For the past 9 days Jennifer and I have been criss-crossing Bavaria finalising details for our Romantic Road tour.
We pride ourselves in handcrafting our tours, finding the very special out of the way places, whether they be restaurants serving the best regional food only the locals know, or the coolest hotels in the best locations, or discovering things to do that will translate into personal experiences that will make the tour something to truly remember.
As of Monday, we completed our “scout,” and we made our way north to Frankfurt to meet up with our group. It’s a small group on this one – we had some late minute cancellations – but that only makes it more fun, more convivial.
After early evening drinks we walked through minus zero temperatures through the Frankfurt Christmas markets then across a bridge and down some winding alleys until we came to a nondescript restaurant down a narrow lane – reputedly the best restaurant in Frankfurt serving genuine home-cooked Bavarian food.
It was magnificent.
Slabs of grilled pork on a huge mound of fried potatoes, sausages and sauerkraut like you’ve never tasted before, deep fried apple-rings with whipped cream that sounds disgusting, but it was glorious. All washed down either with sublime weissbier or local Frankonian white wines.
We walked 3kms back to the hotel, in temperatures which had dropped considerably from when we set out, thankful that we had ingested sufficient calories to keep our body heat up to survival level.
This morning I picked up a nine-seater Mercedes van, and we headed off south to the start of the Romantic Road – Wurzburg, some 120kms away. At 9:30am the temperature was -6.5 C. Yes that’s MINUS 6-point-five Celsius. I don’t know what that is in Fahrenheit, but I guess about 24F or so?
There was snow on the ground and in the trees as we drove south – and it was so so beautiful.
We parked the van by the hotel, and immediately set off on foot to a magnificent fortress on a hill overlooking the town. The walk to the fortress took us across a medieval bridge just as a barge was going through a lock. The barge must have been nearly half a kilometre long!
The fortress was massive, and spectacular – and after visiting the museum inside we headed back into town to check in, before heading out again to visit the city’s palace, called the Residenz. It was like the Palace of Versailles inside – sorry no photography was allowed so I can’t show you pictures – but needless to say it was jaw-droppingly beautiful.
Pre-dinner drinks involved a Wurzburg tradition – of standing on the ancient stone bridge with a mug of hot German alcoholic apple cider, looking up at the fortress above the town, now shrouded in mist.
For dinner a week ago I had pre-arranged something special at the city’s top restaurant – Roast Goose cooked the traditional German Christmas way, with stuffing, red cabbage and huge dumplings. It was delicious! For dessert we again had traditional Christmas fare of cinnamon infused hazelnut ice-cream with whipped cream and hot cherries.
We walked back to the hotel in the cold – not really feeling the cold though, but invigorated by the briskness of the air, and captivated by the Christmas spirit that surrounded us everywhere we looked, from the decorations in the shop fronts, to the lighted up Christmas trees in the squares and outside churches, to the distant sound of Christmas carols wafting on the chilly night air. No one does Christmas better than the Germans.
It was a great way to start the tour…
(sorry for lack of pics – internet in hotel is sooooooo slow!)