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Germany, 2017 (Finally)

I will be leaving this Friday for 3 weeks (20 nights) in Germany. This will be basically a do-over for the trip I had planned for April, but had to cancel due to my partner, Robin's, health issues. I will try to report on this forum as I go along.

2 nights in St. Goar. It's close to FRA - a good place to get over jet lag and a sure place to get to so I can go farther using a SparPreis Ticket without risk.

3 nights in Pfronten-Steinach. We will spend one day going to Hohenschwangau to visit Neuschwanstein.

4 nights in Lindau on Lake Constance (Bodensee). Plan to take the train one day to Bregenz, Austria, then continue around the lake to Rorschach, Switzerland, and return by boat to Lindau.

2 nights in Rothenburg odT. Just so Robin can say she's seen it (I've been there twice before).

9 nights in Lohr am Main, in Franken. Lohr is a small to medium sized town (pop. 16,000) on the Main in the Spessart, between Frankfurt and Würzburg. Not much going on there, but it has a lot of cobblestone streets, fachwerk buildings, breweries,, and people who don't speak English. Make day trips to Würzburg (Marienberg), Iphofen, Bamberg).

Posted by
1845 posts

This doesn't qualify as a comment on your report as you haven't posted yet but want you to know that I am very much looking forward to reading it! Are you flying through Frankfurt or Munich? Love the direct flights to either from Denver!

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Lee
Germany is beautiful,the food is so good,you might consider Oberammergau,a small town ,very quaint with a lot of folk painting on the houses,famous for the passion play.
Bamberg,wow,a beautiful town,loved it there,take your camera along.
Newswanstein Castle with its interesting story nice to see.I stayed in à B&B in this town ,very reasonable.
Enjoy your trip
Carolle

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17653 posts

We have a direct flight from Denver to FRA. That's why I am going first to St. Goar, because it is a short trip from FRA.

Been to Oberammergau, several times (including last trip, in 2013). Agree that it is a nice place, but not this time.

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17653 posts

OK, I'm "stubbing my reports by destination to keep them together. I've deleted the comments thread.

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17653 posts

St. Goar

No description needed by me. Rick covers it.

Arrived Sat. morning on time at FRA. We were so tired we decided to go directly to St. Goar instead of doing the Rhein cruise the first day. Checked into Hotel am Markt. Nice place. Right on the market square across from the KD dock. Newly remodeled room. Friendly people. Went right to bed for a couple of hour's nap, then had a late supper at the hotel.

This morning we went up to Bingen Stadt first thing and came back on the KD boat to St. Goar. I wanted to see for myself how the stretch from Bingen to Bacharach compares to Bacharach to St. Goar. You definitely see more castles between Bingen and Bacharach, but other than that pretty much the same as Bacharach to St. Goar.

My conclusion, if you are going to go between St. Goar and Bingen, and you have a choice of directions, definitely go DOWN the river, Bingen to Bacharach to St. Goar. That direction is a nice, 1H25m trip; things go by quickly. I would never do St. Goar to Bacharach to Bingen, against the strong current. It takes 2H40m. Things go by so slowly, it gets tiresome. If I had to do the trip upriver, I'd just do one segment, preferably St. Goar to Bacharach in 1H10m, so I could see the mid-river castle, Pfalzgrafenstein, up close, but it's pretty much a toss-up.

Observations:
1. The walk from Bingen Stadt Bahnhof to the K-D dock was a lot shorter than it looks like on the map.
2. Instead of the 20% discount for showing a Bahn ticket, there is a 30% discount for seniors. If you are over 65, it doesn't matter if you get there on the train.
3. If you are not a senior, you definitely want to take the train to the boat to get the 20%.

Tomorrow, we take the train from St. Goar to Pfronten via Bingen Hbf, Ulm, and Kempten. The Bingen to Ulm leg is by IC, so I am using a SparPreis ticket.

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Pfronten-Steinach

Pfronten is a collection of 13 villages that grew together on the German/Aistrian border on the Außerfernbahn (train line) near Reutte, Austria. Steinach is one of the villages. We'll be staying here.

