Today we rode through the charming Bavarian countryside. Once we left Munich we quickly got on to smaller roads and a host of small towns, all of which are from the medieval times. These towns are all so clean and neat and beautiful; really quite picturesque. We rode through Eichstatt which is the gateway to the beautiful Altmuhltal Valley, and the former seat of the archbishop. The city is spectacular even though much of the town was burned down in 1634 by those darn Swedish rough necks during the religious war (I think it was called the 30 year war). Most parts of the Dom were built in the 14th century, but you can clearly recognize the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque building styles. The riding on the smooth winding roads through this valley was superb. In the afternoon we rode the "Romantic Road" through beautiful forests
. The road links a number of towns which are remnants of the middle ages. We ended the day at Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the most famous and most enchanting of the towns today. Rothenburg is perhaps the most famous medieval town in Germany. The fortified city walls, the castle, pubs and restaurants have been in existence for the past 500 years. There is only one way in and out of the city. For those of you that do not like to read lengthy rambling, this gives you a snapshot of our day. If you chose to read on, we will go into more detail of the day. I think I will attempt to use this approach for the next two weeks during our bike ride.
5:30 sure seemed to come early, but we dragged our tired bodies out of bed and into the shower. That woke us up and got us fresh and excited to take off on the first day of the bike ride. We took our gear down to the lobby, had a light breakfast, went to the morning briefing and finally went down to the bikes to get ready to depart. Everyone warmed their bikes (all 16 of them) and started out of the underground garage and into our first issue of the day. When the first 10 bikes go up the ramp and immediately stop at the top to pick their nose and wallow in their utter lack of consideration and total self-centeredness, the last 6 bikes are stuck on a steep ramp trying to keep the automatic door from closing on them. My Harley had a loud horn, and my mouth had an abundance of loud graphic words which seemed effective in bringing consciousness back to the self-righteous
. Our guide was having trouble with her bike which delayed us for a few minutes, but finally we were off and on the road. The morning was quite cool but sunny; actually a very pleasant day for riding. Roughly 10 miles down the road the guides bike broke down. The clutch on her bike went out (thats what you get for riding a BMW). She had to wait to get another bike delivered, so the rest of us struck out on our own (the blind leading the blind) with our maps strapped to our gas tanks. Heck how hard can it be to follow a map? Well after about ten minutes you conclude that it is pretty damn hard; no actually it's almost impossible. We would get to an intersection and part of the group thought we needed to turn right, others thought we needed to turn left, and others thought we needed to go straight. We still are not out of Munich and we have lost our guide and the group is now headed in three different directions. A few miles down the road our group was stopped at an intersection and one of the guys that was riding a BMW 1200 RT with hard bags decided to go around a car (a new Mercedes Benz) and he hit the tail light on the car and broke it (at least BMW wins again). OK, so here we are again with another delay. I really felt bad for the guy, but a few bikes decided to stay with him and the rest of us rode on. Finally we left Munich and rode into the countryside which actually started out looking much like northern Minnesota.
Mid day we rode into Dinkelsbuhl which was a fascinating town that dates back to the 7th century. This town also had a wall around it, cobblestone streets and beautiful timber frame houses from the 15th century. You can only enter or leave this town through one of its four narrow gates. It was truly incredible to ride through the narrow gate and see the spectacular architectural styling of this old village.
From here we rode into the mountains and through lots of tiny quaint villages. All of our morning delays had slowed us up a bit so we arrived in Rothenburg a bit late. Riding into this city really is a magnificent sight as you pass through the one and only gate to get into the city. Caution was in order here since the cobblestone streets were damp and very slippery. We got our bikes parked in the hotel garage and checked into Hotel Tilman Riemenschneider. What an elegant old hotel; well above my usual class of lodging. Our room was really nice and the food (Trout dinner and Apple Strudle Dessert) was simply superb. We went to the night watchman's tour and walked around the city for a while afterward. We would really like to spend a couple of days here, but tomorrow morning we are off to Heidelberg.
Tuesday Oct 2, 2007 - Our first day of riding - Erding to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.