Enrico Pizzorni & Franconia, Germany
It is Enrico Pizzorni here from Acqui Terme in Italy. Everything is going well here in Piedmont. I have a full-time, fulfilling job teaching physical education here in Acqui. Riccardo and Michele continue to engage in various sports activities, and the 2019 Ciclismo Classico bike tour season is very busy! We have just released the schedules of all the guides. You have probably already heard from your favorite guide. Many of our team will be busy in Switzerland, Spain, France, Belgium and (of course) Italy!
I, however, will be in Germany! My top guide tour this year will take the road less traveled in Franconia, an area renown for its wine, culture and relaxing atmosphere. What do I love about Germany? Where do I start?
How about the wine?
Grown above the slopes of the Main River, the wines from Franconia are usually more fuller-bodied than typical German wines. The summers here are warm and dry, but the winters are rainy and cold. Not a lot of Riesling grapes can survive those kinds of winter temperatures, but Müller-Thurgau and Silvanner are hearty enough to make it through the cold. Würzburg’s Stein vineyard has given rise to the name Steinwein: a generic term for all dry white wines from Franconia. Traditionally bottled in a bocksbeuteul, you can never mistake when you’re drinking a tasty Franconian white.
Did someone say Würzburg?
Indeed. We spend the night in Würzburg: a UNESCO heritage site and one of Germany’s most fascinating towns. If you can imagine Germany having its own Baroque movement, you can see it in Würzburg. The Residence Palace is one remarkable example of this unique architecture. The Imperial Chambers are of special significance and were constructed around 1740. The Marienberg Fortress is without a doubt the most imposing feature of the city. Towering over the valley, it is visible from every corner of the town. In 704, the city’s first church sat on this same plateau originally replacing the ancient Celtic palisade. The townspeople constructed the present fortress in the 13th C., to protect the village.
The Romantic Road.
The name “romantic” is a general term for the amount of beauty and culture you’ll see along this route. Small roads and pathways connect quaint German hamlets and villages weaving in vineyards, architecture, and half-timbered houses. Imagine pedaling your way amongst German walled medieval cities, Rococo churches, and ancient castles. For example, we’ll roll through the town of Rothenburg ob der Taub. This a perfectly preserved medieval and renaissance village, right down to the buildings and the town square. What most people aren’t aware of is the rich Jewish history and legacy in Rothenburg. In 1180, the town experienced a blossoming of Jewish culture thanks to the esteemed Rabbi Meir ben Baruch van Rothenburg. He taught in this city for over 40 years and founded a Yeshiva that attracted scholars from all over Europe.
When it’s “Bad,” it’s really good.
The German word for ‘bath’ is Bad. So anytime you find yourself in a ‘Bad’ town, that’s a good thing. Bad Steffelstein is one of those gems of German Bavaria which holds a special secret. Deep under the surface (about 1,600m or so) lies the salt-water source that brings Bad Steffelstein’s concentrated brine to the surface. Today the locals take advantage of this source, with 16 indoor and outdoor pools in the “ThermenMeer” of various temperatures. Bad Steffelstein is so focused on spa culture and thermal therapy they even have a Lake Stage in the middle of a thermal pond. The venue can hold up to 1000 spectators and the amazing acoustics of the water means that there is no need for speakers and wires. Which is probably the smart thing to do. There are concerts held here all season long from May until September. Local music acts, choirs, and theatre troupes hold performances here and the shows are free for all.
Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy the untracked villages and towns of Europe. Most of my role as Ciclismo Classico’s Research and Development Coordinator is to find new and exciting itineraries that will keep our guests engaged, enlightened and entertained. Our departure in Germany’s Franconia district has all of these.
Thank you for reading. I hope you and your families are doing well and that you’ve had some opportunity for an adventure together. If you haven’t, come out to Germany and I’ll show you the time of your lives.