Oct 9: We arrived in Pfronten after an eight hour train ride from St. Goar. The IC from Bingen to Ulm was a very pleasant ride, comfortable compared to the regional trains we have been on, but due to the weather conditions in northern Germany, it arrived in Bingen 30 minutes late and never made up the time. We missed our connection in Ulm to the earlier train to Kempten and had to make an eight minute, one platform change in Kempten to arrive in Pfronten in time for the last bus to our hotel.

I can't overemphasize what a lovely town Pfronten is. Today, Oct 10, we just "bummed" around town, hitting the ATM and visiting the shops around Ried Bhf.

We bought a few things at a NORMA grocery store and then sat on a bench across the street. I noticed a sign, "Ferienwohnungen", on the building next to the grocery store and when I got back to our room looked it up on Google Maps - 35-40€ per night for 2 adults with kitchen. We could stay here for a week for less then 300€!

I asked the manager of our hotel about using a booking website. She said they only charge 59€ for a double room for the night. Take away 15% for Booking.com and "there's nothing left for me". They get enough business from other sources she said; they don't need Booking.

October 11: Today we went to Neuschwanstein. I don't know if the castle has gotten that much more popular than I remember, or if it's because it was because it was less than a week since the end of Oktoberfest, but the village of Hohenschwangau was packed. The line for Neuschwanstein was outside the building. I was very glad that I had made a reservation; the was hardly anyone in the line to pick up reservations. Due to Robin's mobility issues, we took the horse cart both ways. There are certainly a lot of steps inside the castle. We got back to the village with enough time to enjoy a bier in the outdoor dining area of Hotel Müller.

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17653 posts

Lindau

Lindau is an island city, walled in medieval times, just off the German shore of Lake Constance.

Including the bus from the stop near our hotel in Steinach, it was less than a three hour trip to Lindau, so I didn't push it. We left after 11:00 and still got to Lindau by 2:00 PM. Lindau is a very small island. Because we had our luggage, I opted for a taxi, but we could have easily walked.

One thing I have noted in my travels is the wide use of reusable energy. Everywhere we look there are big wind farms and vast fields of photo-electric arrays. Many houses have solar arrays on their roofs. Germany is so far ahead of the US in this area.

I think tomorrow we will explore the island, then, on Saturday we'll take the boat across to Switzerland and return by rail via Bregenz, Austria.

Saturday: We are currently in Bregenz, on the Pfänder, a mountain 600m above Bregenz, accessible by cable car - outstanding view of the lake.

Returned by train to Lindau.

Several lessons learned.

If you buy a point-point ticket from German Rail (at least a regional one), you have until the end of the day to finish the trip. In a Verkehrsverbund (like Munich metro), you have just a few hours. When we got off the boat in Rorschach, Switzerland, I bought an SBB ticket back to Lindau, expecting to be able to stop in Bregenz for a couple of hours. Apparently the end of the lake, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, is all on VV. The ticket had a time limit on it of a few hours. I had to buy an additional ticket from Bregenz to Lindau for 2,30€ pP.

Austrian Rail ticket machines are a little different than German Rail machines. After you put in your start and end point, you get a screen with two columns. The one on the left is for number of adults, children, dogs, & bicycles. The column on the left is for ticket discounts (there are a lot of them). There is no line for "none". If you have none, you just go to the next (pay) page by pushing "weiter". I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to say no discounts.

There was only one automat on the platform at Bregenz Hafenbahnhof. Two old ladies spent a 15 minutes trying to figure out the automat, and the train was already in the station when I finally got my chance to use the machine. I consequently did not have time to buy my tickets and missed that train and had to take the next one in half an hour.

Sunday: today is a rest day (due to Robin fragile health). We explored the island a little. All the shops are closed due to it's being Sunday. While she napped, I "tested" the bus system. When I was planning this trip, I found a number of cute and inexpensive Ferienwohnungen and Privatzimmer on the mainland, but we would have needed a bus to get to them. I wasn't sure how that would work, so I opted for a place on the island (every place on the island, as expected, is expensive). Next time I want to stay off the island, on the mainline. The bus system is easy and works well. There are eight routes (two to the island and six for the mainland). They all meet every half hour at the ZUP (Zentral Umsteigen Punkt = central transfer point), where there is a wild few minutes of everyone changing buses, like musical chairs, then the buses go out on their respective routes. So you can get to anywhere on the system in an hour, or less. Most places I found to stay at were within walking distance of a stop on one of the routes.

