Sunday, October 30, 2016

Alpenstrasse: Part 1

When we left Gengenbach, we headed east to start our trip along the Alpenstrasse - or the German Alpine Road. The Alpenstrasse covers a stretch in southern Germany that is a road tripper's dream. From the start of rolling green hills, you get deeper and deeper into the Alps with every mountain pass. We stopped at a few towns leaving the Black Forest region to stretch our legs and ended up on a town walking/biking path for a short ways that had 360 degree views of green and the surrounding farms lands.

It was beautiful, but we jumped back in the car after a short walk (and away from the horse flies!), heading closer to the start of the Alpenstrasse. We had about another hour in the car venturing towards our first day stop, Meersburg. We took in brief glances of Lake Constance from the car window along the way, getting anxious about exploring. We couldn't park the car fast enough to get out and walk around.

We followed the crowds down to the waterfront to a large garden area in front of the "new palace". There was a lot for tourists to do (and pay for) in Meersburg, so it's definitely worth a stop. Like many of the towns on Lake Constance, there was a tour boat company offering rides out and around the lake. We passed on that and strolled along the docks in the marina eating gelato instead.

Our next stop for the day was Lindau, a town located on an island on Lake Constance and what many consider to be the start of the alpine road. I found out that Lindau was hosting the 66th annual Nobel Laureate Meetings! Try to contain your excitement. I had to.

There were a lot of little shops to walk around and explore, but we had reached our capacity on window shopping. Once we got there, we grabbed a coffee and a beer and sat down to take in the view of the lake and do some people (and swan) watching.

Lindau was beautiful and surprisingly quiet considering the event. There were a lot of cars and driving, but once you cross the bridge onto the island though, walking seemed to be the easier way to get around. Lindau was our last stop before Tettnang, where we would be staying for the night. We passed sooo many fields of fruits, wine grapes, and hops along the way, which got us pretty excited for where we would be staying that night.

Tettnang was high one our list of places to visit on the route and getting to stay at Tettnanger Krone Brewery was very cool. For any homebrewers out there, you have probably used or at least heard of German Tettnang hops. The brewery itself held a lot of history for Tettnang and for the family that owns and runs it. If you pay attention to what is going on around you, you will watch a father and son team (and wives!), creating amazing beer and a special experience for visitors.

I drank the best Pilsner of my 27 years of life at Tettnanger (above). All of the beers were good and the food was some of the best Swabian cuisine we had the whole trip.

Most places we stayed (all around $120/night) included breakfast in the price of the room. At a few, it was just a small charge to add it on (less than it would have cost for us to go out and get breakfast somewhere else). If they offered breakfast, we opted to eat there to save money and really weren't ever disappointed. I mentioned in my last post about Germany how much I loved the breakfast, so allow me to go on a little rant: A continental breakfast in Germany is apparently very different than the US. In the states, at $120/night, if breakfast is even offered, you will be lucky if there is a microwave to warm up the grocery store bought pastry. The continental breakfasts in the states are so full of carbs and sugar, that most of the time you want to skip it anyway and pay even more money to get breakfast somewhere else. Every place we stayed in southern Germany offered a hearty breakfast of eggs, cold meats, cheeses, muesli, yogurt, fruit, cucumbers and tomatoes. They were all high quality ingredients too. The only place on our stay that didn't offer breakfast was the Marriott that we stayed at in Munich with our hotel points. Funny that it was probably the most expensive place to stay on the whole trip (which is why we used reward points!). That's also a long way of saying that the breakfast at Tettnanger Krone was fantastic, like many, many others on the trip (except for the Marriott ;) ) 

With some real fuel in our bellies, we said "auf wiedersehen" to the folks at the brewery and headed east!

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