We left Nürnberg in the late afternoon and decided to explore the northern section of the Romantic Road before heading to Rothenburg. We found a little town called Weikersheim where we shared a Weiner Schnitzel and did a little exploring. After dinner, we continued down the Romantic Road. It's so different from Canada! In Canada, you come across a town every hour or so. In Germay, it's every 2-3 minutes! Everywhere we looked, it was green fields dotted with red rooftops and a church spire poking through.
In Rothenburg we checked into our hotel (The Golden Rose). We we given a lovely room in the garden house. Beautiful! It was starting to get drak so we decided to expore the town walls. A little nerve-wracking in the dark with only a loose wooden beam separating you from a 25-foot fall!
We arose bright and early (again) and decided to do some early-morning photography before the crowds arrived. It was very peaceful. After breakfast the tour busses started to roll in and the entire ambience of the town changed. Suddenly it was like a medieval Barkerville with tourists buzzing everywhere. We went to the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum where we saw the Iron Maiden, dozens of shame masks, and executioners' swords. No displays on drawing and quartering though (damn!). We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the town shopping and nibbling as we went. Much to Attila's chagrin, I bought a cuckoo-clock (with dancers!) and a porcelain dall dressed in traditional German garb. Beautiful!
We dined at a Hotel restaurant (we tried the Goulash but Attila was sadly disappointed!) and went out to the Town Square for the Night Watchman Tour. Unfortunately, I misread the 24-hour time in the guidebook so we missed the tour. (grumble grumble)
In the morning, we headed down the southern strip of the Romantic Road. The locals told us the we should take the Autobahn because the Romantic Road was "just a road, nothing special," but we enjoyed it. Lovely little towns, scenic countrysides, and VERY narrow roads! Boy, am I glad I have a ex-ambulance driver for a chauffeur! The roads have no shoulders and are barely wide enough for two cars. I'd hate to see what would happen with Canadian vehicles!
Our first stop was Dinkelsburg (Rick Steves describes it as Rothenburg's little sister). The walled old town was very quaint and quiet. We window-shopped for an hour or so and headed on our way again. Our next stop was Augsburg, where we stopped for lunch. Thank goodness for our GPS! Without it, I suspect we would still be driving aimlessly through the town, trying to find the highway! That GPS has been a godsend! We type in the address of our hotel and it tells us exactly where to go (and how to get there!) If we make a wrong turn, it tells us how to fix it. I will never travel without one again!
Our plan was to go to the Neuschwanstein castles near Füssen, but we couldn't get reservations for the same day, so we made reservations for the next day and headed to Reutte, Austria. In Reutte, we hiked up to the Ehrenburg ruins. The baron built a series of three castles, connected by a wall that crossed the valley, effectively stopping all traffic so that he could tax everyone. The castles were eventually conquered and demolished so only the ruins remained. We climbed up there late in the evening so it was virtually deserted. We got some beautiful pictures of the ruins and surrounding countryside.
After checking into our hotel, we drove to a neighbouring town where we had the best schnitzel and 'kraut thus far. When we expressed our compliments to the server, so brought us a couple of shots. My first (bleh) at least it was sweet. After dinner, we walked over to a nearby pavilion for some Tirolean folk music.
In the morning, we drove to Neuschwanstein. There are two castles: one built by King Ludwig's father as a summer home, and the other built by King Ludwig as a young man. Ludwig's castle is the one that Disney used as a model for Sleeping Beauty's castle. However, Ludwigs's castle was never finished as he died under mysterious cicrumstances after being declared insane. The castle was huge with a lavish decor. Imagine spending most of your adult life designing a dream home, then dying before you have the chance to live in it! The castles were interesting but the complex was terribly commercialized. 41€ for two tickets, but extra to take a bus or carriage to the castles (we walked), and 3€ for a bottle of water! Attila had beer -- it was cheaper (go figure!)
Just as we finished touring Mary's Bridge at the castle complex, it started to rain so we dashed off to the car and headed for Münich.