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Same as St. Goar.

Monday: The trip to Rothenburg took all day, partly due to two one-hour transfers at Augsburg and Treuchtlingen. Augsburg Hbf is a disgrace to the normally fine German Rail system. Although it is a major transfer station, there are no elavators from the platforms to the tunnel. There are two tunnels, far apart, but one is out of order, and the WC is beyond the out-of-order tunnel so it was a long walk from the working tunnel to WC. And then it was a pay toilet (1€). Avoid a transfer in Augsburg if at all possible.

We got to Rothenburg around four o'clock. I had picked a hotel close to the station so it was a short walk with our luggage. Robin was tired from all the train changes and stairs, so she took a nap before dinner. We walked a couple of blocks to a restaurant inside the wall and had dinner.

Tuesday: We really slept in today, just barely getting to the breakfast room before 10 AM, when they closed. After breakfast, we shopped down Rödelgasse to the main square where we had a late lunch. I had Federweiß and Ziebelkuchen - new wine and onion tort - traditional this time of year.

Maybe it's just the time of the year, but I didn't find Rothenburg to be as touristy as I had been led to expect. I'm sure most of the people I saw on the street were tourist, but the streets did not seem overly crowded for a town this big.

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17653 posts

Lohr am Main, Wednesday, 19. October

Lohr am Main is a small-to-medium sized town (16,000) on the main river about a half hour west of Würzburg. A large Bosch plant seems to be the major employer in town. We are staying in a Ferienwohnung (vacation apartment) in Frau Hoffmann's building just outside the old town. Our FeWo is really nice. Four rooms (small living room, bedroom, good sized eat-in kitchen, hallway, and bathroom with shower) on the Dachgeschoss (level under the roof). It looks like it's never been lived in but I know it has been (when I booked it for last spring, I had to rearrange my schedule because it was already booked for when I originally wanted to stay). The ground floor of the building is occupied by a food bank for the "poor". All of the people getting the free food seem to be of eastern Mediterranean origin. Robin says she saw a woman leaving the bank with a big bag of food, walk 100 ft, and was picked up by someone driving a very new car. Hmm!

Lohr would make a great honeymoon venue. A very pretty little town with absolutely nothing going on.

Thursday: It was very foggy early this morning and will probably be overcast all day, but so far, no rain. The forecast is for rain tomorrow morning, clear in the afternoon, and rain all day on Saturday.

This afternoon we took the bus the short distance from our abode to the center of the old town. We walked up the main street, which is for pedestrians only. I've rarely seen so many fachwerk buildings in one place in Germany. This area seems to be a center for restaurants, as well as clothing shops. After a light lunch, we found the tourist information office, which is near the Schloß. My contact there, Hannelore, is not working today. After so many email exchanges while I was planning this trip, I wanted to meet her. I picked up bus schedules and took the bus back to our apartment. I'll try to meet Hannelore tomorrow.

Friday: It is overcast today. The forecast is for rain this morning. So far it hasn't rained. I left Robin in the apartment and took the bus back downtown, met Hannelore, used the ATM, then got on the bus again and went up to the area near the Bahnhof. There are three grocery stores there (Lidl, Norma, and Edeka), almost next to each other. I've been using the store (Kupsch) a couple of blocks from the apartment, but I wanted to see what other stores carry. The one store I went into, Norma, was a lot bigger than the one I've been using and has a much bigger selection of some things. I'll have to come back. As I go by the bus stop, the bus back to the stop near our apartment is stopped at the Haltestelle (there is one every 30 minutes). I could go to the other stores and catch a later bus, but it is starting to rain, so I get on and go home.

A few hours later, as the sun is going down, the sky is clear again. Tomorrow, is Saturday. If it is not raining, I'm going back to check the other stores, and get food for the rest of the weekends. The stores will close Saturday evening and be closed on Sunday. I need to be prepared.

