My husband and I spent two glorious weeks visiting Berlin and then bicycling in Germany on two different bike and barge tours this past year. We have been to Germany on bicycling trips the past two years and loved it so much that we had to do a repeat. This time we spent a week riding in East Germany and stayed aboard the Merlijn. We took a train to beautiful Bavaria for the second week and stayed on La Belle Fleur. Although the East Germany ride was great, the biking in Bavaria was definitely my favorite.
First off, let me give you a brief explanation of these bike and barge trips. We book our trips based on the area where we will be riding rather than which boat we will be on. We stay on boats that were once working barges but have been converted to passenger boats that sleep around 20 people in small rooms with private baths. Our trip started in picturesque Regensburg, and we ended up in charming Bamberg.
We eat breakfast on the boat and then leave with a bike tour guide at 9 a.m. for a day of cycling. Then around 4 p.m. we meet up with the boat which is docked in a new town where we will spend the night. We shower, have happy hour, eat a delicious dinner on the boat, take a walking tour of the town, and then head to bed. The next day we do it all again. We ride a while, stop for tea, visit museums, castles, shops, etc. and ride some more. We see the locals and how they live in small villages and on farms. It’s just the best way to see a country for real and not a touristy version of a country.
La Belle Fleur is a small boat that is owned by a young Dutch couple. They work so hard, and just the two of them take care of the sailing, the cooking, the laundry, the rooms, and our well-being. Mr. Right and I were the only Americans, and we enjoyed being with Germans, Austrians, and Swiss who were also taking a bike and barge trip that week.
Bavaria just blew me away. It is located in the southeastern portion of Germany. Although it is mountainous, we were on bike trails beside rivers and canals, and they tended to be flat. I found out on the last day that we were just 60 miles from the Neuschanstein castle, which is the castle that Walt Disney patterned his big Disneyland and Disney World castles after. If I had known that little detail earlier, I would have planned a side trip to visit it.
Some of the things that we noticed and loved is that the towns have “real down-towns” where people stroll, shop, eat, lounge, and visit.
On a typical weekday, the streets are full of people doing their errands. You just don’t see that here in the USA. I took the above photo on a Thursday afternoon, and the small town was packed with people. I loved that.
And the towns were normal towns to them, but to me they looked as if they belonged in a movie or a storybook. They were just too perfect to be real.
Many of the houses and businesses were perfect with pastel colors, window boxes, gardens, intricate details, and wholesomeness. I expected to see the likes of Hansel and Gretel more than once.
Most of the towns had clock towers, and in most cases in Europe, the clocks are always keeping the exact right time.
How’s this for a mural?
This was in a park where we had our lunch picnic one day.
This pharmacy has been in business since 1699. Isn’t that crazy!!!
One morning we visited this monastery. They had an organic grocery store, a brewery…..,
…..a wine cellar…..
…..a garden shop…..
,,,,,and a pub. That’s how they supported themselves.
The campus was just beautiful, and their church was outstanding, too.
If you are still with me at this point, thanks so much for reading this blog post. We really appreciate that you have taken time from your day to spend it with us.