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Rothenburg

September 4, 2014 – Thursday – Bacharach to Rothenburg, Germany

Rick Steves Best of Europe in 21 Days tour

Lavazza coffee bar at an Autobahn rest stop
Lavazza coffee bar at an Autobahn rest stop

After breakfast in our hotel in Bacharach, we schlep our bags across the street to where the bus is parked. Our bus really hustles along the German Autobahn, passing the ultra-modern Frankfurt airport before arriving at our morning rest stop.

This rest area facility is very deluxe: a nice gift shop with high end stuff for sale, German pastries, Lavazza coffee bar, deli smorgasbord, and wonderful toilets and showers! There is a 0.70 Euro charge to use the toilets, but they give back a 0.50 Euro coupon for merchandise purchases. There is even an adjacent, small hotel for overnight rest stops. Our bus driver tells me he has used the hotel on winter ski trips, and says the rooms are very nice, and quite inexpensive.

Ornate signs on Schmiedgasse in Rothenburg
Ornate signs on Schmiedgasse in Rothenburg

We arrive at Rothenburg ob der Tauber around noon, and after some lunch on our own, Jennifer walks us through the main street to familiarize us with this medieval city. It is obviously what Disney uses to pattern their Fantasyland theme parks after. Rothenburg has an impressive wall, towers and gates around the old city, cobblestone streets, quaint shops with eclectic merchandise, and beautiful vistas of the valley below.

As I wander the streets, there is much to see and experience: German confections in a bakery window; castle gates; giant bird’s nests on rooftops; clock towers; churches with flying buttresses; pretty half-timbered houses; endless window boxes sporting Geraniums and other flowers; cobblestone streets; ornate metal signs above all the businesses; huge numbers of hotels, drinking and eating establishments; Christmas shops and other specialty shops.

Then there is the Medieval Kriminal Museum, which I decide to visit. It is filled with masks of shame, executioners costumes, racks and torture chairs, bludgeons, and describes medieval justice in great detail (not all of it gory). The Meistertrunk town clock is very special, since two mechanical figures appear out of two doors beside the clock face once in awhile, and do an elaborate ritual before retreating back inside. I would say, there is something for everyone in Rothenburg.

The city is jammed with day-trippers during the afternoon, however by evening they all leave on the buses they came in, and the streets return to normal. Some of us go to a Greek restaurant across the street from our hotel for dinner. I then grab my camera and take advantage of the beautiful pastel-coloured light as the Sun is setting. The whole city looks magical as I walk along a section of the city wall during “the golden hour”.

The Night Watchman of Rothenburg In front of the Franciscan Church
The Night Watchman of Rothenburg In front of the Franciscan Church

Later, I meet up with the tour group in the main square at dusk. We follow the Night Watchman, which is a guy in medieval costume carrying a scepter and lantern. He delivers a humorous historical talk as we wander from place to place through the city. He explains the function of the night watchmen in medieval times: ensuring doors are locked and people are not on the streets as night falls. He describes the city gate system, and how people had to make their way inside the security of the walled city an hour before dark. He does two walks/talks – one in English and one in German.

September 5, 2014 – Friday – Rothenburg, Germany to Routte, Austria

The breakfast buffet at Hotel Gerberhaus
The breakfast buffet at Hotel Gerberhaus

The breakfast buffet at Hotel Gerberhaus this morning is very impressive and quite delicious. The coffee is also the best we have had on the trip so far, despite it being filter coffee. There are all sorts of cheeses, cold meat, pastries, fruit, cereal, and sweets, including chocolate!

We then schlepp our bags out the back door, down the alley and through the doorway in the city wall to our bus waiting for us in the parking lot.

Rothenburg
46 photos
The town clock
The town clock
Medieval buildings beside the main square
Medieval buildings beside the main square
Hotels, city hall, approach to main town square
Hotels, city hall, approach to main town square
Marien Apotheke decorative standard and building
Marien Apotheke decorative standard and building
Sundials on three sides of a building
Sundials on three sides of a building
The church tower and outside of the main sanctuary
The church tower and outside of the main sanctuary
Decorative towers and roofline
Decorative towers and roofline
Inside the sanctuary
Inside the sanctuary
Garden restaurant beside the church
Garden restaurant beside the church
Street scene
Street scene
German confections in a bakery window
German confections in a bakery window
A cat rolling around in the roadway
A cat rolling around in the roadway
Castle Gate & clock tower
Castle Gate & clock tower
Rothenburg at dusk
Rothenburg at dusk
Rintfleisch-Pogrom Jewish Memorial
Rintfleisch-Pogrom Jewish Memorial
The Castle Gate and tower
The Castle Gate and tower
The Castle Gate
The Castle Gate
A busy street
A busy street
Entrance to the  Kriminal Museum
Entrance to the Kriminal Museum
A rack and torture chair
A rack and torture chair
Bludgeon
Bludgeon
Executioner's costume
Executioner’s costume
Mask of Shame
Mask of Shame
Plönlein "Little Square" and Siebers Tower
Plönlein “Little Square” and Siebers Tower
Wall tower and house
Wall tower and house
Spital bastion gates
Spital bastion gates
Tower, rooftops and the setting sun
Tower, rooftops and the setting sun
Tower, rooftops and the setting sun
Tower, rooftops and the setting sun
Tower, rooftops and the setting sun
Tower, rooftops and the setting sun
Pretty half-timbered house with windowbox flowers
Pretty half-timbered house with windowbox flowers
A Porsche Panamera
A Porsche Panamera
Gate, clock tower, and bird's nest on a rooftop
Gate, clock tower, and bird’s nest on a rooftop
Ornate signs on Schmiedgasse
Ornate signs on Schmiedgasse
Kathe Wohlfahrt's famouse Christmas shop
Kathe Wohlfahrt’s famouse Christmas shop
High end cars parked in the street, including a classic Jaguar
High end cars parked in the street, including a classic Jaguar
The Night Watchman of Rothenburg
The Night Watchman of Rothenburg
The Night Watchman of Rothenburg blowing his horn
The Night Watchman of Rothenburg blowing his horn
Lit passageway behind City Hall
Lit passageway behind City Hall
The Night Watchman of Rothenburg
The Night Watchman of Rothenburg
Peggy and Dan follow the Night Watchman
Peggy and Dan follow the Night Watchman
The Night Watchman of Rothenburg
The Night Watchman of Rothenburg
Looking back at night over the Tauber valley at the city from Castle Park
Looking back at night over the Tauber valley at the city from Castle Park
Archway and gate lit at night
Archway and gate lit at night
The breakfast buffet at the hotel
The breakfast buffet at the hotel
St. Jacob's church
St. Jacob’s church
Looking down Herrngasse toward the Franciscan Church and the Castle Gate
Looking down Herrngasse toward the Franciscan Church and the Castle Gate

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