Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Germany’s Romantic Road celebrates 60th Birthday!
Recently the Guardian newspaper had a series of suggestions, for car drivers or motor cyclists, in its travel pages about Road Trips a la Route 66 and similar. They were a little sniffy about Germany’s Romantic Road which runs from Würzburg to Füssen. The newspaper suggested an Alpine variation, clearly offering more exciting landscapes, but we are doubtful that one can find more history per kilometre anywhere else in the world. We are surprised that our favourite newspaper treated the route with such disdain. Within its 420 km visitors can find amongst other treasures including: the Residenz in Würzburg, described by Napoleon as the finest vicarage in the world; Weikersheim whose chateau is a time machine back into the 18th century; Rothenburg ob der Tauber known the world over for its half-timbered mediaeval town centre; lesser known but equally charming are Dinkelsbühl, Feuchtwangen and Nördlingen (the latter lies in the middle of a meteor impact crater); Augsburg has connections with the Fugger family, the trading giants of their day, Mozart and Brecht; the Pfaffenwinkel area has magnificent views of the Alps and Füssen offers Ludwig’s fairy tale castle. We suspect the problem is that one needs to get off the motor bike or out of the car to appreciate the glories of this road.
Shortly afterwards the Tourist Authority for the Romantic Road sent us an invitation to join in the festivities to celebrate the 60th Jubilee of the founding of this route linking a whole series of fascinating towns. Throughout the year virtually all the towns along the route and the cities of Würzburg and Augsburg are holding special activities from wine festivals and concerts, sports events and open days to link together tourism, visitors and thousands of local people. On 8 May 2010 the programme will officially kick off in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of the best known of the small towns. Representatives from all 28 towns along the ‘road’ will converge on the Marktplatz, dressed in appropriate attire from 60 years ago to welcome guests and old friends. Period vehicles, cars, buses, bicycles and motorbikes dating back to the start of real tourism in the region will also be on display. The organisers hope that as many people as possible will raid grandfather’s, granny's and great aunt's wardrobes to find forgotten clothing from 60 years ago.
Music fans and anyone enjoying singing should try to head to Feuchtwangen on Sunday 4 July where there will be an open air concert in the Marktplatz. This will be directed and conducted by none other than Gotthilf Fischer, the German equivalent of the conductor of the Last Night of the Proms or the guy who used to lead the community singing before the Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. Any choir can join in - just contact the Tourist Authority beforehand.
The final major event, which we are likely to attend, will be in the fascinating little town of Bad Mergentheim on Sunday 10 October - billed as a celebration of the culinary delights to be encountered along the Romantic Road - our contact suggests it will be a gigantic excuse to eat and drink, probably to excess, but who cares as long as your hotel bed is booked and your bike parked safely until next day? With excellent vineyards in the Tauber Valley and around Würzburg and beer making in all local flavours and strengths further south many may wish to extend their stay. Food will certainly include many local dishes and extend well beyond sausages and sauerkraut while the Farmers Wives Association is publishing a cookbook. This could be your chance to learn German while preparing your lunch.
Write to: Romantische Straße Touristik-Arbeitsgemeinschaft GbR
The Romantic Road Tourist Authority website: http://www.romantischestrasse.de/?lang=uk
Our book ‘The Romantic Road from Würzburg to Füssen’ has information about the history, landscape and descriptions of all the towns as well as about cycling. See:www.bergstrassebikebooks.com
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