Along the Romantic Road

Trying to put another amazing trip into words is tough. Luckily, I took a lot of pictures. So many in fact, I'll probably split this into a few posts.

The trip was great. We got to visit multiple spots in Bavaria as well as a side trip to Salzburg, Austria and as with any great vacation did not have nearly enough time. 

We had an overnight flight into Munich and drove straight to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (actually we made a pit stop and took a 30 minute nap because flight sleep is not good sleep).

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Rothenburg was honestly like being plopped right into a fairytale . It's medieval vibes and full city wall around the town made it all very surreal. 

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We spent the afternoon walking around, checking out some portions of the wall, popping in and out of the Christmas and toy and art shops, trying the underwhelming but highly popular Schneeball-a fried ball of dough (not worth it-try one of the amazing baked goods instead). We walked around until our dinner reservation at Zur Höll (translation: To Hell). 

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Zur Höll is the oldest building still standing in Rothenburg, parts of it dating back to the year 900. Definitely make a reservation in advance as no one who came in without was seated (and we got there at 5:30). 

They serve general Franconian fare. And the white asparagus was in season, so if you're there in the spring get yourself some (they cover it in hollandaise and honestly it was the star of the show). 

Following dinner, we walked for a bit more until we found some ice cream and because we were wiped out just went back to our hotel room, in bed around 8 p.m. Self care on vacation is important too.

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The next morning we woke up early and were greeted by a sleepy Rothenburg. We eventually found an open bakery and got something tasty to fuel our adventures. We walked around until shops and museums began to open up. We briefly ventured outside of the wall when we stumbled upon this overlook of the countryside.

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I wish we had more time to walk the trail that went past all these vineyards and fields but I wanted to check out Käthe Wolfhahrt Christmas Museum. The Christmas shops located right near our hotel were amazing, filled to the brim with intricate ornaments and beautiful decorations. The Museum, however, was an absolute dud. Definitely do not recommend going to it. Luckily, it's not very big nor does it take much time to get through if you find yourself disinterested.

After wrapping up we made our way to Ulm. This was a great midway point between two must see destinations and I figured it would be a good place to stay a couple of days to recoup and adjust. It also had plenty of charm and things to do that made it worth the stop all on it's own though!

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First stop was the Ulmer Münster. This gothic cathedral has the highest steeple in the world with 768 steps to get you to the top. We opted out of climbing it as we had plenty of walking around to do.

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After exploring the church and downtown for a bit, we walked the pedestrian path that goes along the Danube River to the popular fisherman quarter of Ulm. 

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Filled with old half timbered houses and likely it's most iconic piece, the crookedest home in the world. We enjoyed dinner in the fisherman quarter at Zur Forelle (To the Trout) that was once frequented by Albert Einstein himself. Did I mention Ulm was his birthplace? 

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We walked back to downtown, exploring the streets along the way and managed to run into another ice cream shop. Honestly, we ate ice cream at the very least daily on this trip. It tastes 100x better in Europe AND they had amazing fruity flavors. I think I never tried the same flavor twice, this one was mango.

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Sunday in Germany many places shut down and I figured this was the perfect day to have minimal plans and relax as much as possible. Breakfast was still on the schedule though and I think I will be dreaming about the breakfasts of Germany forever.

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Basically they were basically a well varied charcuterie board with an assortment of breads. I have every intention of recreating a German breakfast sometime soon because it was such a fun and delicious change. Following, the only thing we had on the Agenda was to visit one of the most beautiful libraries in the world (according to some list I came upon during my planning) and it did not disappoint.

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Kloster Wiblingen is a former Benedictine Abbey, just a bit south of Ulm, so there was no way that I wasn't touring it. And it was 100% worth it. We got there shortly after it opened and had the whole place to ourselves. The intricate details of the marbled poles and golden accents, all the statues and the ceiling painting had so much you could stay in there all day and still be noticing new things. Alas, to spare my husband we didn't stay too much longer than an hour. 

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We had a big breakfast, so in lieu of lunch had some more ice cream and figured we may have an early dinner and head to bed early since the next day welcomed more travel. The weather had predicted storms but it still looked beautiful out when we  got back to the hotel so we took the pedestrian path and got lost in the park next door. Everywhere we went there was always plenty of trails for pedestrians, cyclists and lots of green set aside-you saw people of all ages and abilities out and about and it was so refreshing.  

The next morning we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel (eating a very similar plate as the day before) before heading to Füssen to visit the famous Neuschwanstein castle. We got to the ticket booth and there was a mix up, but fortunately they were so incredibly friendly, kind and helpful (and had room in an English group in the next hour). 

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Neuschwanstein, the fairytale castle of Ludwig II (that he never saw finished), is beautifully placed in the Bavarian Alps, overlooking his own childhood home. A bridge is situated across from the castle over a waterfall, Marienbrucke- if you get to visit it I highly recommend going all the way to the far end, everyone was clustered at the beginning and literally no one had gone beyond the middle. There's also a path up a steep hill that will take you to another outlook point but we needed to get down to the castle for our tour!

When you get to the courtyard you have to wait until your group time comes and then you're all shuffled through the turnstyle, into the castle and then whisked up multiple stairs. Neuschwanstein sees nearly 10,000 visitors each day with tours leaving the courtyard every 5 minutes, so everything seemed a little bit rushed but was 100% worth it. Unfortunately no photos in the castle.

Marienbrucke Bridge from the castle

Marienbrucke Bridge from the castle

After our tour we walked back down to the car (they also offer buses to shuttle you from the town to the castle and vice versa). On the way they have some food places and shops, we stopped and grabbed quarkballen-basically a powder sugared donut. Very good and quick to tide over the hunger that was approaching. We drove back to Fussen for a quick lunch and since the rain was not letting up decided it was time to wrap up our stay along the Romantic Road.

Next stop, Munich!