May 29, 2019 Bayreuth GE

As I said yesterday we planned to move to Bayreuth to go to the largest beer museum in the world.  It was an easy 50km drive in light rain, and we have parked up at the first free aire since we arrived in Germany.  

After lazing around for a while waiting for the rain to stop, we headed into town to the museum.  The museum is only available by tour twice a day and we wanted to make sure we had a spot so after checking in we were told to come back in a couple of hours.

We headed over to the main street of Bayreuth and found a really nice and wide pedestrian zone.  We enjoyed checking out the stores and the people.  It was a little quiet since the weather was still unsettled and unseasonably cold.  We stopped by the opera house which is a world heritage site to check on tour times as it is also only accessible on tours.

Every town in Bavaria has one of these poles which shows the different services available in the town.  By tradition they are taken down and updated every 3 years which prompts a beer festival.

After a quick lunch at a Donner Kebab place we headed over to the Maisel World of Beer for our tour.  When we first checked in they told us the tour was in German but they would give us an English script so we could follow along.  However, it turns out we were the only ones on the tour, so the guide said she would do the tour in English if we did not mind her making a few mistakes as she had never done the tour in English before.  It turned out to be a great tour.  When Maisel replaced their old factory with a more modern one, they just left all of the equipment in place in the old building.  We were able to see really cool beer making equipment purchased between 1890 and 1910 still in working order.

Some of the original equipment from Maisaels factory.  It was used from about 1900 to the late 1970’s.

The tour much like yesterday included every part of the beer process from grain to shipping.  The bonus was it was done in English, our guide was a college student from the local University and she did quite well only stumbling on a couple of technical terms.  They also had an interesting display of beer glasses, steins, and signs from over the last 100 years.  

Some of the hundreds of beer steins on display.
They have over 5400 beer glasses on display from around the world. We found a few from Oregon.

They still produce their traditional Maisel Weiss which is the beer that made them famous.  But the 4th generation of brewers wanted to expand the horizons a bit so they have a second company called Maisel and Friends which while keeping with the purity laws produces typical micro brews including ales, porters, and IPA’s.  The brewery itself looks very much like an upscale west coast brewery.  It would fit in very well in San Diego or Portland.  It was interesting to see the German take on a microbrewery.

We ended a day with a tour of the Margravial Opera House which was built from 1744 to 1748.  This time there were plenty of Germans on the tour, so we were relying on our pamphlet to understand what we were seeing.  

The wood carvings on the balcony of the theater is incredibly intricate.

It was built by Frederick the Greats daughter to celebrate the marriage of her daughter Wilhelmine to the Duke of Wurtemberg.  Unfortunately the marriage did not work out very well, and the couple were effectively separated before the Opera House was paid for.

The wood carvings on the interior are incredibly intricate and a bit ostentatious.  The stage is really deep and allows for the staging of really large sets with lots of extras.  For this reason it was a favorite place for the German composer Richard Wagner to stage his operas some of which go on for 3 or 4 hours with giant casts.  
Bayreuth was the adopted home town of the composer Richard Wager so these little statues of him are everywhere.

We were completely lost during the extensive talk about the building.   But it is indeed an impressive piece of architecture, and I can see why it works as an opera house even if it is a little over the top.  

Bayreuth turned out to be a very nice city and the easiest we have walked around in Germany, with a great pedestrian zone, and extensive walking and biking trails.  Though we were in a big city we were mostly isolated from the cars which we enjoyed.

May 28, 2019 Kulmbach GE

Today was a pretty easy day.  After Ton had one more luxury shower at the campground we headed into town to do some shopping at a Lidl and a Rewe that were conveniently next to each other in town.

Once François’ shelves were restocked we headed down the autobahn towards another Frankish town called Kulmbach.  While we are technically in Bavaria the area we have been in since Rothenburg are inhabited by a people called Franks who will tell you they are not Bavarian by choice.  It appears to be a friendly rivalry,  but they do make a point of telling you at every opportunity that while administratively they are in Bavaria they do not consider themselves Bavarian.

We arrived at the aire in Kulmbach after Greta decided to test my driving skills by sending us right thru the center of town complete with narrow one lane roads with cars parked on both sides.  After settling in we headed over to the nearby beer museum.

