Faithful readers may remember the first two installments of my yarn about trying to explore the Romantischestrasse on two wheels – here and here. I’m quite sure you have all been on the edges of your seats since May, wondering how the story turned out. When we left off I had spent the night in Wurzburg, drying out and thawing out after a very cold and eventually wet day on the bike.
The next day the weather was vastly better. Energized by the promise of the sun just above the eastern horizon overhead, I got back on the road, determined to see some of the Romantischestrasse if it killed me (well, not really – I shouldn’t joke about dying on a motorcycle).
Determined to protect my hands, which had been the first thing to freeze the prior day (despite the very thick gloves I was wearing), I wrapped them up thusly in laundry bags from the hotel.
Alas this wasn’t as effective as I hoped it might be and I eventually abandoned the bags.
I did manage to get to the beginning of the Romantischstrasse, and rode what was probably the least romantische part of the strasse, until I finally crested a hill and saw this charming view.
But, by this time I was well and frozen again and didn’t see any coffee shops nearby, so I decided to abandon the original plan and just find a scenic route back to Frankfurt. After looking at the map I decided to go back through Wurzburg, then pick up the Main and follow it back to Frankfurt.
But first, another warmup. Having had a good experience at McDonald’s the day before, I decided to stop at the next one I saw, which was in Tauberbischofsheim. It was different from the Micky D’s of the U.S. and different from the one I had visited the day before. As a non-German speaking introvert, I especially liked the touch screen ordering system.
And, the hot chocolate was very, very good.
Thus fortified, I set out again, this time making it as far as Wertheim, another city I visited on my cruise the year before. It was a bit more lively than Wurzburg had been the night before, but not unpleasantly crowded. I stopped and explored a bit, then found a local coffee shop for another warm up. And got this shot.
The ride along the Main was lovely. I didn’t get a lot of pictures because I was focused on riding, but imagine gentle, green, rolling slopes, fields and fields of canola plant (aka rapeseed), which is very pretty, despite its name, all dotted here and there with thatched-roofed villages and dazzling views of sun on water.
Yes, I said sun. Once the sun was truly overhead, the trip became much more enjoyable. I was still chilly, but not miserable. I made one more stop – in this village. It wasn’t a tourist stop – it was truly a small village that didn’t look especially prosperous, but which was very pleasant. I can’t for the life of me remember the name.
Please excuse my obsession with toilets of the world. Look at the adorable toilet paper.
Things were looking up until I hit a huge traffic jam on the way back into Frankfurt. I had gotten off the local roads and back on the autobahn, figuring that would be the quickest way to get back to the motorcycle shop, but I hadn’t counted on a giant traffic jam (which, as I eventually discovered, was caused by the sight of a swell dude and his crumpled Porsche 911 by the side of the road.
I was worried about returning the scooter late and wanted to split lanes, but didn’t know the rules for the autobahn. So, I decided to sit tight and wait to see if another motorcycle came by – one did, splitting away, so I took that as permission. And, I have to say, lane splitting in Germany is a joy. People actually make an effort to move over a bit to let you through.
At some point I pulled out of traffic and called the motorcycle shop who were very gracious in assuring me it was OK to be late turning the bike in. I did eventually make it back there and then on the train back into central Frankfurt. I was scheduled to take a night train to Prague so the rest of my time in Germany was spent shivering at the train station (a theme of this portion of the trip, apparently). Fortunately the cold front had passed by the time I got to Prague and the rest of the trip was much warmer.