Medieval Germany - Frozen in Time

Trip Start Jun 14, 2010
Trip End Jul 05, 2010

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Saturday, June 19, 2010

On Saturday, we woke up and had another wonderful breakfast at the hotel.  We packed up and drove up to Stahleck Castle - the castle on the cliff above Bacharach.  After a quick look inside, we drove a few miles up the road to Rheinstein Castle.  An American we met on the streets of Bacharach had recommended it, so we decided to take the 10 minute steep hike up the cliff to visit the castle.  It turned out to be a great decision - it was a beautiful castle and an excellent self-guided tour.

The castle is perched on a rock outcropping and has an excellent view of the Rhine River valley. It is furnished and very easy to tour.  We enjoyed this castle just as much as Burg Eltz and Rheinfels Castle even though it was smaller and less dramatic.

We then drove to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.  Despite driving at Autobahn speeds for some stretches, we were bogged down in traffic much of the way due to construction.  We arrived mid afternoon.

After checking into the hotel, we did a walking tour of city and saw some of the major attractions.  Rothenburg is a real timewarp - a medieval city frozen in time and perfectly preserved.  In its time, it was a very large, wealthy city, but after being sacked during the 30 years war, it never recovered.  Being desperately poor after that actually helped keep the city untouched - there was no money to make modern improvements.  Then, in the early 1900's, tourism made the city wealthy again. It is incredibly charming despite the hordes of tourists.

We toured St Jakob's church and saw what is considered the best wood carving in Germany.  We also saw the Medieval Crime and Punishment museum - a bizarre but interesting museum.  We all really enjoyed it.  After getting our fill of torture devices, we took a break and had a snack on a small square.

That night we had a very traditional German dinner (potatoe soup, bratwurst, spaetzel) in a house that was over 500 years old.  We took the Nightwatchman Tour - a very amusing and educational tour of the history city led by the "last nightwatchman".

Our hotel in Rothenburg was in a medieval house and was actually quite nice despite the reasonable price.
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