The museum is located on the grounds of Mohnschof Brewery and is really quite a museum.  It looks like they built a new brewery on site, and took the old brewery including all of the equipment and built a really fascinating beer museum.

A shot of the interior of the new brewery that replaced the one that became the museum.

 The museum winds up three floors of the old brewery and then across and back down three more floors.  It covers everything from the history of beer, and variations of beer around the world.   It shows everything you want to know about how to make beer from farming the main ingredients, brewing using the old brewery equipment to demonstrate how,  to transporting the finished product.  

The old brewery equipment that was replaced by the stuff above.

Needless to say we were in heaven.  We spent altogether over 2 hours working our way thru the museum even though all of the displays and information are in German.

Really cool storage barrel, not sure if it was ever actually used to store beer.

If the signs were in English or we could read German we might still be there.  The tour ended with a well deserved glass of beer.

They had a great collection of beer steins back almost 100 years.
Ton really liked this ad from the beer museum.  The caption means The Reward.

As good and extensive as this museum is, it is not even the largest in the area. Tomorrow we will be visiting the largest beer museum in the world according to the Guinness book of world records.  

May 27, 2019 Bamberg GE

When you are traveling from campground to parking lot to campground you start to appreciate the little things.  This campground has absolutely the best showers we have ever seen in a campground and would rival most luxury hotels.  Ton and I have been really taking long luxurious showers the last two days.

Ton liked this sculpture in downtown Bamberg.

We had a low key pub crawl today.  We stopped in 4 breweries/beer halls and craft brew store for one of the largest suppliers of beer malt in the world.  We enjoyed the breweries, and did not enjoy the malt company craft beer store due to poor service.

These wrought iron signs have been common everywhere in Germany, this one is for a brewery.

At the second of our brewery stops we saw another couple sitting at a table with no beer.  At a lot of the beer halls they do not serve you at the table, instead you go to a window by the bar and order your beer.  We heard them speaking English so we explained the process to them.  We ended up chatting with them while we enjoyed our beer.  

The beer tender at the beer garden.  Frequently in Germany the beer is piped directly from the brewery to the taps.

They had lived in Beaverton Oregon for a while before retiring in Florida so we had a nice chat about traveling.  Eventually we parted ways to head out on different beer agendas.  A couple hours later we were sitting in our 3rd brewery when we saw them walk in.  We ended up spending the next couple of hours with them as they planned to visit the same breweries we had picked.  They had lived in Germany in the past and gave us some good tips on other good beer towns though they did admit that Bamberg was their favorite beer town Germany.

Number 3 of our brewery crawl.

It was a fun day with lots of good German beer; our faith in German beer and creativity is restored after today.  Ton thought I was a little harsh on Würzburg the other day, she thought the scene on the bridge was fun and that my expectations were too high .  

Number 4 (6 if you count the two yesterday)and the best of our brewery crawl of Bamberg.

May 26, 2019 Bamberg GE

Had a rushed start to the day.  Part of our daily routine is for me to get up and make a cup of coffee.  When that is done I take a short walk so Ton can have some privacy while she gets dressed and makes herself beautiful.  This morning as I was leaving the parking lot we spent the night in I realized that a bunch of people in yellow vests were taping off the entrance to the parking lot and the entrance road.  I finally understood that the Würzburg Marathon was going to run right thru the parking lot we were in, so I rushed back to François and hurried Ton to get dressed before we were blocked in for the day.

As we were getting ready to set off we had to decide where to head for the day.  We have been having an ongoing debate about whether to go to Nuremberg.  We have read great things about it, but it is a pretty big city, and the options for parking François were pretty unappealing.  We had continued the debate last night without coming to a decision whether to go to Nuremberg and then Bamberg, or straight to Bamberg.  As we were getting ready to roll I asked Ton, and she said Bamberg much to my relief.

The old mill in Bamberg on the Regnitz River.

Bamberg is another World Heritage Site, with the bonus of reportedly having the most breweries per person in the world.  Bamberg was a must see for us.  Because of our early start, and allowing Greta Garmin to use the Autobahn we arrived in Bamberg before 10am.

The Rathaus (Town Hall) in Bamberg, the story is that the town would not provide land for the Rathaus so the Mayor built it in the river.

