While it’s true that traveling brings you to places, exposes you to sights and culinary delights, there are other intrinsic factors which favorably distinguish some destinations from others. Of course, if the people are warm and friendly it always helps. One group of people who really should keep this in mind are those in the hospitality industry. Their livelihood is dependent on it and every smile and gesture can make the difference between repeat business and one-time visits.
charming old town of Bad Windsheim
Bad Windsheim is an example of a little known outside of Bavarian town which might need that little extra. The old town center is compact and certainly has some charming architecture and the tourist infrastructure is good, with ample places to stay and a variety of places to eat. It is a spa town and that is a huge draw for most Germans who make their way there. Another attraction is the Freilandsmuseum, an open air museum featuring a stunning array of old half-timbered buildings which gives you a real feel for a former and simpler time.
Freilandmuseum is big attraction in Bad Windsheim
It’s a great place for the kids too with some farming buildings and the occasional rooster strutting. Some interiors play recordings (in German) of people talking about life during that time and others interestingly play period music. It has a real rural feel and you’ll feel transported to the countryside even though it’s a short walk from the old town center.
rural life captured at the Freilandsmuseum
For the beer tourist, there is also a communal brew house on the grounds which is still used and there is an old Wirtshaus which sells the beer. It’s quite interesting to have a meal there as it’s like eating in one of the museum rooms.
Wirtshaus am Kommunbrauhaus
As you might imagine, I am very much a beer tourist but I have to admit, I not only didn’t come all this way to check out this communal brewery scene, I didn’t even know about it initially. I’d heard that Brauhaus Döbler in town was quite good and was more than happy to discover that the town had so many other pluses as it was easy to talk my wife into going for a few days prior to Easter. She’s a sucker for the sauna, the museum intrigued her and I even found a 14-km hike which took in a slice of the real countryside surrounding town.
scenes from the BW1
Well, it all sounded like a fairy tale. My wife was actually more excited about it than I was but life is funny sometimes. COVID-19 came our way and we had to cancel. When the coast was finally clear, I found myself going there on my own for one night on my way back home from another beery destination. My wife didn’t feel so safe going to the sauna and without that little enticement, it was less alluring. I booked a room with the same Döbler family who owns the brewery and was immediately impressed with my correspondence with them, always answered swiftly, open to requests even before I got there and above all else very friendly. It was fine to check in early and I was met at the room by the owner’s daughter who gave me my key and showed me my very nicely furnished room. She was the one I’d corresponded with and her English was flawless in person as well. Needless to say when I decided on where to go for lunch before my hike, there was little question as to where that would be.
the many enticements of Brauhaus Döbler
Brauhaus Döbler turned out to be even better than I’d imagined, with a great old but well-kept interior and quick friendly service to boot. I didn’t have a lot of time so that was important and I knew I’d be back for dinner after I tasted the great plate of smoked ham and some of the freshest bread I’ve had in Franconia lately. Their flagship Märzen was fantastic too.
feeling very much at home at Brauhaus Döbler
After my hike, I passed by the pub on my way to my room and noticed it was quite busy, at least out front. So, I rushed back for a quick much needed shower but managed to lock myself out of my room safe.
Since the inside wasn’t as crowded, I opted to sit there. I loved the room and settled in to check out the rest of their beer line-up. I got their mixed meat plate for sustenance. It and the soup were of excellent quality. The owner was manning the taps but still strayed to serve beers when his staff was busy serving food. He was happy to see me trying and obviously enjoying all his beers. The Märzen was my favorite but I’ll have to say the Döbler Reichsstadtbier naturtrüb gave it a good run for the money. His daughter pitched in as a server when it got really busy and the feeling of the whole place was of a well-oiled machine, where everyone was ready to cover for whoever needed help. It was a joy to see a family enterprise which looks ready to weather the storm of time, and even of COVID-19.
When it was time to go, I explained to the daughter my dilemma about the safe and she said she’d come over and open it for me, without any condescending attitude. She joked that it happens a fair amount so she was adept at getting it open. Before she left, I asked if I could leave my backpack in the office when I checked out the next morning so I could go to the Freilandsmuseum without carrying it. She said sure and after a second thought said the room wasn’t booked so I could just leave my stuff in it. I could check out when I was ready to leave town. In less then 12 hours, I already felt a bit like family. I’m not sure when I’ll get back but I’m pretty sure I know where I’ll stay, eat and drink. That’s the Döbler Effect and count me under its spell.