The Romantic Road in Germany is a marketing construct really – loosely based on an old Roman trade route through the southern provinces, but resurrected in the 1950s to promote tourism in post war Germany.
It stretches approximately 350kms from Warzburg in northern Bavaria, through to Fussen down near the Austrian Alps. It links some of Germany’s most beautiful medieval towns and cities, and each day it attracts busloads of tourists from around the world.
In November I drove a couple of hundred kilometers along the Romantic Road. I ticked off some of the major towns, including Warzburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbuhl and Augsburg. I hope to go back in the next year or so and complete the journey.
I started at the northern top of the road – Warzburg – at the central markets which are nestled in beside the town’s dramatic cathedral. In the true Bavarian tradition my first meal was a Bratwurst sausage hotdog with locally made mustard, all for β¬2.
I’ve had hotdogs in Harlem in New York, at Pinks on La Brea in Los Angeles, I’ve had a cab driver take me around the scariest parts of southside Chicago looking for the definitive American hotdog, and I’ve driven through Krakow in Poland looking for the definitive Polish hotdog (never found – they don’t eat hotdogs in Poland!) and yet this Warzburg hotdog has to be the best I’ve had. Probably because the Warzburg sausage was so damn good.
Suitably nourished for my trip south, having eaten my three favourite food groups – bread, mustard, and hotdog – I headed down to my next stop, Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the kind of town you see on biscuit tin lids. Its perfect in every way. The old town lies within ancient walls, and is largely free of traffic. The buildings have been beautifully restored, and the town probably contains more Americans per square meter than Dodger Stadium.
Rothenburg is famous for its Schneeballes, or snowballs, which are rolled biscuits containing plum schnaps, deep-fried and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. They have a long shelf-life and are sold all over the town, often as souvenirs.
Suitably nourished from my Rothenburg snowballs, containing three of my favourite food groups – sugar, flour, and deep-fry – I then headed further south to Dinkelsbuhl.
Dinkelsbuhl is so romantic it’s the kind of place where you just want your buhls dinkelled.
Dinner in Dinkelsbuhl consisted of duck with grapes and croutons and sticks of roasted potatoes, followed by strudel, all washed down with Weissbeir.
Suitably nourished by my three favourite food groups – duck, strudel and weissbeir – I then headed further south to my last stop on the Romantic Road – Augsburg.
Augsburg was established by the Romans in 15BC because it was on a trade route through to Italy, but it’s perhaps most notable Wikipedia entry is that it was the home of the Messerschmitt aircraft factory, supplying German fighter planes during World War 2.
I didn’t see much of Augsburg because I headed straight to Dichtl’s.
Dichtl is a pastry joint I could live in. I would be prepared to take up German residency to live in Dichtl’s. I would hide in the bathrooms during the day and come out at night, like a rat. I would forage, and be prepared to forgo my other favourite food groups to embrace my new three favourite food groups – cake, cake, and cake.
Dichtl’s is also a fabulous chocolate shop – all hand made of course. And in November, they had all their Christmas stuff out…
I had to leave the Romantic Road. I was getting fat. Too many damn favourite food groups.
I’ll go back and complete the journey. I want to get to the Fantasyland castle. See if I can find Tinkerbell… there’s things we need to discuss. Like did she invent fairy floss?