Saturday: I went up to Lidl grocery store to get some more things. I have decided to cook on Sunday. So far I have never used a Ferienwohnung for anything but breakfast, but we have a kitchen available, I'm going to cook. I'll fix Ziguernerschnitzel (pork cutlets gypsy style, with onion and bell peppers in a tomato based paprika sauce. I'll put it over Spätzle. I bought some Spätzle the other day when we had had a lunch in town, and I wanted something light for dinner.

It rained late this afternoon. I actually used the umbrella.

I'm running out of space, I'll have to continue at the end of this thread.

Posted by
908 posts

Enjoying the reports. I've linked it to my, "Future Trips" list.

Posted by
1560 posts

Thanks for your ongoing report. Glad that the weather has been fine so far - the two weeks before your arrival is was trist and depressing.

Posted by
293 posts

Nice Ferienwohnung in Pfronten - can you detail their breakfast?

And are you just using public trans and no car?

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17653 posts

This is my third time in October in Bavaria. First one (2007) I never saw rain, although nights were chilly and a lot of German hotels turn off the heat at night.

The second time was in 2013. We never saw rain, but we had a little snow in Berchtesgaden on about the seventh of October (GaP had six inches that night).

This trip we had intermittent rain the first two days on the middle Rhein. No rain since, although we might get some in the Spessart in a few days. Rick's Germany guide book from about two decades ago had a chart of average temp and precipitation for parts of Germany. October is Bavaria's driest month.

Yes, all by public transportation - five train legs, 2 point-point tickets, two Bayern-Tickets, one SparPrice (Savings Fare) for the longest trip, St. Goar to Pfronten, using an IC.

Breakfast at Aggenstein was "just" a typical German breakfast, which includes everything you might want - rolls, cheese, cold cuts, marmalade, cereal, fruit, soft-boiled egg, juice, and of course, great coffee. But Aggenstein is a Gasthof, not a Ferienwohnung. At a Ferienwohnung you normally fix you own breakfast from what you buy at the market.

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1560 posts

Avoid a transfer in Augsburg if at all possible.

Yes, if only for the next two or three years. The station is currently a construction site. They are building a tunnel for the tram under the tracks (hence the closing down of all but one of the walking tunnels) and rebuilding the entire station. The whole project could have been completed long ago but due to conflicting goals of the city (which wanted the tram tunnel) and the DB (which didn't want it saying, correctly I think, that tram could stop on the large station square as it had always done) and some overly smart local politicians (who thought they could simply take the money given by the federal republic and build an underground car park instead) the project has been delayed for over 10 years now. I'm sorry you fell into the middle of a pit. If you come back in a few years it should look like this.

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17653 posts

I have some observations that I am going to put here at the end (currently) of the thread so as not to interrupt the flow of the main story.

Trains: So far the trains have been mostly punctual. The IC we took on the third day to Ulm was over a half hour late getting to Bingen. I think it had something to do with the weather in the northern part of the country, where the train originated. It caused us to miss a connection in Ulm, making us take the next train an hour later. We were an hour late getting to Pfronten.

Our train to Augsburg was 10 minutes late leaving Lindau; I think it was waiting for a higher priority high speed train to bring connecting passengers from Austria or Switzerland. They seem to be doing this a lot. Trains wait for a late connecting train making them late, and then other trains wait for them and it just snowballs across the country. In 2013, the ICE from Köln that we took from FRA Fernbahnhof was half an hour late.

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17653 posts

Luggage: Despite my best advice per convertible (backpack) carry-ons, Robin brought a 2-wheeled, rolling carry-on :(. Actually, surprisingly, it is working out well. Robin is not strong enough to handle her luggage (you have to remember she was in the hospital and rehab for about two month earlier this year), and I could not deal with two backpacks, but I can wear my backpack and drag her roller. However, this brings home the difference between a backpack and a roller. My backpack is absolutely no problem; I just wear it, but I can only drag the roller part of the time. I'm constantly having to fold the handle and pick it up and carry it - on and off trains (the platform and car almost never line up), on and off buses, up and down stairs in hotels and train stations (the conveyor belts only work half the time), and into cars (we take a few taxis). This trip has given me the opportunity to compare a backpack and a roller on even terms, and I can definitely say that, despite the claims of roller advocates, a roller is much more trouble.

