
Best dinner view ever!
The perfect spot for breakfast at this Castle.
The view from our room.
The only spot in the castle to get an Internet connection!
The tower, complete with Reponsels hair hanging down.
St. George Church
The Gold Room in the Rathaus in Augsberg.
The Church in the Meadow in Steingaden.
The Ettal Abbey.
The Church at The Ettal Abbey.
Castle Nueschwanstein. After touring the Castle we went to take this picture from Marys Bridge. A rickety wooden bridge hung by rope with way too many people on it in the rain and high above a river of rapids. I just wanted to immediately get off, I swear I took this picture with my eyes closed and then ran off.
Bavarian Pretzel motif on the Church in Dinkelsbuhl.
When I was a kid my Dad use to always find some statue or totem pole to stand next to and make a funny face so we could take his picture. My husband is carrying on the tradition.
The town of Rothenburg.
Notice the doorway and the 6'2 head.
Holding court in the royal sitting room of the honeymoon suite at Castle Colmburg.
On the St. Charles Bridge in Prague.
A double rainbow served up with dinner.
The Town square in Wurzberg.
Great, Great, Great Grandpa Valentine's home (renovated.)