We have been struggling with Germany a bit.  The cities are pretty, clean, and well organized.  The people have been universally helpful and nice.  But for us it has been less sanuk (for non-Thai’s a word that speaks to a feeling of fun, and spontaneity) than either Spain or France.  As an example last night at the bridge had the feeling of sanuk right up to sunset when everyone packed up and left at once.  On top of that; the beer (and this will sound heretical to many) has been mediocre since Munich.  In Germany’s defense the weather has not been helpful with days and days of cold and rain.   Last night we talked of heading to Poland and cutting Germany short.

The party on the bridge in Würzburg, 30 minutes later it was done.

But Bamberg does have all of the things that we have been looking for.  The town is really pretty and easy to move around.  The tourist information offered a beer map with 65 breweries listed in English.  

One of the 65 Breweries in Bamberg.

They even have a coupon book that allows you to visit different breweries and get their house choice beer.  We tried two today, and they were really good beers restoring our faith in German beer  The sun was out and we enjoyed walking around and people watching.  We even found some more Thai to talk to on the street.  There have been a lot more Thai in Germany than in France or Spain.

That’s what I am talking about.

Every place we sat down someone tried to engage us in conversation which was really nice.  When we got back to the campground we extended our stay for another day to check out some other breweries that the locals told us about.

Another view of the Rathouse in Bamberg one of my favorite buildings so far in Germany.

May 25, 2019 Wurzburg GE

Tonight François is parked about 20 yards from the Main River in Wurzberg.  We have had a couple of river barges come by close enough to look in the windows, and they can look into François.  We even waved at a guy going by in his room.  But while we have a great view out the front window, this is the closest we have ever been parked to our neighbors on each side. We cannot use our side door, and must exit from the front drivers door whenever we come and go.  

One of the river barges passing about 30 feet in front of François.  The hills in the background are hundreds of acres of vineyards.
Ton really liked this fountain on the pedestrian mall in Würzburg.

Würzburg  is a beautiful city that was almost completely destroyed during WWII.  The British Royal Air Force firebombed the city in 1945, and when the American army arrived at the town the Germans blew the bridges and made it clear they were going to defend the town.  Needless to say by this point in the war, with the end in sight, we were not interested in taking any unnecessary casualties.  So we just sat back and bombarded the city with artillery until we completed the destruction the British had started.

The Residence of the Prince-Bishop that was almost totally gutted during WWII.

The Germans rebuilt the town after the war, and it is a very pretty river town in a great setting with vineyards surrounding the town on the hillside. There were a couple of landmarks that were not completely destroyed by the allies.  The Residence of the Prince -Bishop was largely destroyed, this was an 18th century palace along the lines of Versailles, but some of the rooms were still standing and luckily one of the “Monuments Men”, a group of US Army officers with architectural or art backgrounds tasked with preserving the art and buildings of Europe showed up in town and helped procure the needed materials to preserve what was remaining. As a result several monumental frescoes were preserved that would have been lost. 

We took a guided tour of the residence, and the guide was fantastic.  He really brought the building to life, and had a great blend of knowledge and a dry sense of humor that made the tour fantastic.  He was able to handle questions from the group with aplomb that we really admired.  Because of him the history of the residence came to life in a way that we did not expect.

Some of the Garden at the Prince-Bishops residence met to imitate Versailles.

We also had lunch at a local restaurant that had been in business since the 1300’s.  The food was good and we are sure we missed a real opportunity due to language.  Two ladies next to us seemed really fun, and while we tried to engage with them and them with us the lack of a common language really stifled what we are sure would have been a really fun and interesting conversation.

Würzburg has a pedestrian bridge over the Main River and the tradition is that you go to the bridge and have a glass of wine.  We are not sure how old the tradition is, but it is a great way to spend the evening so we participated.  When we arrived about 8pm the bridge was packed with people drinking wine and enjoying a band.  But around sunset at 9pm we looked around and realized the band was packing and the crowd  was nearly gone.

Ton enjoying some local wine on the Main River Bridge.
The Main River waterfront with the Catholic and Lutheran Churches in the background.

So a little disappointed we headed back to François for a late dinner, and bed.