By the way, I'm using an eTech 2.0 Weekender Jr. for the first time in Europe. I really love two features of it. One is the cinch straps. They allow me to "tighten" the load. With my previous bags, not filling the bag completely let the content sag to the bottom. Between the exterior cinch straps and the internal straps, the contents stay in place. The other is the sternum strap, which keeps the backpack straps from sliding off my shoulders.

Ferienwohnungen: In my previous trips I was usually traveling single. Ferienwohnungen are meant for at least two people, if not families. The are usually not economical for one person. Plus, they are meant for extended stays. Often they restrict stays to a few days, even a week or more, so they have generally not been available to me. This trip, and my last trip in 2013, I've traveled with Robin, which has given be more opportunity to use Ferienwohnungen. It's nice to move into a place and take all your stuff out of the suitcase and put it in the cabinet, knowing you won't have to move for a week. On the last trip we stayed 7 nights in a FeWo in the Allgäu for about 43€ per night; this trip we are staying in one in Lohr, for 35€ per night, for both of us! In fact, I will spend less for this Ferienwohnung for 9 nights than I did for the hotel in Lindau for 4 nights.

But there is a downside - grocery shopping. I don't mind shopping for groceries. It's fun to go into a store and see what the Germans see when they shop, but moving in has an expense. I just spend 32€ for breakfast ingredients (½# of coffee, sugar, cream, cold cuts, cheese, butter, marmalade, orange juice, and rolls for one morning). And, I will have to buy more rolls, meat, and cheese as I go, and then I'll have to leave a lot behind when I check out. In the Allgäu the Ferienwohnung had Brötchendienst (roll service). For 1,05€ per day, I got three breakfast rolls, freshly baked that morning, delivered on my door step. Here, if I want fresh baked rolls, I will have to get dressed and walk 3 minutes to the store in the morning. (sigh)

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ATMs: I remembered to tell my bank I would be in Germany; so so far my card is working, but I forgot to check the daily withdrawal limit. I usually have them up it to $500, but I forgot to this time. I haven't been able to get more than 300€. As we go through about 150€ a day, it means I have to go to the ATM every other day. Fortunately, the credit union only charges $1 per withdrawal (plus 1%).

Two days ago I used the ATM at the bank on the Hauptstrasse in Lohr, and they gave me 300€, 150€ in 50s and the other 150€ in smaller bills. Today, the same machine gave it to me all in 50s. Go figure. Maybe they were out of smaller bills.

Only once has an ATM given me 100€ notes. The rest of the time it's been 100€ in small bills, the rest in 50s.

Traffic: Lohr is a small town, but there is a constant flow of traffic on the main streets. There are very few signals in town, but a lot of traffic circles, and I am amazed at how well the traffic moves around the circles. Everyone seems to be considerate and cars merge seamlessly.

Shopping: I'm not so sure I am saving that much money with a 35€/nt Ferienwohnung. So far I think I've been spending about 30€ a day at the grocery store(s). Rolls are cheap; a Kaiser roll cost 15 cent at the store, enough meat or cheese for 3 or 4 day costs 99 cent, 500 gm (1.1 lb) of coffee was 6€. Hopefully it will last for our whole time here. If not we will have to buy another half kilo before we go and leave most of it here. Even so, breakfast can't be costing us more than a few euro per night, each.

What would be a big expense if we were in the US would be wine. Even when we were staying in a hotel or gasthaus, without a kitchen, we would pick up a bottle of wine in the grocery store to enjoy it in the evening in our room. In Lindau our room had a balcony in the back of the building, very sheltered, shielded by grape vines, where we would sit out on the warm evenings. Wine is not taxed, or at least not as heavily as in the US. I just picked up two 750ml bottles of pretty good Riesling at the grocery store for 1.79€ each. (I think I want to become a wino and retire to Germany.)

I bought a 4.4 oz cream cheese log with with bell pepper and onion flakes on the outside to go with our crackers at wine time, 99 cent. I really think groceries are cheaper here. I think beef is more expensive than pork here, but I looked in the meat cabinet at the store at boneless rib steaks and they were 19.99€/kg. At $1.18/€, today, that's about $11.75/lb. Rib steak is more than that in Denver.

