"" Writer's Wanderings: 18 Days Through Europe in an Audi - Rothenberg ob Tauber

Monday, October 25, 2010

18 Days Through Europe in an Audi - Rothenberg ob Tauber

[Summer, 2004]

In Rothenberg ob Tauber, the Market Square is the gathering place for a nightly tour of the town from Easter to Christmas. The tour is in English and conducted by Hans Georg Baumgartner, the Night Watchman. It was excellent. The hour long walk takes you through the streets of Rothenburg and offers a wealth of information about the history, buildings, the wall, and even Hell (one of the local bars). Baumgartner's English is easy to understand. His humor is wry and he makes the experience unique.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a medieval town that has survived the ravages of wars and the modernization of the rest of the world. When tourism became important, laws were passed to prevent home owners from changing their residences and loosing the flavor of the medieval times that permeate the walled city. We explored the wall early the next morning. You can almost circumnavigate the whole city from above. Along the way are stones engraved with names of those who have contributed to the restoration of the wall after it was bombed in WWII.

We spent a good part of the day exploring all the shops, tasting the "snowballs", pastry favorites that Rick Steves warned against. They looked good and we bought 4 of them. They are about 5 inches in diameter with different flavored fillings and coatings. One would have been enough for all of us.

Dinkelsbuehl was the next stop along the Romantic Road. We were glad we chose to stay longer in Rothenburg for Dinkelsbuehl, as quaint as it was, did not measure up to our expectations. The Minster of St. George was impressive however. It is a beautiful late Gothic church with huge pillars rising high above your head. It gave quite a sensation of dignity and grace as you walked down the aisle between the towering supports. We found a place for our afternoon tea and coffee and then traveled on to Noedlingen where we were staying the night in an old monastery.
Arriving in Noedlingen, another walled town, we saw a building that matched the picture of our hotel from the web. It looked historic, well preserved historic, but to our dismay and delight we found that the hotel was actually the modern structure behind it. I say dismay and delight because we were looking for an adventurous stay in an old monastery but were delighted to find a four star hotel with huge rooms and very nice accommodations. There was an old statue in the lobby from the old monastery and some of the windows at the end of the hallway looked original but everything else was very contemporary.

A fair or festival was taking place with rides, food, and lots of interesting booths marketing all sorts of products. The guys opted to visit the fair after dinner while we girls decided we needed a little time with our feet up. They found the fair to be a lot of fun and came back with some good stories and a bottle of carbonated water. Bob didn't know how to ask for the one without the bubbles.

In the morning, we opted to walk the wall around the city, counting the towers as we went. I believe there's 11. Bob and Dick were going to climb the bell tower in St. Georgeskirche but for some reason it wasn't opening for another hour after we finished our walk and we decided to move on.

Before turning off the Romantic Road to head for Oberammergau, we drove through a few of the other towns highlighted on our Romantic map. Each little town had a May pole and each May pole had unique decorations common to that area of Germany.

Oberammergau is not on the Romantic road but all of us had visited before. Polly and Dick enjoyed the Passion Play but were too rushed to see all the little shops and enjoy the atmosphere of the town. We had stopped during a tour and barely had time for a cup of coffee so we were all excited about being able to walk the town leisurely and enjoy the artwork adorning the half timbered walls. There are a couple of woodcarving shops that I especially enjoyed since I collect wood pieces.
We lingered long enough for the guys to complain that the credit cards were too hot and then went on to our next overnight stop, Salzburg, Austria.

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