DD and BB... by Ben

This year's jaunt to Germany was pretty laid back compared to many of our previous adventures. The major difference was that I was traveling with just my Frau Dee Dee. This was a first in that I have always traveled by myself or with Dee Dee and others (other friends, other relatives or myself and Larry). This was Dee Dee's fifth trip to Europe but the first with her own personal tour guide. And I don't think she realized how privileged she was... :)

First order of business was finding reasonable airfare - something that is increasingly hard to do. I ended up finding a fare with Air Berlin that was a hundred dollars cheaper than anything else out there. The consolidators (bucket shops) just don't seem to have much to offer anymore (especially since American Airlines curtailed their operations). The Air Berlin flight was via the regular American Airlines non-stop flights from DFW to FRA. Everything was exactly the same except that I couldn't order a special meal for my wife because the ticket was in Air Berlin's name (go figure). Airfare and trip insurance locked in...

Second order of business - car rental. I will always use Gemütlichkeit (Bestor family) until they prove unreliable. And I don't expect that to ever happen as long as the Bestor's are personally involved. Top notch organization. That doesn't stop me from checking around for a better deal but as usual there was nothing better in the offing. Andy found me a deal via AVIS that was a hundred dollars better than anything else out there. Car rental locked in...

Since this trip was all about rest and relaxation - I decided to look for four locations that would provide max down time. My favorite accommodations are of course farms with my favorite room being one with a balcony (hopefully overlooking green pastureland with animals grazing below). This year I found three farms and a nice Pension - all with balconies. Three nights in the Odenwald - four nights in the Simonswald valley (Schwarzwald) - three nights in the Gengenbach area (Schwarzwald) - three nights along the Rhine. Accommodations locked in...

Double check packing list - essential documents (passports - two ATM cards from two different banks - a credit card for petrol) - a few hundred dollars and a few hundred Euro from previous trip - six novels and an iPad for entertainment - ready to roll. Daughter drops us off at DFW - flight delayed 1.5 hrs - poor in-flight entertainment - food just tolerable - flight crew polite and friendly - pretty much the norm for AA nowadays. Arrived FRA an hour late but no problems otherwise. And believe it or not Dee Dee endured the flight with minimal stress. The landing was a little hard for her to handle but she didn't need a puke bag and that is always a good sign. Easy baggage and customs process - picked up AVIS rental (small Toyota Yaris - manual trans) which was all we needed - plugged in my handy-dandy Magellan GPS (which I had pre-programmed with accommodation addresses) - and we were quickly out of the airport and on the
A5 heading south for the Odenwald. Dee Dee was the primary (and only) driver for this trip. She did great the entire trip but she did need a little jet lag nap before we made it to our first destination. She could have made it if not for the number of Umleitungen we had to negotiate that morning.

Toyota Yaris...

We began our trip with a three day stop at this very nice farm. The Odenwald is one of my favorite areas of Germany and just about an hour from the Frankfurt airport - making it a good location for the first overnight after arriving at Frankfurt. This Ferienbauernhof is located just off the
B47/B38 between the small villages of Gross-Gumpen and Klein-Gumpen which are suburbs of the village Reichelsheim.

Ferienbauernhof Kaesrah - Reichelsheim

View from balcony...

Ferienbauernhof Käsrah
Familie Schwöbel
Kriemhildstr. 8
Tel - 6164/1541
Email -

View from balcony...

The owners were on vacation in Italy and had left the operation of the farm with their very nice son, Chris. This vacation farm has 50 beds available for guests and since his parents had not planned for any other guests this week - there was no lack of accommodations. We chose a large bedroom with ensuite bath and a large balcony overlooking a beautiful valley. Chris (recent college grad working on his PhD) was very friendly and spoke several languages, including English. He was not used to running the B&B side of the family business so I made it easy on him and suggested that we forego the normal breakfast service. He agreed to adjust the price of the room accordingly and told us of bakeries and restaurants in the vicinity where we could have our morning coffee and pastries.


This ten generation farm has it's share of cows (up to a hundred - depending on the season), calves, pigs and horses. This is more of a cattle farm instead of your typical dairy farm. Several cats and a beautiful, sweet natured Sennenhund (Swiss Mountain dog) named Bella.

Dee Dee found a buddy...

Visable from our balcony was a Gasthaus with a limited menu but good food and large portions considering the very reasonable prices. The 8 Euro Jägerschnitzel with Kartoffeln, Gemüse, and Salat is a bargain.

