Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Romantic Road

I've been patiently waiting all summer to finally go on vacation.. Several months ago I started planning. I wanted to go south, and I wanted mountains. The mountains have been calling me for a while now, ever since I was in them last October. Switzerland is always tempting, but it quickly became apparent that Austria's mountains are "almost" just as beautiful, but the accommodations are more abundant and reasonably priced. The original plan was to go for 2 weeks, but with Joe’s limited vacation time and the Spark' visit, it just wasn't an option. The vacation homes come in week-by-week packages, so in order to use the most of our time, we are just taking scenic route to Austria. Part of it will be on the "Romantic Road", a heavily
advertised road with many fun villages and castles.
The first 4 hours were pretty boring and drawn out. But then the hills started rolling, and we were driving through pretty forests and villages. Our first official stop, were the Stalactite Caves in Buchen Odenwald. The tour was completely in German, and I got a glimpse of what it must be like for Joe in Holland. Maybe 10% of her tour made any sense to me. But that didn't dim the fun of the cave. It was amazingly long and deep into the earth, and the stalactite and stalagmite formations were really nice. The kids also seemed impressed. Although we were told several times not to photograph in the cave, my rebellious side took over, when I realized that no matter how well I described the cave, it can't possibly paint the whole picture. So I snapped a few photos. Quickly. And sneakily. Totally setting a horrible example to my kids!
As we were getting further from the freeways, the sight became more intriguing. Sometimes we quickly stopped the car along the side of the road, and ignored the stares from people as they watched me document the awesomeness of Germany. One of the towns we drove through, Bad Mergentheim, was almost like that casino in the movie "Percy Jackson, the lightning Thief". It wouldn't let us out! We must have driven past the same 3 intersections at least 3 times. The GPS just kept trying to send us into one-way street, and when we didn't it would loop us back around. After the third time we were smart enough to ignore TomTom, and get out of the city center.

We ran into a bit of a snag just a few miles from our bed and breakfast for the night. We kept seeing signs telling us the road would be closed, but other cars were going around them, so we followed. Only 5 km before our final destination we could absolutely go no further. We made a small detour, talked to a local lady (or rather, half listened, half wished I had brushed up on my German before the trip), and drove over some righteous single lane roads at 70 km/hour. Yeah, that’s right, Germany has the BEST speed limits. Some places have 120, or 130. Most freeways don't even have speed limits, and I promise that if we ever own a car that can go over 130, I'll be one of those that makes 130 seems slow to those passing! Even on
winedy roads, the government thinks 100 km/hour is just fine. But I digress.

As we pulled into the Bed & Breakfast, I was proud that 6 hours of research found us a beautiful hotel. It's quaint. And traditional. It's clean, and charming. The dogs and the goat hang out together in an open shed, and the Quail provide additional entertainment. For some reason Thursday is a rest day in Bettwar, so both restaurants in town were closed. No biggy though, as we just zipped over to the next town, only 5km away. Rothenburg is on the "Romantic Road". Following this road is tomorrows itinerary, but it was super fun to have dinner with all the local old folks.

The wasps descended at dinner. The kids were initially annoyed and scared of them, but quickly changed their mind about their presence when we started killing them. They thought it was a great game, as did Joe and I. All in all we rid the world of 6 wasps. Not too bad for an hours' work. Rothenburg has cool buildings and a nice church. Also a cute little bridge that houses a whole flock of geese. Of course the kids had to throw rocks at them!
Somehow tormenting animals always becomes part of any family outing. This times' victims: Geese


Mark A said...

It looks like you guys have these towns to your self.

Maddy S said...

What beautiful towns. I love Germany. Your kids are so lucky to see all these places. You are a cool family.Loved all the pics as always.

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