It had long been an ambition of mine to travel the Romantische Straße (Romantic Road) in southern Germany – 460 kilometres of road linking picturesque castles and historic towns.
At last we were there at the start of it in the delightful city of Würzburg which sits on the banks of the Main River.
Unbelievably 90 per cent of this ancient city was completely destroyed by 225 British Lancaster bombers in an aerial attack that lasted 17 minutes during World War II.
The city centre, which mostly dated from medieval times, was destroyed in a firestorm in which 5,000 people perished.
Walking round the lovely centre with it’s beautiful cathedrals and other striking monuments it is difficult to imagine the level of destruction that occurred less than 80 years ago.
It took 20 years of painstaking work (mostly by women – due to the loss of the male population during the War) to reconstruct, brick by brick, the important historical buildings that stand proud once again.
We were very fortunate to arrive just in time to be squeezed into the lovely camper van site on the banks of the river and just a short walk away from town.
We decided to walk into town before the sun went down and were soon strolling along the riverside path enjoying the warmth of the winter sunshine.
Arriving at the ancient bridge which led to the compact city centre we were immediately impressed by the twelve 4.5 metre high statues of saints and historically important figures that adorned it.
Building of the bridge started during the late 15th Century and it was completed in 1543 but it wasn’t until almost two hundred years later that the bridge was enriched with the famous statues.
We crossed over the bridge and came across quite a lot of people gathered in small groups sipping large glasses of white wine – very civilised!
Of course wine drinking is a “thing” in Würzburgt – the city is famous for the Wurtzburger Stein vineyard which is one of Germany’s oldest and largest vineyards.
We resisted temptation to join the drinkers and kept on walking to explore the centre a little more.
There were many beautiful buildings to admire from the outside but when we arrived at the Romanesque cathedral we stepped inside for a closer look.
There were many works of art to marvel at including numerous ancient tombs and effigies of bishops. One of my favourite items was a relatively modern and very striking seven-armed candelabra.
On our way back to the van we stopped on the bridge to watch the process of a double barge going through a lock.
There was only a really tiny amount of space on either side of the barge so the skipper had to be deadly accurate.
I was curious as to why a river would need a lock at all and it seems that large parts of the river have been “canalised” with 34 large locks to allow vessels of up to 110 metres by 11.45 metres to navigate the total length of the river.
The following day we decided to visit the city’s most famous landmark- the Würzburg Residence which was completed in 1774.
Apparently the palace was inspired by Versailles and is now considered to be “the most homogeneous and the most extraordinary of the Baroque palaces”. Some of the highlights include some marvellous frescoes, a grand staircase, a chapel, and the Imperial Hall.
Unfortunately we ended up not being able to see these treasures for ourselves as we discovered campervans were not allowed in the car park.
Somewhat disgruntled but not too disappointed, we contemplated driving up the hill on the other side of the Main river to go round the imposing Marienberg Fortress. In the end we decided to continue our meandering along the Romantic Road as there were lots of other interesting sights to see.
We followed the signs to the Romantic Road and before long we were driving through a very snowy landscape.
Our “domestic” heater had been playing up ever since we left the Netherlands and we realised that although we had been able to nurse it along and were able to keep reasonably warm thus far, it was going to be much harder to do so once we hit the mountains with deep snow and freezing temperatures.
Suddenly the Romantic Road lost its romance and we agreed that we should do our best to get the heater looked at. Sadly the romance was over almost before it had begun.
We diverted to a small town called Ansbach where there was a large camper van repair workshop. The engineer there had a look and told us that the boiler had been installed incorrectly from day one. The net result was that the emergency drain that should pop open when the water in it begins to freeze just didn’t work. This could mean that the boiler had been damaged.
He directed us to another camper van workshop very close by that was a dealer for Truma (the manufacturer of the heater). Another engineer looked at it and confirmed what the first chap had said and suggested the quickest solution would be to go to the Truma factory which fortunately was only about two hours drive away, at a village called Putzbrunn on the outskirts of Munich.
By the time we got there the Truma workshop was closed but we were able to park for the night just outside the factory.
The next morning Jonathan went to have a chat and thankfully they were able to give us a 1 pm appointment. While we were waiting I decided to get a bit of fresh air and went for a walk and found quite a cute village nearby.
The van was in the workshop by the time I returned and not long after, the engineer came back to tell us the bad news that the whole heater (including the hot water tank) would have to be replaced. The good news was that the boiler could be replaced straight away, the bad news was that it would cost the equivalent of a small second hand car to replace it.
Fortunately we have a credit card for times such as these and so by the end of the afternoon we had a brand new boiler installed.
We could have stayed the night for free at the factory but because we needed to empty the toilet cassette and there were no facilities there to do this, we headed into Munich to the Allianz Soccer Stadium where camper vans can stay overnight.
We were sorry to have missed the Romantic Road but were only a couple of hours from its end point at Füssen, very close to the Austrian border, so we decided to head there.
There was lots of snow en route and we felt that we had definitely done the right thing in getting the heater fixed!
One thought on “The Romance was over almost before it had begun!”
Sorry to hear your Romantic Road trip was curtailed, but we both believe it was definitely the right decision!!!
Hope you enjoy the cosy new heater system!
Bon Voyage, Sally&Georgexxx