Gasthaus Zum Deutschen Kaiser
Kriemhildstr. 12
Tel. 6164/1233

Gasthaus Zum Deutschen Kaiser (short walk from farm)

Michelstadt Rathaus

During our three days at the Käsrahhof we enjoyed day trips to Michelstadt (with it's unique Rathaus) several times.

We also drove down through the Odenwald to the Neckar river, followed it East as far as the Burg Guttenberg and made it just in time for the 11am Birds of Prey showing. Having seen the show several times in the past we knew what to expect (lots of eagles, falcons, buzzards, vultures, etc) and even though the show is entirely in German we always enjoy it.

Not many in attendance on this cool, misty morning but that just makes it all the more personal with the birds zooming close over your head and lurching around at your feet.

Driving back along the Neckar takes you by this impressive looking castle

Schloss Zwingenberg (Neckar)

- Schloss Zwingenberg -

and a chance for a late lunch at the nice little Landgasthof just below it.

Zur Wolfsschlucht
Alte Dorfstr. 1
69439 Zwingenberg

Excellent Gulaschsuppe...

And of course a trip to the Odenwald would not be complete without some time in Heidelberg. We had planned our trip to Heidelberg to include a Segway tour (the two wheeler, stand-up transporters) however it was rained out and we had to settle for a shopping trip. We enjoy the long Fußgängerzone shopping area from near the castle ruins to the Bahnhof area. Stores galore and plenty of outdoor cafes for coffee, Eisbecher and people watching.

From the Odenwald to the Central Schwarzwald area is a drive that would normally take about three hours. That's assuming that the Autobahn is free of Stau and construction projects - which is seldom the situation. But with several reststops along the way it becomes an easy trip and we arrived in the Simonswald valley shortly after noon. Off the Simonswaldtal main road (L173) turn towards Griesbach. From the valley floor the road slowly becomes a winding one-lane mountain path that had my Frau praying a lot. She ended up playing chicken with several local residents - knowing they were more familiar with the road so relied on them to do any backing up required. Dee Dee loves driving those types of roads - she just hates meeting anyone on them... :)

Hansmichelhof - Simonswald - Griesbach - Schwarzwald

Hubert Ruth
Griesbach 14
Tel - 7683/219



Our accommodations for the next four days were absolutely perfect. A large bedroom with a couch, flat screen satellite TV, private balcony, nice size kitchen, bathtub, shower, separate toilet, all inclusive. Also included was an excellent breakfast buffet with eggs, Brotchen, homemade jams and jellies, and a nice assortment of meats and cheeses.

View from balcony...

Aqua-Walking am Kneippbecken

Early morning view from balcony...

Views from our balcony...

Dee Dee has never met a horse or cow she didn't like...

Frau Ruth was an awesome hostess.

From Simonswald we made several daytrips to Titisee, Triberg, Furtwangen, Hexenloch, Emmendingen, Waldkirch...



Waldkirch Burgruine Kastelburg...

Black Forest valley...

and a meal in Urach at the Gasthaus zum Sternen with Len and Shari (members of our Stammtisch group).

Gasthaus zum Sternen - Urach

Dee Dee waiting on Stammtisch bench...

Len at Sternen...

Rudi - Marina - Tina - Shari - Dee Dee

An excellent restaurant in Simonswald...

Hotel-Restaurant Krone Post - Simonswald

Talstraße 8
Tel - 7683/265

Len and Shari - Krone-Post

Simonswald Park - parking area for Krone-Post and zum Hirschen

Another great restaurant is the Gasthaus zum Hirschen - located very near the Krone-Post at Talstraße 11

Gasthaus zum Hirschen - Simonswald...

From Simonswald it was an easy drive to the Gengenbach area where we would spend our last three nights in the Black Forest. We decided to take a scenic route via the Schutter valley where Dee Dee, Amy and I had spent a few days back in 02. There is one particular valley off the main road (L102 - Talstrasse) - called the Laulisgraben. Several nice farms in that valley where Larry (PStuyvsant) and I stayed previously (the Grundbauernhof) and one where the family and I hid out for a few days (the Schwörerhof).

Our objective for the day was a farm near Gengenbach that I have had my eyes on for many years but for one reason or another I had never worked it out to be able to stay there. The Kälblehof is a good sized farmhouse and Ferienbauernhof in the village of Fussbach and turned out to be the best place of this trip (as far as accommodations go).

