On the way from Stuttgart to Munich, I decided to make a quick stop and check out parts of the Romantic Road. Although on the map, it’s clearly not on the way to Munich, I’d heard too many recommendations from my Couchsurfing hosts for me to ignore it. And also, when have I ever taken convenience into anything I do? I did pick and choose specific extremely-touristic places for my “backpacking trip” that were so far apart I couldn’t even use a Eurail pass…
The Romantic Road lies in the heart of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, between Würzburg and Füssen. Beside having the cool ü in common, they are also the only two cities that I visited on the Road. After having spent time in both bookends of the RR, I have to agree: the cities along the RR live up to their “quintessentially German” reputation. Tinkering around with the train schedules, I was able to arrange a 3-hour layover in this city before needing to depart for Munich. 3 hours! I am superwoman after all..
After leaving my host in Stuttgart (and forcing him to take an extremely awkward selfie with me), I clambered onto the train that would take me to the Romantic Road. The first hurdle I had to jump was where to put my backpack for the day. I certainly didn’t want to explore it with a 50-pound, backpack-sized child—I mean, child-sized backpack—strapped to my back, so heavy that I walked at a slight 20 degree angle leaning backwards. Thankfully, the Würzburg station offered large day lockers with only one downside: it cost 5€. Either way, I happily paid so that my back wouldn’t and, after obsessively double checking that I had everything I needed (the only thing worse than paying 5€ for a locker is locking something you need for the day in it), I headed out of the station eagerly to discover what made the RR so special.
It wasn’t hard at all. Immediately, I saw thorn-like decorations draped onto these welcome gates and knew I was in for a treat.
And then I stumbled onto the Würzburg Residence & Gardens, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being on the grounds reminded me a bit of the mansion in The Secret Garden movie. Because it was a misty, rainy day, the grounds were empty of tourists, making it quite the lucky day for me as a photographer! They’re not pictured, but on either side of the Residence were these arches made completely from branches of a tree. I had fun walking through them and pretending I was Mary Lennox, searching for a keyhole in a wall.
I dearly wish I had enough time/motivation to explore the interior. According to Google, there are over 300 rooms squeezed into 3 wings (I love using that word in this context. “William, I’ll be in the East Wing!” So posh). Another case of failing to research my destinations! But I was thankful to have the emptiness to capture the solitary beauty of this place. I could’ve spent the rest of the day just exploring… but there were other places in Würzburg that I had to see! Like the pretty cathedrals and the bratwurst carts. Mostly the bratwurst carts.
Downtown Würzburg was a treat! It seemed like such a nice place to live: small enough to walk, yet filled to the brim with a romantic ambience. I think one of the best things about Würzburg is how easily the classic buildings are spotted and the sheer number of these buildings that are spread throughout this small city.
But again, I had to move on… to Fort Marienberg, an old fort that sat on top of the hill across the bridge. Just follow the brown tourist signs. Standing on the walls of the fortress is completely free; you can tour the inside of the fort, but you have to pay and I’ve heard it’s only in German.
The bridge itself was beautiful. Walking across, you can see all the cathedrals and buildings fade into the distance. Looking up into the distance, you can make out the fort sitting atop, regal and gorgeous at the same time. Unfortunately, the fort was a 45-minute climb after having crossed the bridge. And I had run out of time. I can only imagine how wonderful the view from the top looking down into this quaint little town would have looked.
But enough of that, I had to catch a train to Munich.
Linking up with Bonnie!
Have you ever been on the Romantic Road?
How long do you usually schedule explorative layovers?