Our first visit to Germany was on the way back from Austria in 1996. We stayed at Gutshof Camping
Badhutten near Lindau on the Bodensee and Camping Belchenblick, Staufen not far from Freiburg in the Black Forest. We returned to
the Black Forest area again in June 2000. In August 1997 we visited Werden near Essen, not such an unexciting place as you might think
and we again returned in May 1998 when we also made our first visit to Rudesheim am Rhein. In June 2004, whilst on route to
Norway, we stopped for a couple of days near Plon in northern Germany.
In May 2006, on the way to Croatia, we stopped a few days in Koblenz and also Passau.
On the way back in June/July, we stayed ten days at Wemding on the Romantische Strasse tourist route and also returned
to Rudesheim for ten days. Our last visit was at the end of May early June in 2013 when we made our way through
Germany from Austria to Luxembourg via Fussen, the Rhine Gorge and the Mosel valley. The blog of this visit can be read >here<
Bodensee (Lake Constance) - Last visited July 1996
Gutshof Camping Badhutten was an excellent site with first class disabled toilet facilities.
Here for the first time we discovered the wheelchair benefits of cycle ways and how well Germany provides
for its disabled. There is always parking for the disabled available and it is not abused by the general
public unlike in many other countries. We visited Lindau and also took the Bodensee ferry
to the beautiful island of Mainau for a day trip. Lindau is flat but has many cobbled areas.
Fortunately with an electric scooter this did not present any problems. Toilets for the disabled,
which were of a high standard, were available in the car park. On the Bodensee, not all the ferries and jetties were accessible.
Switzerland, Austria and Germany all operate ferries on the lake and the local booking office advised us of the best place to board
a ferry and which one to catch. True to their word, we had no problems getting to and from Mainau which we found mostly
flat and with paths of tarmac. There are some steep gradients but nothing a helper could not overcome.
Black Forest - Last visited June 2000.
After 5 days by the Bodensee we moved on to Camping Belchenblick, Staufen, which is not far from Freiburg.
We stayed there for a further 5 days. Again toilet facilities for the disabled were available as were they in Staufen.
It was here we learnt that Germany was introducing a National key system like the Radar system in the U.K.
and we subsequently obtained one of their keys before visiting Germany again. It's a short level walk into the small but interesting
old town of Staufen. We also visited Freiburg, driving to a park and ride and catching a tram to the city centre.
We returned to the Black Forest and Freiburg in June 2000, this time staying at Camping Kirchzarten for two weeks. This also has
facilities for the disabled and is the larger and better of the two sites. It is a 5 minute level walk into the small town from the site.
Camping Kirchzarten is co-located with the towns heated swimming pool complex
and cycle hire facilities. There were excellent changing facilities for the disabled and the cycle hire had three
different types of bikes suitable for the handicapped. A days hire cost £7. The swimming pools were free to campers.
The trams into Freiburg from the park and ride sites are wheelchair friendly and whilst we used this
method to visit Freiburg on our first trip, on our second visit we drove in and found a parking slot for the disabled
without difficulty. Freiburg is fairly wheelchair friendly but like the picturesque village of Staufen, the old
town has many cobbled streets.
In addition to visiting Freiburg, we undertook a number of excursions. A visit to the
Badischer Winzerkeller in Breisach was not totally accessible, the tour of the factory not being possible for a wheelchair user but there was no problem with access
to the wine tasting and the shop. Visits to local beauty spots, one of which was the Todtnaeuer waterfall, didn't present too much difficulty but a ride on a steam train
required manual lifting to board and alight.
Werden - Last visited May 1997.
We visited Werden near Essen in August 1997, returning again in May 1998.
We again found the cycle ways a real boon to wheelchair users, facilitating scenic walks along the banks of the Ruhr and
around the Baldeneysee. In order to complete one of our walks, we had our first ride on a local German commuter train. Boarding and alighting from the train
presented little problem. However, access to the departure platform and leaving the arrival platform were very difficult, both requiring assistance from a travel
companion to negotiate stairways.
Northern Germany - Last visited June 2004.
Whilst on route to Norway, we stopped for a couple of days at Camping an der Schwentine, Malente near Plon in
northern Germany. The journey from Arnhem in the Nertherlands to Malente was foul. It rained
most of the day and the traffic was very heavy with jams around Hamburg. However, the next couple of days dawned warm and sunny revealing
a pretty area deserving of a longer stay, but the part sloping site with grassy pitches close to a lake had no facilities for the disabled.
Getting about locally presented no problems and we did notice toilets for the disabled in
the car park by the lake. We tended to the housekeeping chores, relaxed by the lake and then headed for Denmark.
Koblenz - Last visited July 2006.
