As has been previously stated, Rothenburg plans were put on hold yesterday due to lack of participation. We were discussing this over breakfast one day when one of the guests of another patient at the clinic heard and offered to give us a ride in her car. This found us a way to see the town we had heard so much about, so we thankfully agreed, and this mid morning found us cruising along the German country roads in the back seat of a car, with the pleasant company of a Sweede and an Irishwoman.
Sidenote, I texted my roommate to mention the random occurrence of Christian and I catching a ride with people we hardly knew in a forign country. She texted me back asking how I had met them, and I proceeded to forget to answer her. She probably thought I was dead in a ditch somewhere. Oops.
It is a smidge less than an hour to Rothenburg from Bad Mergentheim. The roads flow between the hills of the countryside and amongst little picturesque towns. I wonder if such pretty things were the landscape of American roads before interstates came into play. The roads here are hardly two lane, and offer a wonderful look of the vineyards and the little places that don’t offer enough to stop but are adorable to see in passing. The time passed quickly as we talked about the differences in American vs. European agriculture.
The thing about Rothenburg is that the old town was completely surrounded by an old wall. Inside this wall is still a bustling city full of shops and cafés. We decided on a meeting spot and 4 hours to explore before we came back together. Christian and I instantly made our way to the wall. But not before I snapped some pictures of the town’s beautiful architecture.
We had heard that you could walk the whole wall, even get in the wall at some points, and we were not disappointed. We got on top near the lower side of town and started our trip seemingly to another time. Even Christian, usually the first to say “Don’t act like a tourist,” or who doesn’t understand my need for picture taking, was excited and snapping pics as we found the nooks and crannies of history that engulfed us.
We stumbled across an old world theater stage. I asked Christian if he would film me saying some Shakespeare, but he refused. Apparently that would be too nerdy for him. Ah well, one can dream.
After walking the wall for a while we did finally find our chance to get inside. What we found was spectacular. Whereas everywhere else we have been so far has had that feel of upkeep and of being handled throughout the eras, the wall felt nothing like that. There weren’t even lights installed in the cool, dim rooms to help you see the uneven floor and steep stairs. And it added so much to the atmosphere of the place. You really could expect to see soldiers wander through. It was just so real.
There were also some other parts of the wall that were quite impressive and/or interesting.
After our explorations we needed food, and kabaps called to us. We found a place called the Schnell Resturant. Christian got another Döner Kabap, and I had something similar, just in wrap form. Not as good as the one I had in Bad Mergentheim, but still yummy.
We then hit the shops. Old Rothenburg is a weird little tourist place. On one hand it is sorrounded and filled with history, yet it is filled with shops that lend it a more touristy flair that detracts from that a bit. Also they are obsessed with Christmas, having themed shops open year round. It did lend great opportunities for souvenir shopping though. We did find one particular store we loved, full of medieval stuff.
We also walked farther around town, and saw the beautiful gardens along one arm of it, which overlook the valley. It happened to give us a fabulous view of the wall we had been able to go in.
Kathy had told me to find some Schneeballen. They were prominent in the town and it wasn’t hard to find a source for this German pastry. We settled on Differ’s Schneeballen as the one that appeared when we wanted it. Basically marzipan and pastry dough wound into a ball and deep fried, then dipped in chocolate or powdered sugar. It did not disappoint.
We also grabbed some coffee and cocoa to keep us warm as the day continued to be overcast. Germany hot chocolate is about 1000 times better than the stuff I have had in the States. The Cafebar & Confiserie in the town square lived up to the stuff I have had so far.
At this point it was time to meet up again, just as the rain started to fall. We said goodbye to the charming, romantic town. I feel with more time I could have found out so much more of its history. I know there is a museum on Medieval law and torture, that there is history touching upon World War II, that there are churches and night tours and all sorts of things that it is not in my cards to see while I am here.
I find that feeling often in Germany. I can’t see it all, and I have to come to terms with that. But it makes me wonder what I miss back home because I think I have forever to see it. I hope to learn more of a wanderlust for my home when I get back.