We woke on the second day in Augsburg ready to start with a tasty breakfast. As they say “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and luckily this hotel agrees with that sentiment. There was an endless selection of hot and cold food that would leave any man spoilt for choice; even me! After one plate of hot food, including the Bavarian Weißwurst (White sausage), it was time to head to my favourite part of the buffet; the hot dog station. That’s right, a special area of a breakfast buffet with fresh hotdogs, relish and buns. Needless to say I got stuck in. Would have been rude not to, right?
Belly full, it was time to check out of the hotel and make our way onto the Romantische Straße (Romantic Road). Augsburg is roughly in the middle of the road and we were planning on heading north on our way up to Würzburg over the next two days. First stop was Harburg Castle in Harburg. I know, the name gives it away really doesn’t it.
The lovely little castle is perched on the top of the hill overlooking the village of Harburg. It is very small on the inside but has a really nice viewing platform which overlooks the village and countryside below. Great for taking pictures of the scenery and a cheeky selfie if that is what you prefer. The main courtyard has a small garden and some buildings scattered around the outside. You can see the walkways on the walls that run round the interior, but unfortunately they are only accessible with a guided tour. I always prefer to take in my surroundings at my own pace rather than with a tour, so we decided to give that a miss and head over to the restaurant to get a warm drink.
Little did we know, when we stepped over the threshold, that the restaurant had only opened that day and we were the very first guests! We soon found out though and felt like celebrities as they happily asked all about our trip and where we were from. We heard the owner run into the kitchen and explain to all the staff that they finally had guests and we were English. It got even stranger when our drinks were brought out as the owner suddenly appeared with his camera and asked to take our picture to commemorate the moment. My fiancèe and I looked at each other, gave a slightly awkward smile and a nod before we agreed. So we spent the next few minutes trying to maintain a smile while having our drinks hovering precariously in front of us. After all the excitement I completely forgot to ask for a copy of the picture and unfortunately I haven’t been able to find it on their website yet. The hunt goes on.
Hot chocolate finished and paparazzi appeased, we made our way to the second stop of the day; Nördlingen. Around the outside of this town are beautiful medieval walls along with walkways that you can traverse and enjoy the view from another perspective. It is amazing how just that little height can give a whole new perspective on the scenery. I was also very surprised at how well maintained all the medieval architecture is in all the towns and villages we visited. It isn’t often that you would find this kind of preservation in England.
In the centre of the town, after walking through the local market, we took a small respite from the wind and rain to enjoy some Bavarian pastries and a hot beverage. In this particular cafe, I chose a Bretzel (Pretzel to us English folk) and a raspberry and apple strudel. Both were delicious and went down nicely with a fresh hot chocolate. I even managed to have a little chat with the staff in German, asking about the ingredients in the Strudel and what the different pastries were called. One lady asked the other what the English for Strudel was and were very surprised when I told them that I already knew what that was and it was a Strudel. Funny how these things work isn’t it?
We also noticed that the public toilets are a little different in Germany. Unlike in England, where there is one room with all the toilet cubicles and wash basins, hand driers etc., the German toilets are split into a little entrance (or foyer if you are feeling fancy) with the basins and mirrors, then a door to a separate room with the toilet cubicles (and urinals for the Gents). It is almost like they want multiple airlocks before it reaches the outside world. Maybe it is something to do with all the sauerkraut; but I think that is a discussion for another time! I managed to navigate this Crystal Maze style room but my fiancèe had quite the awkward encounter. She stepped through the toilet foyer into the main room only to find a German lady trying to lock herself in the whole room rather than in a cubicle. What followed next was what I can only imagine as some sort of comedy sketch with an English woman and a German woman trying to explain to each other where the toilets are and not understanding a word! They must have figured it out because 10 minutes later my fiancèe came out and explained the whole escapade to me while I happily laughed my head off.
We then took a nice stroll around the town to look at some of the traditional timber framed buildings, beautiful towers and gatehouses around the outskirts. It is always nice to wander around a new place and just soak in the atmosphere, listening to the sounds of the people around us. One thing that I really liked was that they had a cast iron sculpture that was a miniature representation of the town. Not something that you see everywhere.
After we had our fill of Nördlingen it was time to move on to our last stop for the day. Dinkelsbühl was, without doubt, my favourite stop on the Romantische Straße. I will tell you all about this wonderful place in my next post. Make sure you follow me here and on Instagram (@pillar_to_post) so you don’t miss out on any of the action.
Ciao for now!