Money: When I first went to Europe, I had trouble with accumulating coins, beginning with Mark, later with euro. Coins were unfamiliar to me and the numbers were not easy to see, whereas the bill had nice big numbers I could see, so I tended to give people bills and end up with pounds of coins in my pocket. I finally figured out to hold the coins in my palm, like in a coin roll, and look at the edges. The one and two euro have milling on the edge, continuous on the two, intermittent for the one. The 10, 20, and 50 cent brass coins have bigger notches, the same, continuous ones on the 10 and 50, but the size difference is noticeable; there's only a few notches on the 20. And the 1, 2, and 5 cent copper coins are smooth on the 1 and 5 edges, but the sizes are very different; the 2 has a circumferential groove.

For train and bus tickets, at least in Germany, prices are always rounded to ten cent, so most of the time I never get copper coins. I got pretty good at recognizing the other coins and not letting them piling up. Now that I am staying in a Ferienwohnung and shopping at the grocery stores, my total bill comes to the cent, so copper coins started to pile up, but after three days it was still only 25 cent, and I bought a "twelver ticket" for the bus for 12,25€, so I got rid of all 25 cent at once.

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17653 posts

Lohr am Main (continued):

Sunday, 22. October: We are in our last week in Germany. so far most of what we have done in Lohr is to rest. I did spend time yesterday shopping for groceries. It was a very time consuming process, what with unfamiliar packaging and a new store layout. I spent a lot of time looking for bread crumb (Semmelbrösel). I thought they might be by the flour, but no. I finally found them next to the crackers.

Tonight, for the first time, I took advantage of the kitchen in our Ferienwohnung and fixed dinner. The "kitchen" is pretty primitive, a five foot wide counter with a two burner stove, sink, and draining area. It was a bit of a challenge, particularly since my cooking needed three burners - one for the sauce, one for the spaetzel, and one for the schnitzel - but I only had two burners, so I had to rotate pans. But I did it.

Hopefully, tomorrow we will get up in time to make a trip to the world famous village of Iphofen.

Monday, 23. October

I spent too much time yesterday cooking and not enough time planning. When I got ready to go to Iphofen this morning, I realized I didn't know how how we would get from the station into town. It's almost half a mile and Robin can't walk that far without resting a few times. I googled "Iphofen Verkehr" without finding anything, then tried the Bahn website, but couldn't come up with any transportation. I really did't have time to do anymore research before leaving for the train, so I decided to just do Würzburg today. Later I found the bus schedule for Iphofen on the VVM website.

We took the train into the Würzburg Bhf. While Robin checked out a bookstore in the bahnhof, I looked up our routing on my computer, then found an ATM (this 300€ limit is really a pain). We caught the tram from the bahnhof to Julius-promenade. The tram was late, so we missed out one minute connection to the bus to Marienberg. We were hungry, so we ducked into a little bar, to wait for the next bus. It was a small place, just for locals; certainly not a tourist place. I think they were fascinated to have foreigners in the bar and they started a conversation. Where were we from and what were we doing in Würzburg? When I told them be were going to the Marienberg, one of them looked it up on his phone and found it was closed on Monday. Ops. I'm sure the Residenz, the only other place I wanted to see that day was also closed. So we spent the rest of our time in Würzburg at the bar, hob-nobbing with the locals. The guy sitting at the table next to us said his name was Louis, and he was from Schwaben. I don't think we was real well acquainted with Hoch Deutsch. I had trouble understanding him and he didn't really understand me, but we did get to meet his dog which spent the time hiding under the bench. She looked like she was a Dachshund-Schnauzer mix. She was 13 years and had maybe had a rough life before he had adopter her, because she shivered and seemed afraid of everything, although she did come out and let us pet her.

We left our new friends in Würzburg and returned to Lohr. Tonight we ate around the corner at a family run restaurant at Küferstube. I had Jägerschnitzel; Robin had Goose (when was the last time you saw goose on an American restaurant menu?).

Tuesday: Today was a day of rest. I did some grocery shopping. Otherwise we just lounged around the apartment.

