Kenny, the boyfriend, spent the summer doing an internship in Nuremberg and while the relocation wasn’t ideal, a chance to visit and explore Bavaria was certainly most welcome. And what’s more, I’d heard about the ‘Romantic Road’ (Romantische Strasse – what amazing marketing!!! and so many jokes to be made about how romantic everything was) and was keen to see what exactly makes a road romantic.
Surprisingly, this trip turned into a bit of an Italian gastronomic tour. We began the long weekend in Nuremberg – a beautiful little town, even on a rainy summer Friday – and had dinner at Siculum, a little Italian place specialising in Sicilian and Sardinian food. My good friend Lisa, who is German, had told me how chanterelles (‘pfifferlings’) are widely loved and enjoyed in Germany at this time of year – and also a favourite of hers. And so I ordered fettuccini with pfifferlings, whilst Kenny asked for a sausage pasta that wasn’t on the menu but that he had enjoyed last time – they kindly obliged, proper Italian hospitality! Both pastas were homemade and absolutely delicious. And the next day at the market I saw all mushrooms of the rainbow!!
Nuremberg – Rothenburg ob der Tauber
We join the famed ‘Romantic Road’ in Franconia (Northern Bavaria) at Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The road itself is almost 400km-long and attracts about 2 million visitors each year (!!). We skipped Würzberg in the interest of time, but from all accounts this is very beautiful too.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is widely known to be incredibly touristy, so my expectations were low, but oh how they were exceeded! The town was beautiful, even on an overcast day, and is definitely worth a visit, and perhaps even worth an overnight stay if you have the time.
We had lunch at Profumo di Pasta da Giuseppe, where I vowed to have something a little more modest on the back of a huge bowl of pasta the night before… but then I saw homemade gnocchi on the menu, and not just any gnocchi, but Gnocchi alla sorrentina (potato gnocchi with tomato sauce and mozzarella). One of my FAVOURITE dishes in Melbourne is Gnocchi Posillipo from La Camera on Chapel Street – which is essentially Gnocchi alla sorrentina – so I knew I had to have it. And it didn’t disappoint.
After that delicious lunch, we went into a ‘Schneeballen’ shop and ordered 4 different types. Schneeballen, snowball in English, is a pastry made from shortcrust pastry and traditionally coated with icing sugar, they are especially popular in the area of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. A local delicacy it seems. 4 was probably a little bit of overkill and 3 days later we were still trying to finish them 😐 My favourite was definitely the one covered in icing and nuts.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Dinkelsbühl – Nördlingen – Augsburg – Landsberg am Lech
Of these little towns Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen were my favourites – so quaint and sweet, with beautiful medieval walls. Landsberg am Lech was also very nice and we stayed nearby.
That evening we strayed from our Italian tour, and ate at a typical Bavarian restaurant. I ordered Semmelknödel mit Pfifferlingrahm, again getting into those chanterelle mushrooms – this time served in a creamy sauce with traditional Bavarian dumplings (“Semmeln” is the German word for dinner rolls, as these dumplings are made from stale bread, milk and eggs). This was very tasty, though the dumplings were quite dense. I went into some of Semmel-coma afterwards.
We had breakfast the next morning at a nearby town called Mindelheim, at a little place called Cafe Sisters where we had a takeaway salmon bagel and some of the best Bircher Muesli I’ve had in VERY long time.
Landsberg am Lech – Füssen – Starnberger See
We visited Schloss Neuschwanstein on the Sunday – the castle that was the model for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. Note: it gets VERY BUSY!! Also note, you don’t have to line up (like me… idiot) to walk to SEE the castle, you only have to line up for a ticket if you want to go inside (there goes 45 minutes of my life I’ll never get back). For the postcard view of Neuschwanstein walk up the mountain to Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge), which spans the spectacular Pöllat Gorge – it takes about half an hour and is quite steep if you take the shorter route. Again, at the top we were met with a queue to get on the bridge. The bridge itself is a vertigo hot spot – it seemed to be made of very pliable wood and with about 40 people weighing it down trying to take photos of the castle, it didn’t seem all that stable!
But it was absolutely beautiful, the dream castle of any Disney-loving man, woman or child.
The nearby town of Füssen (above) is very pretty and a great little spot to stop for some lunch.
We then drove to Starnberger See (Lake Starnberg), which is Germany’s fifth largest freshwater lake and a popular getaway for Munich locals. We stayed at Marina Bernried hotel which was very nice, quite big, but very comfortable and with a lovely restaurant overlooking the marina. I also got to fulfil my dream of swimming in a natural Bavarian lake – my gosh it was COLD! We ate Italian for dinner again…
Starnberger See – Munich
I have visited Munich previously, twice for Oktoberfest and twice with work. More recently I’ve stay at the CORTIINA Hotel which is really lovely, beautiful modern rooms with an exceptional breakfast – it’s also very central. For Oktoberfest I stayed at the Wombats Hostel, and then in the camping ground – which was great at the time (when I was 21), but I think I’m too old for these sort of situations now. ESPECIALLY that camping ground.
This time we stayed at The Flushing Meadows Hotel. We loved it. It’s in an industrial building in a very cool neighbourhood (Glockenbach) and with a rooftop bar that looks out over across Munich – great drinks and big comfortable beds.
Some Munich places I like, this list is not extensive!:
- Sushi Sano – during my first visit to Oktoberfest in 2011, we ate here often. Cheap and excellent Japanese!!!! It still exists and after visiting again, is just as good.
- Schumann’s Bar – a Munich establishment, with a laid back vibe and an amazing bar (and drinks too!). Modern takes on classic Bavarian dishes.
- Bayerischer Hof Hotel – go to the rooftop for excellent views!
- Super Danke – the smoothie bar attached to The Flushing Meadows Hotel… I loved it (and go upstairs for a drink of course too)
- Pescheria – a little Italian place in Glockenbach, which specialised in seafood. The Spaghetti Vongole was exceptional
- Beer gardens – a very Bavarian thing to do / place to go… Just find one that isn’t on one of the main streets
Other areas and towns we would have visited had we had more days: Bamberg, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberammergau, Mittenwald, Oberstdorf, Berchtesgaden, Regensburg (and around there), Bavarian Forest, and even Salzberg (just over the border!),
On my last night here we went to Pizzeria LAMMBOCK. I LOVED my pizza (though I was starving – and this can affect by tastiness barometer) and the vibe was very cool, the service was terrrrrible though and they refused to serve tap water (reading between the lines, because they don’t make any money from it).
Nuremberg on a warm summer’s night was lovely, lots of people out and about – a really beautiful little city.