Charles Dickens must have lived here
Trip Start Dec 13, 2009
4Trip End Dec 17, 2009
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Even better was the forecast. Light flurries for most of the day with a high of 26 degrees. Perfect weather for spending 9-10 hours outdoors hiking for miles and miles around the town.
I started right for one of the many gates and climbed up to the main wall to start my hike around the town from high above. These are the first shots I took as soon as I got up there.......yes, it was cold:
This is the only shot I took of myself but unfortunately the background got washed out because it was dark under the covered walkway:
This is what the walkway on top of the wall actually looks like:
All along the wall there were stone plaques noting people and organizations that donated to the town to preserve it. Little did I know that I had to go to Germany to find a reference to a city I grew up next door to:
This is the first time I am seeing the town in daylight and it just started to unfold in front of me at every turn:
Many of the houses were tudor style with their own flair:
What was amazing was how old some of them were. This one was built in the 1300s!
The pigeons didn't seem to mind the cold although I could have sworn I heard them say "Nein, it's fargincoldin out here!"
Here's a long shot of the town taken from the outermost point of the wall and the point where I took the photo from:
and a close-up of one of the many guard towers along the wall. Every tower was completely unique:
I came upon one massive semi-circle which seemed to be where they defended the town the most from onslaught (especially given the cannons that are still there):
Outside the walls was an amazing covered bridge:
with an incredible walkway along the outside of the wall:
I also came upon a very cool amphitheater which looks very old but the stage was obviously redone:
I like this shot because it shows the tudor style, a full guard tower, and the steps up to the wall. Too bad it came out dark:
I rounded the bend and was treated to this amazing vista of the other end of town! Those are actually grape vineyards you see as they make their own wine. By the end of the day, I will have walked around the entire town, 2.5 miles for just the perimeter alone:
Here is another cool side street dusted with snow. Looks like powdered sugar right?
After touring London and Paris, I have learned that one of my greatest pet peeves is graffiti. I am simply amazed how Europeans treat amazing places like The Eiffel Tower, Disneyland Paris, this gem of a town, etc.....all with spray-painted crap everywhere by young punks. However, if I were absolutely forced to choose one piece of graffiti that I simply had to accept, it would be this one which is the only reason I took a picture of it:
Here is a closer shot of the vineyards as well as another side street:
This is the town hall in yellow and another cool white building with family crests on it:
Cool Christmas store which you will see lit up at night later and an old car in front of the town's most famous Christmas store (Kathe Wohlfahrt's):
Another tower view and a view of an older tower from outside the huge gate!
I think this was my favorite side street:
This is the town square set up for their annual Christmas market (both a close and far shot - the far shot is one of my favorites):
I ate lunch at the market. They had many food booths set up where you simply order what you want, and eat it right in front while standing next to high tables. I had a German bratwurst on a bun and a cup of steaming hot Gluhwein. I had no idea what it was but it was hot and I was cold. I quickly found out that it was basically ripping hot turpentine! These freaking German's were downing this stuff like it was water! Well, it warmed me up at least, even if it did make me trip a little for the next 30 minutes or so.
As if it wasn't enough, there are horse drawn carriages all over town!
I love this shot taken from the wall with the chimneys smoking. Now is a great time to tell you this town was actually the inspiration for the town in Walt Disney's Pinocchio!
For dessert (before dinner), I decided to try the extremely famous Schneeballen which is German for snowball. Every 20 feet or so a shop was selling tons of different varieties of these so I simply had to try one. I bought a basic cinnamon one and it was awesome. Here are some of the kinds they offer:
At this point, I needed to get some actual work done and it was freezing so I was hoping to go back to the hotel, grab a beer that they brew themselves and spend an hour on the laptop, followed by dinner at the hotel restaurant. Unfortunately it was the restaurant's (and bar's) day off, whatever that means, so I had to settle for a bottle of water and the warmth of the lobby while I worked.
Night fell and I was anxious to get back out to town for some night shots but I was starving. I decided to get the shots first and eat at the end right before I left for good.
My first night shot was from the wall again looking out towards the center of town:
I followed this up with some pretty cool long exposure shots of the sites I saw in the daytime around town:
Before heading back into the hotel, I realized I hadn't taken a picture of my awesome bed and breakfast! Harmony was so thrilled that I stayed at a hotel with Romantic in its name without her.
It was at this point that I needed to say goodbye and walk back to the train station. I took a parting shot of the pigeons from outside the wall on my way. I showed my walking path as well:
I'd like to sum up by saying that Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber was one of the most magical places I have ever been to, including Disney if you can believe that. The people that live and work there are so genuine and they truly know that they live within a fairy tale. I felt like I was walking the streets of A Christmas Carol throughout my day.
Everyone was so warm and welcoming. Remember that scene from Chevy Chase's "Funny Farm" when he pays all of the town residents to fake a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell Christmas painting? Where everyone is singing carols, smiling, spreading cheer, etc? Well, this town felt just like that except it was real.
I strongly urge anyone venturing out to anywhere in Germany to plan a day to jump on a train and head to this town, even if you can't stay overnight. From what I hear, it feels like Christmas year round there as many of the Christmas shops are open year round. Christmas aside, the history of the town itself is simply amazing.
Now, I would also like to sum up Germany as a whole. The one bad thing about this trip is that it was a whirlwind and I just saw glimpses of Frankfurt and Hamburg. I told Harmony this was a research trip and that I wanted to see if we would want to go back. We are definitely going back. What an amazing country this is. The Nazis are long gone. This country is vibrant, friendly, and open to tourists.
What I found in France and Germany is summed up by this: We are so lucky to be American. Not because we live in the land of the free (CT taxes speak against that statement anyway), but because of what is outside of our borders. Think about it, we can travel to Paris (even Versailles in the middle of nowhere), Frankfurt (even Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber in the middle of nowhere), etc. but literally not need to speak a word of their language. Why? They speak our language! Of course they speak in their native tongue between each other but almost every single one of them learned English in primary and secondary school. It is a requirement in so many European countries. Signs everywhere are in their language and then in English beneath it. Sounds familiar right? Just like many of the signs we see in America that are in English and then in Spanish beneath it. This causes so many of us to gripe and complain and say "Learn our language if you want to figure out where to go in America". Well, how would you feel if you were met with that same attitude when you went abroad? Maybe that is why many of you don't travel abroad. The reality is that it is so simple to travel abroad to so many countries and not even need to learn how to say "hello" in their language. This is one of the biggest benefits of being American. Come to think of it, pretty much every "American" has some European decent (or other non-American) in them, aside from the Native Americans, so we are all a bunch of immigrants anyway.
Get out there and see what else the world has to offer us. U.S.A. is an amazing and beautiful country but you may be pleasantly surprised to see how the other 6.4 billion people live.