As we had a busy week last week (Dachau, Munich, Salzburg, Berchtesgaden) we’ve decided to slow down again, and take between ten days or so to get to Nuremberg via the Bayerische Wald.
Bad Reichenhall (continued)
Our last day in Bad Reichenhall was another grey day, so with umbrellas up we set off to explore the town. Walking through the park, with its really bright and colourful flower beds, we could hear live music in the distance. Sneaking in through an open door of the hall at the end of the park, we were able to watch the Bad Reichenhall Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsing for a concert that evening. They were really good!
The town’s main industry until recent times was salt, which was derived from the brine springs. The old salt works are still standing and have been converted to other uses. The rest of the town was destroyed by allied bombing in April 1945 and rebuilt. We spent a couple of hours wandering around, before heading back to the van and chilling out.
Bernau am Chiemsee
The stellplatz at Bernau is rather popular, and we were lucky to arrive at just the right time to get a space. The facilities were good, and very reasonable for €13 per night. They even had a washing machine, so as it was a hot and sunny day we (ie Carol) did all of our laundry.
The stellplatz at Altötting doubles up as a coach park, and when we arrived there were a couple of tourist coaches so we thought there must be something interesting in town.
It turns out that once upon a time (1489 to be precise), a three-year-old local boy who had drowned in the river was as if by magic revived when his grieving mother placed him in front of a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary at the high altar. News of this supposed miracle quickly spread, and the chapel was immediately extended with the addition of a nave and a covered walkway (now known as the Chapel of Grace). It subsequently became a Bavarian tradition that the heart of the deceased king was to be placed in an urn and kept at the chapel at Altötting. The heart of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the builder of Neuschwanstein castle, lies in this chapel, along with those of his grandfathers and father. Two popes have even popped along for a visit. All bonkers if you ask me!
The chapel is now one of the most visited shrines in Germany, and there are loads of pictures, paintings, messages and other paraphernalia on the walls and ceiling of the covered walkway, requesting assistance from Mary. The town is clearly a very religious place, going by the number of churches and God shops.
We had originally planned to stay at a rural stellplatz near a village called Altstadt, but when we got there the place was deserted in an eerie sort of way, and so we drove on to Passau instead.
On the way there was a massive tailback on the motorway which it turned out was caused by a police checkpoint, where they were randomly selecting cars, vans and lorries which were then parked up in polytunnels and searched. Fortunately they didn’t pick us!
We arrived at the Passau stellplatz at just the right time to nab the last of the 13 spaces (lucky for some!). As the weather was so hot we got our chairs out in the shade and read. Around ten vans must have arrived and then driven away disappointed over the course of the afternoon.
Later in the day we went into the old town. Passau is on the confluence of the rivers Inn, Ilz and Danube, and so quite a popular place with the river cruises. There was a warning on the noticeboard saying that the stellplatz is at high risk of flooding,but I don’t think there was any danger of flooding while we were there, but if the high water marks painted on some of the buildings from previous floods were anything to go by, our van could quite easily be submerged.
We had a bit of a performance with the stellplatz for the night. Our original choice was in a town called Waldkirchen. Unfortunately for us the roads around the town centre were ether pedestrianised or had loads of roadworks going on, and so we couldn’t get to the stellplatz despite attempting two different ways.
Plan B was Kirchberg, but when we got close we were put off by the stellplatz being at the top of a really steep hill in quite an exposed position. Undaunted we went back on ourselves and drove to Grafenau where the stellplatz was great, with decent sized pitches next to a large park with a lake, and close to town.
Grafenau is right in the middle of the Bayerische Wald – or Bavarian Forest – and until recent years wild bears used to roam the area. The bears are very popular here, appearing on the town’s crest and randomly painted on walls and signs across town.
Like yesterday, we didn’t end up on our first choice stellplatz today. The photos of the one at Bogen looked promising, but when we got there it was on the edge of a large car park also used as a bus stop, backing onto a main road. There was also construction work going on, with a huge crane lifting materials off of lorries. As we’d have had no peace and quiet all afternoon and probably all night as well, we moved onto Bad Abbach. It’s a lovely, peaceful little stellplatz on the outskirts of Regensberg, and way better than the one at Bogen. There’s very little here, just a place to stop on our way to Nuremberg, so no photos.