We stayed at Camping Rhine - Mosel for three nights which is located opposite Deutsches Eck, the point where the Mosel flows into the Rhine. From here you can catch
a small ferry across the Mosel to the Deutsches Eck from where you can stroll along the river banks, catch a river cruise, walk into the old town or catch the tourist "road train"
for a quick tour of the main sites of Koblenz. The "road train" is wheelchair friendly but the ferry is not but it is not too far to walk to the nearest river bridge and into town. Central
Koblenz is fairly flat but the old town area does have cobbled areas. The modern main shopping area is easy to get around.
Passau - Last visited May 2006.
We stayed at Camping Dreifuss, a terraced site, 8Km from Passau. Passau itself is on the border with Austria and is a city of three rivers. It is sandwiched between two of them,
the Donau and the Inn. The banks of River Donau rise steeply into both the new and old towns. The latter is the more interesting but the more difficult to get around due to
the gradients and cobbled streets. There are plenty of river trips from here and the larger boats are suitable for a wheelchair user. We took a two hour return trip down river
to the Austrian border at the little village of Kostens. They have good disabled toilet facilities on board but no lifts to change deck levels. There wasn't a great deal of interest to
see but we had a pleasant buffet lunch on board on the return leg
Rudesheim am Rhein - Last visited July 2006.
On both our visits to Rudesheim we stayed at Camping am Rhein. This first class camping site is on the banks of the Rhein on the edge of the town, which is just a 10 minute
walk away along the riverside cycle way. By the river, the town is fairly level but it's streets then rise steeply away from the river front and this can present a challenge to a
wheelchair user. However, we used this site on both of our visits because it is a useful base from which to explore not only the local area but also to go further a field either by
river boat or train.
There is a local "road train", the Rudesheimer Express, which takes you on a tour through the town and vineyards to a view point overlooking the town, but this is not wheelchair
friendly. Apart from excursions into town we made two river trips, one to St Goar and one to Koblenz, a day trip into Wiesbaden by train, a day trip along the Mosel by coach and
a walk along the river cycle way to the next town, Geisenheim, when we also stopped for lunch at a riverside restaurant. We also used a taxi to travel to Assmannhausen for an
enjoyable evening meal which we rounded off with a very well made Rudesheimer coffee.
On our first river trip, we caught a local boat, "the Ehrenfels" to St Goar, a journey down river of about two hours. The boat had good wheelchair accessible toilet facilities but
no lift to the upper decks. We had lunch in St Goar and then wandered around before taking the boat back again. St Goar is a small town and like Rudesheim the riverside area
is the easiest to get around for a wheelchair user. There is a "road train" tour up to the castle but this is not wheelchair friendly. We caught a different and larger boat back and
again it had good toilet facilities but no lift.
The trip down river to Koblenz takes 4 hours and passes through the Rhein Gorge, one of the most interesting stretches of the river with its many castles and riverside towns
dotted along the banks. The boat, run by the KD (Koln-Dusseldorfer) company, was called the "Asbach" and this time not only were there good wheelchair accessible toilet facilities
but there was a lift which permitted deck changes to be made. We spent a couple of hours in Koblenz and for our return journey caught the train for the one hour trip back to
Rudesheim. Access to the Koblenz low level railway station platforms is via an underpass and flights of steps. This is a formidable barrier for a wheelchair user, but if you go to the
Customer Service desk and ask for help you will be escorted via the goods passageways and lifts onto the platform. Fortunately the local trains are wheelchair friendly and each is
equipped with a hydraulic wheelchair lift making getting on and off from low level platforms easy. However, these are not always deployed and I got the impression rail staff do
not like using them because of the time it takes. If the platforms are not level they also claim they cannot be deployed. This was the case at Rudesheim station which also has
low level platforms and, on the two occasions we used this station, we had to resort to manually lifting the wheelchair on and off the train, an impossible task without help.
Our other trip by train from Rudesheim was a day return trip to Wiesbaden which has a modern station. Platforms are level with the trains' door sills and we had no difficulties
whatsoever alighting or boarding the train here.
We found Wiesbaden a very interesting Spa town. It is quite a walk from the station to the centre but it is largely level and our first port of call was the tourist office to obtain a free
city map and guide which we studied over coffee in a nearby pavement cafe. Plans made, we set off for the local park where we first had a picnic, followed by a visit to
the Kurhaus, hot springs, shopping streets and the largest cuckoo clock I have ever seen. There are many fine buildings, the main church and the theatre being but two of them.
It was a shame the square in front of the Kurhaus was being revamped, even so the eventual stunning impact which will result was already beginning to show. Wiesbaden radiated
an unexpected air of sophistication, from its very expensive designer shops, through the modern shopping arcades and squares and the old town, right down to the tree lined
residential streets with their multi-story houses complete with wooden balconies.
Our day trip to the Mosel was by private coach which was not at all wheelchair friendly and at each stop I had to lift Wendy on and off! We visited Bernkastel-Kues where we had
lunch before driving on down the Mosel to Cochem to a wine tasting after which we returned to Rudesheim via Koblenz and then along the bank of the Rhein. Bernkastel-Kues is
a pretty town but is not very wheelchair friendly, the cobbles and sloping streets making it difficult to get about without assistance. Cochem is much flatter but still has some steeper
All along the Mosel we observed may riverside campsites and motorhome parking places (Stellplatz) and I remember wishing that we were in our motorhome rather than the coach!
