I had business in Germany and Steve had some frequent flyer miles burning a hole in his account.  It seemed like a perfect fit.  I had done a little research on previous trips to Germany, and thought if I ever got the chance we should rent bikes and ride around the Fatherland for a long weekend.

Day One and Two

We put the plan together pretty quickly.  We would go over on a Thursday, pick up the bikes on Saturday and ride for three days.  We would have liked to begin riding on Friday, but no place would rent a bike until we had been in-country for a full day.  We chose to rent through Bosenberg Rentals.  Come to find out this tour operator just rents bikes through a local motorcycle dealership.  This meant there were limited choices of bikes to rent.  We had both wanted the same type of bike, we had decided on the R1150RT over the R1200GS.   However, if we both wanted RTs we would have to get one from a separate location, we decided to get one RT and one GS, which the dealership could accommodate.  We were told where to stay nearby, but there no rooms available, so we stayed at a Marriott Courtyard that we thought was nearby.  So, we arrived Friday morning and tried to stay awake throughout the day increasing our chances of getting a good night's sleep.  We walked around the area, found a place to eat and basically bummed around the entire day.  After a good night's sleep we took a taxi to the motorcycle shop, did the paperwork and took off.  As late as Saturday morning we were still debating where to go.  We had planned to go to Prague but the weather did not look good for the entire weekend.  We thought about up north toward Berlin, but the weather wasn't all that great either.  So when we got on the bikes it looked good to the south so we headed toward Munich.  Steve decided to ride the GS first and I took the RT.  It wasn't easy finding our way out of town.  We had to do several turn-arounds but finally found our way.  We began on the autobahn.  We were cruising at between 180 and 200 kmh (112 - 124 mph).  We stopped first at Würzburg.  Among the architectural landmarks in Würzburg are a Romanesque cathedral, rebuilt after receiving severe damage in World War II, which contains works by the sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider; Neumünster Church, a chiefly Romanesque structure with an 18th-century baroque facade; a 15th-century stone bridge spanning the Main River; the Marienberg fortress atop the Leistenberg, which was the episcopal residence from 1261 to 1720, and which now houses a museum with an extensive collection of Riemenschneider's works; the Julius hospital (founded 1576); and the large rococo episcopal and ducal palace.  We stopped in the center square (Marktplatz) to get the flavor of the place before stopping at a cafe.  We toured around and saw some of the sights like the Residenz.  We continued south on the Autobahn and exited to take some side roads.  We went through the town of Ingolstadt and stopped for some pictures and at a café for some refreshment.  The weather was sunny but rather cold, by the time we reached Ingolstadt it was getting cloudy and colder.  Darkness was upon us as we approached Munich making it very difficult to navigate.  I had been here once before so I had a basic idea where we wanted to go, but we had to stop for directions.  This was no easy task, but fortunately a customer at a gas station knew some English.  We found the hotel I was looking for that sat in the old part of the city around the corner from the Hofbräuhaus.  This was not a coincidence.  Fortunately they had a room despite our lack of a reservation.  The Platzl Hotel was our original destination for Saturday night but the weather had forced us to change our plans.  We checked in, and headed out for dinner and drinks at the Hofbräuhaus.  It did not disappoint.  We stayed there all night and sloshed back to the hotel in the wee hours of Sunday.  We had met many people while there, but the most interesting were a group of West Pointers stationed nearby and just back from Iraq.  We bought them a round thanking them for their service to our country and basically swapped stories all night.

Würzburg Church Steve at Marktplatz Steve in Ingolstadt
Platzl Hotel view Ken in Würzburg Service with a smile
Ken in Ingolstadt Hofbräuhaus Hofbräuhaus


Day Three

After our late night at Hofbräuhaus we didn't get up very early, I don't know why.  But after we shook off the cob webs we decided to take a ride.  We decided to head down into Austria.  The weather had turned very cold and the fog decreased visibility dramatically.  We rode through Munich and jumped on the autobahn.  It was freezing!  I was riding the RT again and the extra wind protection was greatly appreciated.  We got about 15 miles from the border and exited to try some local roads.  It was so cold and rainy we stopped to contemplate our next move.  It really wasn't very enjoyable riding.  We stopped at a little cross road to turn around and actually noticed snow flakes.  We headed back to Munich and walk around town.  We ended up back at the Hofbräuhaus.  We tried some local sushi but it was hardly worth mentioning.

Steve on the autobahn Steve at our stop Steve near Austria
Ken on the autobahn Ken near Austria Ken near Austria 2
Ken near Austria 3 Munich Sushi  

Day Four

We started day four with more our faculties intact.  The weather had improved, and while it was still cold it was sunny.  We started by heading back towards Frankfurt.  We deicded to stop at Heidelberg.  Heidelberg isn't a large place. Visitors generally spend most of their time in the old town. The old town starts at Bismarckplatz, which is the main hub for trams and buses, at one end of the Hauptstrasse. The old town then runs along the Haupstrasse all the way down to the the Karlstor, past the castle.  The castle is the primary tourist destination.  It was Prince Elector Ruprecht III (1398 - 1410) who had erect the first representative building as a regal residence in the inner courtyard. The exterior of the building, divided into a ground floor made of stone and framework upper levels, seems quite unpretentious today. Another regal building is located opposite to the Ruprecht Building: the Fountain Hall. Prince Elector Philipp (1476 - 1508) is said to have arranged the transfer of the hall´s columns from a decayed palace of Charlemagne to Heidelberg.  The Castle and its garden were destroyed, however, during the 30 Years' War. Later, it was rebuilt by Prince Elector Karl Ludwig (1649 - 1680), only to be destroyed once again by French troops. Prince Elector Karl Theodor who resided in Schwetzingen tried to restore the castle to make it inhabitable once again, but in vain: Lightning struck the Castle in 1764. In the centuries that followed, the Castle was misused as a quarry - castle stones helped to build new houses in Heidelberg. This was stopped in 1800 by Count Charles de Graimberg who made any effort he could to preserve the Heidelberg Castle. Inspite of its Gothic interior, it was not before 1934, that the King's Hall was added.  We biked around the castle and took lots of photos.  We walked around the Hauptstraße which is an area for pedestrians with many shops.   We jumped back on the bikes and tried to find the motorcycle shop.  We again had to stop for directions because we had no idea how to find the place again.

Steve by Nekkar River Steve by the Heidelberg Bridge Steve above the castle
Steve overlooking the castle The path up to the castle Ken on the Hauptstraße
Ken on the bridge Ken by the bridge Ken on the autobahn
Ken above the castle Ken by the castle Inside the castle
Street scene Overlooking the river From the bridge
Church on the square The entrance to the bridge The castle
Dropping the bikes off Above the castle Above the castle
Above the castle Above the castle  

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