This route begins as an interesting cross country drive from Bamberg east to Weiden, and then joins the Bayerische Ostmarkstrasse running north and south the length of the Bavarian Forest. The journey is a bit lengthy for leisurely travel and those who prefer to stop to explore what interests them along the way are advised to allocate two days. We did it in five hours on a Sunday, including a 30-minute stop for lunch.

We used Mairs Die Generalkarte #17 and #20.

Leave Bamberg on red road 505, following signs to Bayreuth. At about 18 kilometers bear right onto red road #22 and follow the signs to Würgau.

At Steinfeld the terrain is rolling forests and farmland with occasional, sudden rocky outcroppings. Continue through the Wiesenttal toward Hollfeld.

Pass through Treunitz and at Wiesentfels notice on your left the church built on a sheer cliff. After Loch, the vegetation and forest are beautifully thick and lush. At Rheinfels is another church built on a rocky hill. You leave this narrow valley at Neidenstein.

At the intersection in the center of Hollfeld go right toward Waischenfeld on yellow road #377. Just outside of town is the attractive Restaurant-Hotel Bettina. A few kilometers later the road rises and affords some pretty views. At Plankenfels the road drops steeply back into the forest and you are soon winding through a narrow valley beside a small river.

Waischenfeld, built into the side of a rocky hill, has some interesting half-timbered houses. The river that runs through this rich valley is green and beautiful, slow moving and full of reeds and moss.

To the left across the river, about three kilometers after Waischenfeld, is an opportunity to take a picture of Schloss Rabenstein.

At Doos, you can choose a detour from this drive and take the road to Muggendorf and the Hotel Feiler, where the specialty of the Feiler's marvelous restaurant is wild mushrooms picked personally by the owner. The damp, lush forests make this great mushroom country.

The valley narrows at Schottersmühle and there seems only to be room for the road and the river.

Behringersmühle is about 24 kilometers from Hollfeld and you go left onto red road # 470, following the river Puttlach and the signs to Weiden and Pegnitz.

At Tuchersfeld, strange rock columns rise several stories straight out of the ground and are topped by a few square feet of vegetation.

There are many attractive campsites along this road.

In a few kilometers the river widens to become a lake and a bit further on is the Teufelhöhe. Guided tours through the caves are offered everyday from April through October and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays during the rest of the year.

The road runs onto a plateau at Wannberg and on a clear day you'll be able to see a good distance. At the intersection of #470 and #2 continue toward Weiden.

Near Neudorf, turn onto red road #85 and cross under the autobahn. Just prior to Auerbach, turn north and east on red road #470 again toward Weiden.

In a few kilometers you will begin to notice the forest on your right is marked by signs which include the phrase "Danger to Life - Military Training Area." On the map this region is marked with narrow pinkish stripes. It is not a place to go mushroom hunting.

This part of the drive is a pleasant transition to the Ostmarkstrasse.

It is a little tricky getting through Weiden. We found just one sign to Cham and it was beyond the main intersection. You want to wind up on red road #22 heading south. When leaving Weiden there should be some soccer fields on your right. If so, you have joined the Bayerische Ostmarkstrasse.

At the turnoff to Kaimling is the Gasthof Goldener Löwe, run by the Forster family, where we stopped for a light lunch. Two leberknüdelsuppen, a plate of pommes frites, a beer and a mineral water cost 11 DM ($6.66).

Back on the road just after Michldorf is Schloss Leuchtenberg. Guided tours are available from March through November.

The Ostmarkstrasse is no narrow mountain track, but two wide lanes running through forested hills and verdant fields. It avoids most towns and villages. The onion dome churches are evidence that you are moving toward southern Bavaria.

At 75 kilometers after Weiden is Cham. Just beyond the town, turn east on red road #20 and then almost immediately head back south on #85 paralleling the river Regen. A few kilometers after Cham you'll head east on another red road toward Kotzting. The first village is Miltach.

In another approximately 20 kilometers is an opportunity to turn south and take a more direct route to Bodenmais or continue east as we did.

After Kötzting the road rises fairly steeply into the forest, at 104 kilometers is a steep downgrade with a fine view.

Just past Arrach turn right to Arnbruck. This is a yellow road with hairpin turns going up into the forest.

At the summit (844 meters) you can stop for the view or get a bite to eat at the Berg Gasthof.

After that the road descends through the trees, emerging above Arnbruck, where you will begin to see the traditionally painted stucco houses of southern Bavaria. Shortly you will bear left at the fork in the road.

At Drachselsried note the onion dome church with the stone tower.

After Ober-Ried and Unter-Ried you will join the yellow road you have been paralleling and continue into Bodenmais, about 136 kilometers from Weiden.

February 1993