Some of the most beautiful places in central Europe are connected by outstanding motorcycle roads that are just perfect for our KTM 1190 Adventure R. On this tour, every overnight location is protected by UNESCO World Heritage status, and each September day leads my wife and me through a completely different landscape.
Although the Germans may not like to admit it, hops (one of the three important ingredients of beer) originated in China. It made its way from Asia to Europe via the Silk Road and was first used by monks in the eighth century. They originally referred to their brew as medicine and later called it beer.
We are cruising through the Holledau, the world’s largest hops growing area (responsible for 50 percent of the world’s production). Small roads lead through unique fields of the 30-foot-high plants. This is typical small scale Bavaria: picturesque villages, farms, and country living. The start of our trip in busy Munich is only 30 miles back but worlds away from the relaxing surroundings of this area. We enjoy the flow as long as possible before the medieval town wall of Abensberg forces us to stop. The natural stone towers and arches, as well as the cobblestone streets, are too pretty to drive past, and everything is preserved very well.
Just a few miles farther north, a geographic barrier is responsible for our next interruption—the Danube River. Almost 2,000 miles long, it’s the second largest river in Europe, and we must be at one of the really striking spots along it. The Danube had to cut its way through the plateau of the Franconian Alb and left a scenic gorge lined by white limestone rocks. And, as if they wanted to make a picture postcard, the monks left an impressive mark in an inside corner of the river—Weltenburg Abbey, the oldest brewery in the world. Underneath the old chestnut trees, a fine-looking beer garden (a typical Bavarian landmark) is inside.