The Romantic road runs 400km from Wurzburg in central Germany all the way down to Fussen near the Austrian border. We had two stops on it- near Rothenberg ob der Tauber near the top, and near Fussen at the bottom.
With a heatwave still blazing, we arrived at our next campsite, which sounded like a quaint farm from its website, but was an all singing all dancing holiday destination, very popular with Germans for weekend breaks. It had an impressive swimming lake with fountains, playgrounds, pony and tractor rides, an adventure park, as well as plenty of animals to see being a working farm.
We spent our first day hiding from the sun and checking out the swimming lake. Evelyn loved the sandy beach at the side and the playground right next door, but was a bit of a mard when it came to the lake itself. She was however a big fan of the rabbits and cows on the farm once she’d got her confidence up a bit.
I’d picked a fairly central location for the things that we wanted to see in the area, but apparently not learning from last time, it appeared I’d thrown my catchment too wide! It’s always a challenge when you have limited time and want to have decent stretches between stops, but there’s so much to see all along our route. This is one area in particular that would benefit from the stop-start abilities of a campervan over a caravan.
Our first day out was to Bamberg and Wurzburg. Bamberg is a beautiful old town of rickety towering wooden houses, winding cobbled streets and amazing architecture, much like most of the towns on the romantic road, but the first we had experienced. We loved wandering the town and working our way up to the palace gardens for views back over town.
Having not left very early, and got sucked in to Bamberg, we then had an hour’s drive to Wurzburg, not arriving til 3pm and with a grumpy Stan who had cried most of the journey there. Caught off guard, we realised we didn’t have the time or energy for the walk up the hill to Marienberg fortress so just had to admire it from afar.
Having given up dairy temporarily to test Stan for a dairy intolerance (no ice cream, no CHEESE!), Laura was very pleased to find a place that did vegan ice cream. We wandered the streets for a while, but Wurzburg had much more of a city feel that Bamberg and we struggled to find its charm.
We headed out to the palace and whilst exploring its gardens, stumbled across a wine festival – result! We found a shady spot and settled in to enjoy the music, food and wine. Unfortunately we still had a 1.5hr drive home though, we could have happily stayed all evening.
After another fraught drive home, we resolved to do less with our days. Trying to fit two places in to a day had overstretched us, the kids got tired and narky in the car, naps were interrupted (Stan), or happened when they shouldn’t (the long drive home, Evelyn). While we want to make the most of travelling these distances, we need to appreciate that we can’t travel the way we used to, and need to slow the pace for a calmer experience for everyone.
With this in mind, we stayed close to home the next day and went to Rothenberg ob der Tauber. Only 20 mins up the road from us, this is the quintessential romantic road town. It was stunning and we really enjoyed our relaxed explore of the winding streets and old town walls.
We made the most of the nice weather the next day with a day off back at the lake to give everyone some car free time. We both attempted runs, probably not wise in the 35 degree heat, but it felt good to do some exercise apart from all our walking.
We’ve got in to our stride a bit with moving and realised that we need to stay out of the car the day before so everyone is in a good mood, and so that we have time to leisurely pack up and get everything ready for an easy start the next day. With that in mind, Thursday was our last day out of the week and we headed to Nuremberg.
It’s one of those places everyone has heard of but we weren’t really sure why, or if it was worth a visit. We really enjoyed our day there and there’s lots to do. We explored the old town, and hunted down various fountains referencing the painting of a local artist. We slogged up to the castle and explored as much as wasn’t under restoration (everything appears to be under restoration on this trip!). We had sausages and sauerkraut in a famous wurst restaurant. And we took a trip out to the documentationzentrum.
The dokumentationzentrum tells the story of the rise of the nazi party and WW2. Housed in an impressive building in what was supposed to be the nazi congress hall, walking around is a sobering experience. The exhibits were all in German, but there was an excellent audio guide. Unfortunately we had a toddler with us, and they’re not conducive to concentrating on audioguides and somber reflection. To give her credit, Evelyn was as well behaved as you could expect a toddler to be in that situation, and we mainly entertained her with her push along dragon and snacks. But toddlers aren’t quiet, and we got the sense that even an energetic but well behaved one was impinging on people’s experience of a really quite serious subject. Lesson learned. The museum was fascinating though, and a stark reminder of what happens when fascism and fanaticism are let loose.
Where we stayed