Deutschland, bitte.
 

The second leg of les Verts’ European adventure took them, and us, to France’s immediate eastern neighbor.  Every one of us – Nez, Riot, Nez’s sister, Joie, her husband, and their three children whose noms de web are, in order, Eurogrl, Kingskid, and Berryana – would now be a tourist.  And, before we rendezvous with Nez’s dad, who had flown to Germany directly from the States, we would be largely helpless with our feeble German, or the lack of it.  Yet, no one was really thinking about that minor inconvenience; we were all looking forward to exploring the German countryside as a sort of family reunion.  And, if it helps, our German adventure could be thought of as a castle tour with interesting train stories. 

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Castle No. 4 (What castle?):  Rothenburg.

Itinerary:

•  St. Goar - Mainz

        10:20-11:29
•  Mainz - Würzburg
        11:40-13:31
•  Würzburg - Steinach
        13:41-14:24
•  Steinach - Rothenburg
        14:35-14:49

19 May 2008.  We next came to Rothenburg ob der Tauber; we saw a lot of little Rothenburg and very little of the Tauber it sat above.  We definitely did not see any castle here because the only one that existed was destroyed in the 14th century and never rebuilt.  One night, while we were out walking we overheard the night watchman telling his night walking tour group about how the town stopped growing, and thus was preserved in its 17th century state, following the double historical whammy of the Thirty Years’ War and one of the bubonic plagues.  Thus, here was a town kept in a time capsule not entirely out of design but to the delight of modern day tourists nevertheless.  A contiguous wall still encircled it, although parts of the wall had since become walls of adjoining homes and, in at least one circumstance, a car garage.  Within that wall, meandering cobblestone lanes were lined with picturesque exposed-beam buildings and their painted phrases and images decorating the exteriors.












Jumping for joy:  In the course of its
800 years, our hotel has probably
seen many happy travelers but
probably none more than this bunch
who was by then starving
for lunch.
 
,

 
 

Off in one corner of the main town square was a large tourist magnet called the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Villages where everyday was Christmas and everything that you would want, or not want, to decorate your house with on the actual holiday was sold.  We made our obligatory pass through the cavernous interior, skipping the museum upstairs, and avoiding to buy anything but a souvenir or two of the non-Christmas kind.  But don’t take our word for it; check it out yourself.  If anything, the young children did love the animatronic set resembling Santa's toy factory and many grown children have been known to spend countless hours and euros there.

 
 
  Off the well-traveled paths, one finds rewarding little twisty lanes more suitable for horses of yore or todays bicycles.
  On the beaten tracks, Rothenburg is a pretty little town straight out of images from a childrens story book.
 

Our hotel, the Hotel Altfränkische Weinstube am Klosterhof, the best of the trip, was some eight hundred years old and upon entering the front room (for it was not your ordinary reception area) one might have thought that the place hadn’t changed much in as many centuries.  In fact, the atmosphere of the room resembled a vist to one’s grandparents’ house.  Much to our pleasant surprise, the upstairs guest rooms offered a comfortable yet charming setting and a modernized bathroom.  In our room, the furniture dated from the Napoleonic era, which we discerned from the year painted on them (although the man himself never made a pit stop in Rothenburg).  This was relatively recent in the scheme of things as far as this hotel went.  Later that first night, we feasted at our very own reserved table, in almost darkness, on a sumptuous German meal that was as good as any good gourmet meal in the unlikeliest of places.

 
 
  Its city wall may draw tourists but Rothenburg is also populated by ordinary people who own cars and need a place to park them.
  It’s hard to keep a child still, even an underwhelming reenactment of an old tale about how Rothenburg was saved from the wrath of an invading army by a mayor who drank three liters of wine in one gulp.
 
 
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Go!
 
Holla
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008  Rien, Vraiment!  All rights reserved.