May 24, 2019 Rothenburg ob der Tauber GE

We have visited a lot of walled towns in Europe, but Rothenburg is now the one that is the most striking.  For Americans who are thinking of Europe Rothenburg would be the kind of town that springs to mind.  The old town is surrounded by a wall with over 40 towers, and several medieval gates that are still in use for cars.

The pedestrian entrance to Rothenburg, cars use the bridge on the right.

Inside the walls the buildings are really well cared for, and there are buildings from every era from the 1300’s up to the 20th century.  But the different aged buildings are blended well together and for us add to the architectural interest of the town.

An example of the different aged buildings and architecture.

It has been a fortified town since around the 7th century and the name translated is the Red Castle on the Tauber.  The castle is gone and replaced with a garden, but the walls remain.  The walls on one side of the town overlook the Tauber River, and the views are really picturesque with forests, orchards, fields and the river stretching into the distance.

Looking from the old castle site across the valley to the other side of town.  

We took two passes thru the town in the afternoon and the evening.  The walk in the afternoon was along the walls, and in a lot of areas you could actually walk along the battlements and look down on the moat.  In most towns those areas are closed off to the public, but here all you have is a sign that says the walls are not to modern design and you should be surefooted and not subject to vertigo if you climb them.

An example of the old battlements along the wall that are still open to the public if you are surefooted and not suffering from vertigo.

In the evening we walked the main street of town and towards the gate away from the Tauber.  We met another nice couple from Thailand and shared experiences traveling thru Europe with them.  There is a night watchman tour offered at 8pm and we were thinking of going on that but when we arrived at the square there were easily 100 people waiting for the tour, nearly all of them American.  It turned out there was only 1 watchman to lead the tour and we decided that the guide to tourist ratio was way to high to enjoy the tour so we headed back to François for the night.

The watchman of Rothenburg getting ready to begin his duty with 100 mostly Americans in tow.

The last two nights we have ended up parked next to a nice English couple.  They were sitting out  when we got back, so we chatted with them for a while.  They have really disconnected from the news, so we ended up telling them that Theresa May had resigned as the Prime Minister of England.  The other highlight of the day was that for the first time on the trip Ton got to wear shorts, and we had to open the windows on François to cool him down.  

The old city mill, now a youth hostel.

May 23, 2019 Dinkelsbuhl GE

We slept well with a natural white noise machine going all night in the form of the Lech River running at near flood stage behind us.  The plan for the day was to follow the Romantic Road further north to a town called Rothenburg.

The Romantic Road is quite pretty but it reminded us of hundreds of miles of roads in France without the marketing.  As we were driving we could see some flooding from the weather over the past few days.  

Ton mentioned that she wanted to stop at a town called Dinkelsbuhl before we got to Rothenburg.  I pulled into the parking for RV’s and was checking the pay machine to see how much it would cost for a couple of hours.  I noticed the cost for a night was only €6 so I went back and asked Ton how nice was this town supposed to be?  We went back and forth for a few minutes when a German couple came over having noticed the French plates and thinking we could not figure the machine out, we told them our dilemma.  They were adamant that we should spend the night here as it was cheaper and the town was really special.

The view from our parking lot.

Dinkelsbuhl turned out to be a gem.  It is a walled town with many of its towers still preserved.  

One of the 18 towers still in place in Dinkelsbuhl.  Some of them looked like they were private residences.

It is just big enough to have a lot of interesting things to see, but small enough to manage on foot.  It is very well preserved, but still feels lived in.  

This is the view as you enter the town thru one of the gates in the wall.

It really helps that the sun was out today, and for the first time in about a week we did not need to be in rain gear, or to have it in our bag on standby.  We took advantage of the good weather to sit in a beer garden and try a couple of the local beers.  

We have not seen any storks since Alsace.  There were several pairs here.
Ton really liked the logo of the brewery today.
The recording session we were allowed to observe for a few minutes.

We finally headed back for a relaxing dinner, Ton really made a nice chicken and spatzle dish.  She is really doing a great job mixing German, Thai, and American cuisines.   The day ended with a quick run thru an Edeka to make sure we have the refrigerator full for the next stop.  Once again the flexibility of not having reservations and our own house on wheels allowed us to make a new exciting discovery.