Wednesday: We had planned to go out today, but Robin is having an intestinal problem so we decided to stay close to home. This afternoon we will probably go into town.

I'm a little behind on my posting - it's 10:30 CET (in Germany) and we have a big day ahead of us tomorrow as we come back to the US. I will have to fill you in on the rest of the trip when I get home. Until then, reporting from Germany.

Posted by
1560 posts

Hope you are having a good time in Lohr in spite of the deteriorating weather. Did you check out Weinhaus Mehling? It was one of my favourite places when I was based in Würzburg. If you go to Wuerzburg, don't miss to call at Weinhaus Maulaffenbäck , a traditional and "untouristy" wine taverne in the center of W. (easy to find: locate the Kaufhof department store and dive into the alley right of it).

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17653 posts

SLA, we ate lunch at Mehling on Thursday. Robin had Schnecken (snails), which she liked. I had something on the menu that I didn't recognize, just to find out what it was. It was a slice of baked ham in a cutout piece of bread, with Meerradisch. Nothing special; I doubt that I would have it again, but that's the fun of just ordering things on the menu to find out what they are.

Posted by
8889 posts

Lee, Meerrettich = Horseradish. Often served with meat, especially beef.

Posted by
17653 posts

Chris, sorry for the misspelling; I didn't have my dictionary with me. I was "shooting from the hip", so to speak. But I did know what it was, since 1988, in Munich, where I had Forelle with a "sauce" of Schlagsahne (whipped cream) with Meerrettich and Preiselbeere (cranberry) in it. Unusual, but good.

Posted by
1560 posts

"Meerrettich": Just use the local Franconian word: Kren. So easy. ;)

Posted by
1560 posts

I'm sure the Residenz, the only other place I wanted to see that day was also closed.

The Residenz is open daily 9am to 6pm. So sorry that you didn't go - you probably were only 300m away!

Posted by
7645 posts

Sorry that we couldn't meet up during your 3 weeks in Germany. Maybe next time.
Sounds like you had a good time visiting the towns you wanted to see.

Posted by
252 posts

Sorry you never made it to Iphofen. It's a lovely little wine town. There are a number of the old medieval towers and gates still standing. We stayed there for a few nights at the Gasthof zum Hirschen in 2005 and really enjoyed it. Didn't go to Wurzburg but visited the charming village of Dettelbach on the Main River as well as Karlstadt on Main. Love these interesting little German towns.

Sounds like you had a great trip.

Posted by
663 posts

Although it is a major transfer station, there are no elavators from
the platforms to the tunnel. There are two tunnels, far apart, but one
is out of order, and the WC is beyond the out-of-order tunnel so it
was a long walk from the working tunnel to WC. And then it was a pay
toilet (1€). Avoid a transfer in Augsburg if at all possible.

I haven't seen the current situation in Augsburg, but in general, many stations have undergone major construction during the past years. For one thing, because they built exactly what you missed - elevators. For another, because they have been turning most stations into shopping malls due to the more lenient opening hours that are effective for train station stores.

I would tend to disagree with your last sentence though, however unpleasant the station may be at the moment. I would never think of planning my route by what stations to avoid because that might cost me considerable detours and extra time.

And a piece of time-tested advice on restrooms: Always use the one on the train if you can... it's free!
(My deep-rooted dislike of train station restrooms may come into play here. They used to be really horrible. The train restrooms also used to be horrible, but not nearly as horrible as the ones in the stations.)

Posted by
17653 posts

I would never think of planning my route by what stations to avoid
because that might cost me considerable detours and extra time.

Actually, this time I had two choices, via Augsburg or via Ulm and Baden Württemberg. The route via Augsburg was actually the longer (by ½ hr), time wise, but I chose it because it had a full hour in Augsburg around noon for lunch, vs ½ hr in Ulm), and I was able to use a Bayern-Ticket. On the other hand, it had a 1H05 change of trains at Treuchtlingen, which was a pain. If I could do it over I would choose the Ulm route. Both arrived in Rothenburg at the same time, but the Ulm train left Lindau 37 minutes later.

And a piece of time-tested advice on restrooms: Always use the one on
the train if you can.

