02 Feb Romantische Strasse
After spending 3 months visiting family and friends in Neustadt, it is finally time to get back on our bikes. Our plan is to cycle down the Romantische Strasse from Rothenburg to Fussen. Then into Austria and through the Alps; eventually, making our way over the Brenner Pass and into Italy where we hope to find some nicer weather.
Being a little slow going in the cold, we realize we are not going to make it to our intended destination, so we decided to ask a farmer if we could pitch our tent at the edge of his yard. Without hesitation he said it was ok, but he did give us a look as though we were out of our minds to be camping in freezing weather. In the morning after packing up and drinking a cup of hot coffee, we are back on the trail.
Our cycling route is sometimes on nice quiet roads, cleared bike paths, snow covered bike paths, or frozen snow covered roads through the forest.
We cycle through some very pretty towns like Dinkelsbühl, where we stop and take the time to enjoy some warm food and give our cold bodies a chance to warm up before continuing.
On our second night we found ourselves pitching our tent next to a barn with 20 cows and couple pigs. During our conversation with the farmers, they offered us a room inside if we wanted it, but we kindly explained to them that we wanted to sleep in our tent. They both just smiled and said ok. Over the next hour or so, they went about their daily routine of milking the cows and we setup our camp, had dinner and then finally settling in for the night.
In the morning and to our surprise as we slipped out of our tent, there was a thermos of hot coffee and a small pitcher of fresh milk waiting for us next to our stove. Awesome and what a great way to start the day! After packing up, we had the pleasure of talking with the farmer and learning a little bit about his farm. Now in his 60s, he told us that when he was 20, he and his wife started building their farm, literally, brick by brick they built their house and barns. He also told us that he spends about 50 hours a week tending just to the animals, then there are the fields that need work too. Amazing! Truly a labor of love.
As we are cycling along we see this nice little green patch of grass next to a warehouse on the outskirts of a town. We also noticed a car with fresh tire tracks in the snow parked outside of it, so we decided to see if someone was inside and ask if they minded us camping there. We knock on the door and a young man answers, we introduce ourselves and ask if it is ok for us to pitch our tent here for the night. Again without hesitation we are told it is ok, but are given the look of, “you are nuts!” After setting up camp for the night, we ask if we can get some water. Unfortunately, they did not have any running water, but the young man says he is going home soon and can bring us some water back. We give him our MSR Dromedary to fill and off he goes, returning 10 minutes later with a full Dromedary, a bottle of beer, and a bottle of apple juice for us. We tell him thank you several times and let him know we will be gone by 09:00 and he just smiles and tells us we can stay there all day if we want. After an amazing sunset (picture above), we wake to discover our tent and bikes are covered in frost and the fog is heavy (picture below).
Our goal today is to make it to Augsburg and visit a childhood friend of Petra’s. However, the route is again sometimes on ice covered paths and the fog is heavy for our first ten miles (16 km).