May 29, 2019 Bayreuth GE

As I said yesterday we planned to move to Bayreuth to go to the largest beer museum in the world.  It was an easy 50km drive in light rain, and we have parked up at the first free aire since we arrived in Germany.  

After lazing around for a while waiting for the rain to stop, we headed into town to the museum.  The museum is only available by tour twice a day and we wanted to make sure we had a spot so after checking in we were told to come back in a couple of hours.

We headed over to the main street of Bayreuth and found a really nice and wide pedestrian zone.  We enjoyed checking out the stores and the people.  It was a little quiet since the weather was still unsettled and unseasonably cold.  We stopped by the opera house which is a world heritage site to check on tour times as it is also only accessible on tours.  

Every town in Bavaria has one of these poles which shows the different services available in the town.  By tradition they are taken down and updated every 3 years which prompts a beer festival

After a quick lunch at a Donner Kebab place we headed over to the Maisel World of Beer for our tour.  When we first checked in they told us the tour was in German but they would give us an English script so we could follow along.  However, it turns out we were the only ones on the tour, so the guide said she would do the tour in English if we did not mind her making a few mistakes as she had never done the tour in English before.  It turned out to be a great tour.  When Maisel replaced their old factory with a more modern one, they just left all of the equipment in place in the old building.  We were able to see really cool beer making equipment purchased between 1890 and 1910 still in working order.

Some of the original equipment from Maisals factory.  It was used from about 1900 to the late 1970’s.

The tour much like yesterday included every part of the beer process from grain to shipping.  The bonus was it was done in English, our guide was a college student from the local University and she did quite well only stumbling on a couple of technical terms.  They also had an interesting display of beer glasses, steins, and signs from over the last 100 years.  

Some of the hundreds of beer steins on display.
They have over 5400 beer glasses on display from around the world.

They still produce their traditional Maisel Weiss which is the beer that made them famous.  But the 4th generation of brewers wanted to expand the horizons a bit so they have a second company called Maisel and Friends which while keeping with the purity laws produces typical microbrews including ales, porters, and IPA’s.  The brewery itself looks very much like an upscale west coast brewery.  It would fit in very well in San Diego or Portland.  It was interesting to see the German take on a microbrewery.

We ended a day with a tour of the Margravial Opera House which was built from 1744 to 1748.  This time there were plenty of Germans on the tour, so we were relying on our pamphlet to understand what we were seeing.  

The wood carvings on the balcony of the theater are incredibly intricate.
The wood carvings on the interior are incredibly intricate and a bit ostentatious.

The stage is really deep and allows for the staging of really large sets with lots of extras.  For this reason it was a favorite place for the German composer Richard Wagner to stage his operas some of which go on for 3 or 4 hours with giant casts.  

Bayreuth was the adopted home town of the composer Richard Wager so these little statues of him are everywhere.

We were completely lost during the extensive talk about the building.   But it is indeed an impressive piece of architecture, and I can see why it works as an opera house even if it is a little over the top.  

Bayreuth turned out to be a very nice city and the easiest we have walked around in Germany, with a great pedestrian zone, and extensive walking and biking trails.  Though we were in a big city we were mostly isolated from the cars which we enjoyed.

May 28, 2019 Kulmbach GE

Today was a pretty easy day.  After Ton had one more luxury shower at the campground we headed into town to do some shopping at a Lidl and a Rewe that were conveniently next to each other in town.

Once François’ shelves were restocked we headed down the autobahn towards another Frankish town called Kulmbach.  While we are technically in Bavaria the area we have been in since Rothenburg are inhabited by a people called Franks who will tell you they are not Bavarian by choice.  It appears to be a friendly rivalry,  but they do make a point of telling you at every opportunity that while administratively they are in Bavaria they do not consider themselves Bavarian.

We arrived at the aire in Kulmbach after Greta decided to test my driving skills by sending us right thru the center of town complete with narrow one lane roads with cars parked on both sides.  After settling in we headed over to the nearby beer museum.

The museum is located on the grounds of Mohnschof Brewery and is really quite a museum.  It looks like they built a new brewery on site, and took the old brewery including all of the equipment and built a really fascinating beer museum.  

