September 2021 Jean and I are exploring White Wine and Black Forest! We explored Rhine and Mosel River wine regions and their castles, and are now in Alsace in north-east France. Next… epic “driver’s road” through the Black Forest on our way to Baden Baden
Break from Travel
When I initially published this post, we were in Omis, Croatia, wrapping up a “break from travel.” We have enjoyed the downtime to swim, run and explore a bit in the warm September climate of the Mediterranean. The downtime let me make final plans for this trip back to Germany!
Wine on the Rhine
The Rhine River and its tributary, the Mosel, produce a bounty of white wines in Western Germany and Northern France. We started our visit on the Rhine at Bacharach and explored the region by car. We walked the towns, tried the wines, and I got in some great runs along the Rhine.
The Rhine and Mosel River valleys are also known for their many medieval castles. Before Germany was united, local barons would hang a chain across the river and levy “taxes” on this major trade route. Most of these are now haunting ruins. Hotels and restaurants have occupied and restored several, each with great views over the vinyards. Burg Eltz is a marvelous exception; it has been owned by the same family for over 800 years, with castle furnishings from 500 years ago. Amazing!
Alsace – French or German?
The French and the Germans fought over the Alsace region for centuries. Now a part of France, German is a common language, and beer and sausage are as typical as wine and escargot. Some of Jean’s family hails from Strasbourg in the north. We will visit there before exploring the wine road down the valley.
Getting my Driving Fix
It is no secret that I love sports cars. We’ve two auto activities planned while in the land of Porsche, BMW, Audi and Mercedes. First, the Nürburgring Nordschleife, and then the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse.
Nicknamed “The Green Hell,” the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife racetrack (literally “Ring at Nürburg, North Loop”) swoops, climbs, and drops for 1000ft in altitude change over ~13 miles. Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and other supercars are put the ultimate drivability test here. So of “course” I had to drive it! Bucket list item checked.
Later we will tackle the B500 Schwarzwaldhochstrasse (Black Forest High Road), one of the best driver’s roads in Europe. It throws sweeping curves and hairpins at drivers as they climb through forest vistas. Finally, we will stop in Baden Baden, a traditional German Spa town. After the drive, I will probably need it. I’m sure Jean will (gracious as she is to do this ride with me)! My brother Doug tells me that some of our family comes from nearby Achern, so we will look into that after we recover from the drive.
Here is our approximate route, which you can view and add as a layer in your own Google Maps. The map outlines cities where we stayed, our route, some historical sites, and hikes along the way. Each pin has a short description and often a link to our planned hike or other adventure. I plan to update the map as we go and tag any “Travel Bytes” we post on the map.
If you are interested in a similar trip, the attached PDF itinerary is a good place to start!
For more about this journey, check out our related Travel Bytes below!