My home region – Part 3
The Romantic Road
After having talked about Würzburg, I would like to introduce you to one Germany’s most liked scenic routes, the “Romantische Straße” along which you will see old medieval towns and villages paired with quaint scenery. First stop is Tauberbischofsheim, known for its fencers. And the town where I went to school. A short side trip through the valley of the Tauber will bring you to Bronnbach a former monastery dating back to 12th century. It has a very romantic setting and today it is a place known for its cultural program with concerts. And it is a great place for a hike in lush forest.
A tip for wine lovers
Coming back to the” Romantic Road” (English translation for Romantische Straße) you will continue in a southern direction. On this side of the scenic route the most interesting sites are more scarce then towards its end in southern Bavaria and so you will have to take some turns and side steps. If you are interested in wine you probably want to leave the road in Königshofen and take the short drive to Beckstein. In this village you will find a cooperative wine-growers association that was voted Germany’s best in 2014. I highly recommend a wine tasting there. More to follow under the culinary section.
Bad Mergentheim, a small town with lots of history
Coming back to the main road you will soon arrive in a small town called Bad Mergentheim. It used to be one of the centers of an association called the “Teutonic Knights” which was founded around 1190 during the crusades in the holy land. You can explore their castle and learn a lot about medieval times in Europe. As the prefix Bad suggests this is a town with hot springs. The water counts amongst the best healing waters in Germany. And of course such a town has a thermal aquapark. As a kid I loved our visits to the Solymar. They used to have a tidal pool with huge waves and this was the closest I could get to an ocean. They don’t have that tidal pool anymore, but two waterslides, a newly renovated outdoor pool filled with water from the hot springs and a huge wellness and spa area.
Hidden gems along the Romantic Road
In one of the neighbouring villages you will find a small church that holds a very special treasure. The “Stuppacher Madonna” was painted by Matthias Grünewald, an acquaintance of the better known Albrecht Dürer. The picture is showing Maria with baby Jesus and is known for its unusual colouring.
Following the Romantic Road it’s only a short drive to Weikersheim and its Castle. Its built in a triangular shape in the Renaissance style and mostly known for its amazing “Rittersaal”, the main hall of the castle. There are guided visits and performances throughout the year. So you might want to check the schedule on their homepage. And then there is another garden you should visit.
The next highlight on your way south is also just a few minutes drive away. In Creglingen you will find a beautiful gothic church. Already if you approach it from the outside it is very impressive. A must see is an altar carved out of wood. The artist was Tilman Riemenschneider, a man who was already very famous during his living years. The small town has another interesting place to see: A museum dedicated to thimbles. Learn about the history of this small tool, that helped prevent injuries toe sewing men and women.
A medieval highlight
Continuing south you will leave the state of Baden-Württemberg and re-enter the State of Bavaria. But don’t call the people here Bavarian. Although they are a part of that state you are in a region called Franconia and the people are proud of their own history. The final point of today’s excursion is a town you probably have heard of: Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It is a very popular spot especially among visitors from the US and Asia, but it really is worth a visit. You will see one of the best preserved medieval towns in Germany complete with its surrounding fortified wall. The minute you enter the town center through one of the 7 gates, you’ll expect King Arthur coming across your path. Once you have enough of the old buildings and narrow alleys you can return to the main Square and explore the year round Christmas World of Käthe Wohlfahrt. For me it feels odd to visit this place when it’s summer and the outside temperature strives for the 90°F, but you might find all the kitsch you need to decorate your next Christmas tree. And if you are done exploring and feel a craving for a small snack, try one of the “Schneeballen”. When you see it, you will know why it is called snow ball. This pastry is made of deep fried short crust and lots of icing sugar. Is it healthy? NO. Is it delicious? Definitely yes.
If you continue on the Romantic Road southward you will find a lot more to explore and many fascinating sites await. But since Rothenburg was our ending point during my childhood trips I will leave it at this point and will continue with other topics. If you want to know more, let me know and I will give you tips for the rest of the road leading you to its final point at Cinderella Castle or as we call it in Germany Neuschwanstein