A shot of the interior of the new brewery that replaced the one that became the museum.

The museum winds up three floors of the old brewery and then across and back down three more floors.  It covers everything from the history of beer, and variations of beer around the world.   It shows everything you want to know about how to make beer from farming the main ingredients, brewing using the old brewery equipment to demonstrate how,  to transporting the finished product.  

The old brewery equipment that was replaced by the stuff above.

Needless to say we were in heaven.  We spent altogether over 2 hours working our way thru the museum even though all of the displays and information are in German.  

Really cool storage barrel, not sure if it was ever actually used to store beer.

If the signs were in English we might still be there.  The tour ended with a well deserved glass of beer.

They had a great collection of beer steins back almost 100 years.
Ton really liked this ad from the beer museum.  The caption means The Reward.

As good and extensive as this museum is, it is not even the largest in the area. Tomorrow we will be visiting the largest beer museum in the world according to the Guinness book of world records.  

May 27, 2019 Bamberg GE

Today when you are traveling from campground to parking lot to campground you start to appreciate the little things.  This campground has absolutely the best showers we have ever seen in a campground and would rival most luxury hotels.  Ton and I have been really taking long luxurious showers the last two days.

Ton liked this sculpture in downtown Bamberg.

We had a low key pub crawl today.  We stopped in 4 breweries/beer halls and craft brew store for one of the largest suppliers of beer malt in the world.  We enjoyed the breweries, and did not enjoy the malt company craft beer store due to poor service.

These wrought iron signs have been common everywhere in Germany, this one is for a brewery.

At the second of our brewery stops we saw another couple sitting at a table with no beer.  At a lot of the beer halls they do not serve you at the table, instead you go to a window by the bar and order your beer.  We heard them speaking English so we explained the process to them.  We ended up chatting with them while we enjoyed our beer.  

The beer tender at the beer garden.  Frequently in Germany the beer is piped directly from the brewery to the taps.

They had lived in Beaverton for a while before retiring in Florida so we had a nice chat about traveling.  Eventually we parted ways to head out on different beer agendas.  A couple hours later we were sitting in our 3rd brewery when we saw them walk in.  We ended up spending the next couple of hours with them as they planned to visit the same breweries we had picked.  They had lived in Germany in the past and gave us some good tips on other good beer towns though they did admit that Bamberg was their favorite beer town Germany.

Number 3 of our brewery crawl.

It was a fun day with lots of good German beer; our faith in German beer and creativity is restored after today.  Ton thought I was a little harsh on Würzburg the other day, she thought the scene on the bridge was fun and that my expectations were too high .  

Number 4 (6 if you count the two yesterday)and the best of our brewery crawl of Bamberg.

May 26, 2019 Bamberg, GE

Had a rushed start to the day.  Part of our daily routine is for me to get up and make a cup of coffee.  When that is done I take a short walk so Ton can have some privacy while she gets dressed and makes herself beautiful.  This morning as I was leaving the parking lot we spent the night in I realized that a bunch of people in yellow vests were taping off the entrance to the parking lot and the entrance road.  I finally understood that the Würzburg Marathon was going to run right thru the parking lot we were in, so I rushed back to François and hurried Ton to get dressed before we were blocked in for the day.

As we were getting ready to set off we had to decide where to head for the day.  We have been having an ongoing debate about whether to go to Nuremberg.  We have read great things about it, but it is a pretty big city, and the options for parking François were pretty unappealing.  We had continued the debate last night without coming to a decision whether to go to Nuremberg and then Bamberg, or straight to Bamberg.  As we were getting ready to roll I asked Ton, and she said Bamberg much to my relief.

The old mill in Bamberg on the Regnitz River.

Bamberg is another World Heritage Site, with the bonus of reportedly having the most breweries per person in the world.  Bamberg was a must see for us.  Because of our early start, and allowing Greta Garmin to use the Autobahn we arrived in Bamberg before 10am.

The Rathaus (Town Hall) in Bamberg, the story is that the town would not provide land for the Rathaus so the Mayor built it in the river.