When you are 73 with an enlarged prostate, you can't always "can". By the way, the restroom in the Augsburg station was one of the modern "pay" ones - very clean, just expensive.

I really need to finish my narrative. The last day we went to Iphofen (more on that coming). We got back to Lohr after 6 pm and stopped for dinner at Blues Corner, down the street from our apartment. It's a noisy little bar with 65 varieties of pizzas, by toppings, not size. By the time we got back to our apartment, we had to pack because we were leaving for the airport at 9 AM the next morning. After we got back we had to fly to Seattle for Robin's stepfather's interment. By then I had waited so long to finish I had lost the rhythm.

Posted by
1560 posts

On the other hand, it had a 1H05 change of trains at Treuchtlingen

Transfer time from every train arriving from Augsburg to every train leaving for Steinach (-Rothenburg) is exactly 5 min all day round. I'm sorry that nobody has told you that. If your partner couldn't make it within 5 min they should have held the train for a couple of minutes.

Posted by
1403 posts

Some ATM's allow you to specify the bills you want. I don't think it is usually obvious, and may not be an option on an English version. I remember using an ATM and only saw the option the second time.

Posted by
17653 posts

Some ATM's allow you to specify the bills you want.

I've never noticed that, and I usually leave the ATM in German. But it hasn't been an issue. I think all but one ATM on my last trip gave me the first 100 euro in small bills (20s, 10s, and 5s) and the rest in 50s.

Posted by
17653 posts

And now to the last day, in Iphofen. One of the places I really wanted to visit was Iphofen, because Russ promotes it so much. I really like walled cities, particularly ones with a Wehrgang that you can walk on on the wall.

Does anyone but me remember the pilot episode of "The Twilight Zone" in the late 1950s. It was called "Where is everybody"? A guy walks into a small town called Oakwood and finds it completely deserted. There is nobody in the buildings, like a cafe, but it looks like they just left (coffee still on).

Well, that's the feeling I had in Iphofen. Maybe it was because it was late October, past tourist time, but just a couple of weeks earlier Rothenburg had been bustling. We got off the bus from the Bahnhof at Stadtgraben Ost and walked through the gate into town. We walked about 200 yds. without seeing a single person, not even a stray dog. We turned right down another deserted street and walked almost 100 yds to a restaurant. The sign outside said it wouldn't be open until dinner time. We went another 100 yds to where two bicyclist, the only people we had seen, pulled up and went into a tea shop. Well, at least we knew there were some people in the town.

After wandering another 300 yds without seeing anyone, we came to the town square, where there was an Italian restaurant open (with a waitress, the third person we'd seen). There were also a couple of workers storing for winter the wooden deck for outside eating.)

By this time my Partner Robin was so disgusted about the "exciting town" I had brought here to that she just wanted to go back to Lohr. I had wanted to inspect some of the wall, be she was having nothing of it. We walked the 1/3 mile back to a Stadtgraben gate. On the way we passed the Mainbernheimer Tor, but didn't go through it.

Before the trip I had looked up the bus schedule from Stadtgraben Ost to the Bahnhof, and I knew there were a few buses back in the afternoon. When we got to the bus stop at Stadtgraben Ost and looked at the posted schedule, it did not show any buses back to the Bahnhof.

Now I was getting really worried. The walk back to the Bahnhof was a little over a km, not too far for me, but Robin is "mobility challenged" and probably can't walk the far without frequent rests. Just as I was about to try to find a taxi, a bus came by going the wrong direction, but the destination sign on the bus said "Iphofen Bahnhof". I confirmed with the driver that he was indeed going to the Bahnhof, so we got in. The bus went way out town to Markt Einersheim but eventually came back past Stadtgraben Ost, going the other way, and then to the Bahnhof, where we caught the train to Würzburg, then the RE to Iphofen, and got to Lohr just in time to catch the last bus from the Bahnhof back to our apartment.

When I got back to the apartment, with Wifi, I checked with the Bahn and VVM (Verkehrsverbund Main-Franken, Würzburg Metro), and the bus we took appears on both, but not on the schedule posted at the bus stop. We had dinner at the jazz place just down the street, then went back to the apartment and packed to leave at 9 the next morning.