Ferienhof Kaelble - Fussbach - Gengenbach

Petra und Anton Kälble
Fußbach 100
Tel - 7803/2353

A large bedroom, separate lounge with couch, two recliners, Sat TV, separate large kitchen,

very large two sink, bathtub, separate shower bathroom, essentially the entire floor of the house. No breakfast but that was agreed to before booking - Gasthaus 800 mtrs away for breakfast but we never used it - too many bakeries around.

Our last night at the Kaelblehof saw the sky open up with a thunder and light show and buckets of rain. The only thing better than cows in a meadow below your balcony is a cool, refreshing rain storm.

Views from our balcony...





Gengenbach, as always, was great (ate with Stammtisch friends Len and Shari again). Spent a few days running up and down B33 - Schiltach, Wolfach, Haslach. Stopped by the Rotbauernhof in Gutach to book rooms for next year. This is an excellent farm that my travel group of mail carriers will enjoy next June. With the Vogtsbauernhof within walking distance and a Sommerrodelbahn just across the way (with a Biergarten) - we couldn't ask for a better location for a few days.

Gasthof Rebstock - Fussbach

Gasthof Rebstock
Fußbach 2
Tel. 7803/964880

An excellent restaurant in Fussbach...within a kilometer of the farm. The Sauerbraten was excellent.

Gaststaette Schatull - Gengenbach

Gaststätte Schatull

Located just behind the Volksbank on Victor Kretz Str.

Maultaschen Schwarzwälder Art mit gegrillten Speck...

The food and atmosphere at the Schatull was so nice we had to eat there twice...

Took about three and a half hours to make it to the Rhine (several stops along the way and a Stau). There always seems to be a Stau just south of Heidelberg on A5 (just before you switch over to A6). Final destination (as it usually is) - Bacharach am Rhein. This year I wanted to introduce Dee Dee to the Petrescu family so I decided that we would stay there for our final three nights.

Pension Winzerhaus - Bacharach (Rhine)

View towards downtown Bacharach from Winzerhaus balcony

Pension Winzerhaus
Petrescu Family
Blücherstraße 60
Bacharach (Rhine)
Tel - 6743/1294
Email -

View towards Steeg from Winzerhaus balcony

The Winzerhaus is a great place but I should have asked for a larger room. We were spoiled this trip with all the oversized rooms we had in the Odenwald and Schwarzwald. We did however have a nice balcony overlooking Blücherstraße which is the road that runs from Bacharach up to the village of Steeg and past it to the A61. We had a private bathroom with the shower just outside our door in the hallway. Also if you have a laptop or iPad - there is a free WiFi hotspot just outside the front entrance to the Pension. Just ask Sybille for the password.

Car Ferry - Boppard

Ruedesheim - Drosselgasse

The Marksburg above Braubach

This year we spent time in Oberwesel, St. Goar, Boppard, Braubach and Rüdesheim...

Burg Stahleck above Bacharach

Burg Rheinfels above St. Goar

Braubach below The Marksburg

Burg Katz - viewed from St. Goar

We prefer Bacharach to most other villages along the Rhine Gorge for many reasons - it's quaint, quiet and we love the atmosphere - it's on the train line and several cruise boat lines have docks here - it's only an hour from the Frankfurt Airport - we are familiar with most of the shops in town and have eaten at many of the restaurants...

We skipped the last breakfast at the Winzerhaus and left for the airport at 0530. Hated to skip that breakfast because Sybille's Frühstück are awesome. Gassed up at the Shell station near Bingen and topped it off at the Esso station at the airport. No problem with the car rental turn-in at Avis. We grabbed a bite and some coffee before the 0730 check-in with AA - just to be told that we had a four hour delay because the plane from DFW didn't make it the day before (due to so-called mechanical problems - which we found out when we got home was probably a flight cancelled due to AA flight crews calling in sick). 58% of AA delays that week were due to sick calls by staff. So we found the recliner-like seats near AA check-in area and cooled it for several hours. AA issued us a 36 Euro food voucher but most restaurants at the airport won't take them due to AA's bankruptcy problems. We found the only restaurant that would. Finally got out at 1430 (instead of 1030). Flight was smooth and crew nice (gave free booze to anyone wanting it. In-flight entertainment was the worst I've ever seen it. Overhead monitors were screwed up and the audio wouldn't work on most seats. That's why they make laptops and iPads. Dee Dee did really well with her air-sickness problem (actually it's motion sickness - but if she is in control of the vehicle she is OK - so driving was no problem). At least it wasn't until that first camera caught her speeding through one of those small villages. If it reads 30 kmph - they mean 30 kmph (remember folks that's only 18 miles per hour - slower than a school zone).

Auf Wiedersehen! Bis zum nächsten Jahr...

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