We have been struggling with Germany a bit.  The cities are pretty, clean, and well organized.  The people have been universally helpful and nice.  But for us it has been less sanuk (for non-Thai’s a word that speaks to a feeling of fun, and spontaneity) than either Spain or France.  As an example last night at the bridge had the feeling of sanuk right up to sunset when everyone packed up and left at once.  On top of that; the beer (and this will sound heretical to many) has been mediocre since Munich.  In Germany’s defense the weather has not been helpful with days and days of cold and rain.   Last night we talked of heading to Poland and cutting Germany short.

The party on the bridge in Würzburg, 30 minutes later it was done.

But Bamberg does have all of the things that we have been looking for.  The town is really pretty and easy to move around.  The tourist information offered a beer map with 65 breweries listed in English.  

One of the 65 Breweries in Bamberg.

They even have a coupon book that allows you to visit different breweries and get their house choice beer.  We tried two today, and they were really good beers restoring our faith in German beer  The sun was out and we enjoyed walking around and people watching.  We even found some more Thai to talk to on the street.  There have been a lot more Thai in Germany than in France or Spain.

Thats what I am talking about.

Every place we sat down someone tried to engage us in conversation which was really nice.  When we got back to the campground we extended our stay for another day to check out some other breweries that the locals told us about.

Another view of the Rathouse in Bamberg one of my favorite buildings so far in Germany.

May 25, 2019 Wurzburg GE

Tonight François is parked about 20 yards from the Main River in Wurzberg.  We have had a couple of river barges come by close enough to look in the windows, and they can look into François.  We even waved at a guy going by in his room.  But while we have a great view out the front window, this is the closest we have ever been parked to our neighbors on each side. We cannot use our side door, and must exit from the front drivers door whenever we come and go.  

One of the river barges passing about 30 feet in front of François.  The hills in the background are hundreds of acres of vineyards.
Ton really liked this fountain on the pedestrian mall in Würzburg.

Würzburg  is a beautiful city that was almost completely destroyed during WWII.  The British Royal Air Force firebombed the city in 1945, and when the American army arrived at the town the Germans blew the bridges and made it clear they were going to defend the town.  Needless to say by this point in the war, with the end in sight we were not interested in taking any unnecessary casualties.  So we just sat back and bombarded the city with artillery until we completed the destruction the British had started.

The Residence of the Prince-Bishop that was almost totally gutted during WWII.

The Germans rebuilt the town after the war, and it is a very pretty river town in a great setting with vineyards surrounding the town on the hillside. There were a couple of landmarks that were not completely destroyed by the allies.  The Residence of the Prince -Bishop was largely destroyed, this was an 18th century palace along the lines of Versailles, but some of the rooms were still standing and luckily one of the “Monuments Men”, a group of US Army officers with architectural or art backgrounds tasked with preserving the art and buildings of Europe showed up in town and helped procure the needed materials to preserve what was remaining. As a result several monumental frescoes were preserved that would have been lost. 

We took a guided tour of the residence, and the guide was fantastic.  He really brought the building to life, and had a great blend of knowledge and a dry sense of humor that made the tour fantastic.  He was able to handle questions from the group with aplomb that we really admired.  Because of him the history of the residence came to life in a way that we did not expect.

Some of the Garden at the Prince-Bishops residence met to imitate Versailles.

We also had lunch at a local restaurant that had been in business since the 1300’s.  The food was good and we are sure we missed a real opportunity due to language.  Two ladies next to us seemed really fun, and while we tried to engage with them and them with us the lack of a common language really stifled what we are sure would have been a really fun and interesting conversation.

Würzburg has a pedestrian bridge over the Main River and the tradition is that you go to the bridge and have a glass of wine.  We are not sure how old the tradition is, but it is a great way to spend the evening so we participated.  When we arrived about 8pm the bridge was packed with people drinking wine and enjoying a band.  But around sunset at 9pm we looked around and realized the band was packing and the crowd  was nearly gone.

Ton enjoying some local wine on the Main River Bridge.
The Main River waterfront with the Catholic and Lutheran Churches in the background.

So a little disappointed we headed back to François for a late dinner, and bed.

May 24, 2019 Rothenburg ob der Tauber GE

We have visited a lot of walled towns in Europe, but Rothenburg is now the one that is the most striking.  For Americans who are thinking of Europe Rothenburg would be the kind of town that springs to mind.  The old town is surrounded by a wall with over 40 towers, and several medieval gates that are still in use for cars.