It did give me some food for thought though for a future trip.
Wemding - Last visited June 2006.
We spent a very hot 10 days on a holiday rally at Camping Waldensee which is located just outside Wemding.
Apart from visiting the nearby medieval towns of Donauworth, Nordlingen and Rothenburg ob der Tauber on the Romantic Road, we also went on a day trip to Munich and
had a medieval banquet in nearby Harburg Castle. Whilst Wemding might be considered a little off the beaten tourist track it is a quiet spot and although a little out of the way,
we had no trouble parking the motorhome on our days out because all the towns we visited had designated parking areas (stellplatz) for motorhomes. However, our trips to Munich
and the medieval banquet were by coach and were organised by the rally. Wemding is a small quiet walled town. There is a stellplatz just outside the walls where you can park and
then walk in. Like most of the towns on the Romantic road, cobbled areas can be a problem for a wheelchair user. Camping Waldensee is within 20 minutes downhill, not
too steep, walking distance of the town along a cycleway. It is adjacent a lake which provides very popular swimming facility for the local residents as well as campers.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber - The jewel of the Romantic route, a walled town built on a hill top overlooking the river Tauber and it is very much as it was in medieval days.
Cobbled streets and timber framed buildings abound. A large parking area just outside the walls is set aside for motorhome parking and this includes an overnight area, it even had
a marked parking bay for blue badge holders. Unfortunately the town being on a hill and its many cobbled narrow lanes presents a challenge for a wheelchair user and the carer
but it is largely traffic free and is well worth the effort. Guided tours are available from outside the Rathaus which is located in the main
square where there is an interesting animated clock which performs at certain hours of the day. Off the square, past the fountain, you can also find two typical
German Christmas shops. We had a very enjoyable day here window shopping and wandering the lanes.
Nordlingen - Another walled town, the closest to Wemding and worth a half day visit but again cobbled streets can be problematic. However, the town is largely level.
Donauworth and Neuburg- Our destination for the day should have been Donauworth but, due to road closures, we found ourselves parked on a stellplatz not far from the
centre of Neuburg. A short walk across the Donau river bridge brought us to the foot of a castle perched on top of an outcrop overlooking both the town and the river. After a very steep
but short push uphill we were at the castle entrance in this old part of the town. We had a wander around the castle grounds and courtyard, but the interior was unfortunately closed
on Mondays. However, we discovered an amazing "grotto" whose arched roofs and walls were decorated in sea shells. This was also closed but some of it was visible through the
iron gratings. Close by opposite a cafe, where we had a coffee, is the Hofkirche. The walls and ceilings of this church are richly decorated and it is well worth entering for a look.
We eventually made our way downhill to the new town where the level pedestrian areas and modern shops made it is very much easier to push a wheelchair around.
The morning had flown by and it was late afternoon by the time we got to Donauworth. After a drive through the town without spotting any stellplatz signs or anywhere suitable to park,
we followed the coach parking signs and found a large car park in which to stop. Again a short walk brought us to the main street which runs uphill but not too steeply and there are
no cobbles. We found Donauworth to be one of the least interesting towns we visited and I was glad we spent the greater part of the day in Neuburg.
Munich - To our relief, our coach, a double decker, had a wide entrance and I was able to take Wendy and wheelchair on board and with a standing transfer was able to get her seated
without too much effort. After picking up a guide in Munich we had a coach tour around what turned out to be a beautiful city and not at all like what I expected. It is certainly
worthy of a longer visit. Our first stop was at the Schloss Schleissheim about 9 miles north of the city centre. A very beautiful place with walks, formal gardens and waterways.
I noted there was space to park motorhomes, indeed there were some already parked up. Here we had an excellent guided tour of the richly decorated first floor
apartments which are unfortunately located up a grand sweeping stair case. This is the only obstacle for a wheelchair, but it is
a huge one, and I could not have managed it without help. This was followed by an excellent lunch in reputedly the largest beer garden in Germany in the Hirschgarten.
Suitably fed and watered we were then dropped off in the heart of Munich and made our way to the Marienplatz where we watched the Neues Rathaus animated clock strike the hour.
Germany were playing Sweden in a world cup football match in Munich that day and the city was alive with good natured fans and street entertainment. We were sorry to leave and
hope to return again one day to see some of the many things we missed.
Harburg Castle - Our stay in Wemding ended with a medieval banquet at nearby Harburg Castle. Again the coach ride was not a problem but it was a long steep push up
to the castle entrance and across a rough cobbled courtyard to the entrance of the banqueting hall. The banquet consisted of 4 or was it 5 courses, and the whole evening was
a little different to an English medieval evening but our host and those present made it an enjoyable end to our 10 days.
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