The pedestrian entrance to Rothenburg, cars use the bridge on the right.

Inside the walls the buildings are really well cared for, and there are buildings from every era from the 1300’s up to the 20th century.  But the different aged buildings are blended well together and for us add to the architectural interest of the town.

An example of the different aged buildings and architecture.

It has been a fortified town since around the 7th century and the name translated is the Red Castle on the Tauber.  The castle is gone and replaced with a garden, but the walls remain.  The walls on one side of the town overlook the Tauber River, and the views are really picturesque with forests, orchards, fields and the river stretching into the distance.

Looking from the old castle site across the valley to the other side of town.  

We took two passes thru the town in the afternoon and the evening.  The walk in the afternoon was along the walls, and in a lot of areas you could actually walk along the battlements and look down on the moat.  In most towns those areas are closed off to the public, but here all you have is a sign that says the walls are not to modern design and you should be surefooted and not subject to vertigo if you climb them.

An example of the old battlements along the wall that are still open to the public if you are surefooted and not suffering from vertigo.

In the evening we walked the main street of town and towards the gate away from the Tauber.  We met another nice couple from Thailand and shared experiences traveling thru Europe with them.  There is a night watchman tour offered at 8pm and we were thinking of going on that but when we arrived at the square there were easily 100 people waiting for the tour, nearly all of them American.  It turned out there was only 1 watchman to lead the tour and we decided that the guide to tourist ratio was way to high to enjoy the tour so we headed back to François for the night.

The watchman of Rothenburg getting ready to begin his duty with 100 mostly Americans in tow.

The last two nights we have ended up parked next to a nice English couple.  They were sitting out  when we got back, so we chatted with them for a while.  They have really disconnected from the news, so we ended up telling them that Theresa May had resigned as the Prime Minister of England.  The other highlight of the day was that for the first time on the trip Ton got to wear shorts, and we had to open the windows on François to cool him down.  

The old city mill, now a youth hostel.

May 23, 2019 Dinkelsbuhl GE

We slept well with a natural white noise machine going all night in the form of the Lech River running at near flood stage behind us.  The plan for the day was to follow the Romantic Road further north to a town called Rothenburg.

The Romantic Road is quite pretty but it reminded us of hundreds of miles of roads in France without the marketing.  As we were driving we could see some flooding from the weather over the past few days.  

Ton mentioned that she wanted to stop at a town called Dinkelsbuhl before we got to Rothenburg.  I pulled into the parking for RV’s and was checking the pay machine to see how much it would cost for a couple of hours.  I noticed the cost for a night was only €6 so I went back and asked Ton how nice was this town supposed to be?  We went back and forth for a few minutes when a German couple came over having noticed the French plates and thinking we could not figure the machine out, we told them our dilemma.  They were adamant that we should spend the night here as it was cheaper and the town was really special.

The view from our parking lot.

Dinkelsbuhl turned out to be a gem.  It is a walled town with many of its towers still preserved.  

One of the 18 towers still in place in Dinkelsbuhl.  Some of them looked like they were private residences.

It is just big enough to have a lot of interesting things to see, but small enough to manage on foot.  It is very well preserved, but still feels lived in.  

This is the view as you enter the town thru one of the gates in the wall.

It really helps that the sun was out today, and for the first time in about a week we did not need to be in rain gear, or to have it in our bag on standby.  We took advantage of the good weather to sit in a beer garden and try a couple of the local beers.  

We have not seen any storks since Alsace.  There were several pairs here.
Ton really liked the logo of the brewery today.

Our final stop was at the cathedral, when we walked in two musicians were playing a composition for two xylophones.  They were recording the piece, but rather than closing the cathedral during the recording they just put a sign at the back of the cathedral asking people to be quiet.  

The recording session we were allowed to observe for a few minutes.

We finally headed back for a relaxing dinner, Ton really made a nice chicken and spatzle dish.  She is really doing a great job mixing German, Thai, and American cuisines.   The day ended with a quick run thru an Edeka to make sure we have the refrigerator full for the next stop.  Once again the flexibility of not having reservations and our own house on wheels allowed us to make a new exciting discovery.