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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Romantic Rothenburg

Actually, from the fairy tale Neuschwanstein Castle, we have started our romantic journey. Somehow, I seem to have forgotten about it the day before. Perhaps I have long forgotten about the feelings of romantic too?

So this day, we would continue our romantic journey to a romantic old town, called Rothenburg, which lies along the most popular scenic drive road in Germany, The Romantic Road.

The starting point of this 261 miles long route is Würzburg (75 miles southeast of Frankfurt), and the end point is Füssen (82 miles southwest of Munich, Castle Neuschwanstein). For us, we drove from Fussen to Wurzburg instead, since we would drive to Frankfurt Airport on the next day.

It appears that the notion of a "Romantic Road" was a post World War II marketing concept, originally aimed to American soldiers to foster them to bring their families to Germany for a vacation. Wonder why? Eventually the concept caught on with a wider audience.

Quite honestly, I found that the road itself is not as scenic as it claims, particularly no more Alps can be seen. For a very long distance, we drove on this non fascinating motorway. So, I think it is the towns that dating back approximately 1000 years that are the attractions in the area, not the 'road" that connects them.

This was the day we would need to drive the longest hours of all days, before we could arrive Rothenburg Town. Husband estimation it would take us 3 hours ! Gosh.

The boys were very noisy at the rear seat. Luckily, they have those ICE AGE animals to keep them occupied for some time. Some of the time, I heard them putting on a puppet show at the back. Some other time, I heard them fight and someone shouted : I don't want to play with you anymore. Yet 5 minutes later, they played together again like nothing had ever happened. This irritating cycle continued for the whole "romantic" journey.

As for me, I was busy in examining and tuning the iTrip that wasn't working very well, as the interference along the road is very frequent. But it was the genius who was driving at that time that solved the problem.

After the problem get solved, I couldn't help but to ask the genius where we were, how long we would get to Rothenburg, etc....for several times. He also didn't answer my question directly, but telling me that although a number of towns along the Romantic deserve some attention, it would be impossible to visit all of them in the time most travelers have for a vacation. Chic-and-duck talk.

Around 12.30 noon time, finally we reached Rothenburg town. Looking at the sky, even a half blind could tell it's going to rain very soon. Anyway, we were not too bother about it, cause we felt content enough to have blessed with 4 beautiful days before that.

True as predicted this time, the rain started to fall soon when we got out from our car.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, considered one the best-preserved medieval towns in Germany. The city is a modestly sized old town, complete with encircling wall and gated towers, is one of the most popular stops on the Romantic Road.

Visitors flock to Rothenburg because of its reputation as an "authentic", walled medieval town. Historic is, perhaps, the most appropriate description. Rothenburg, which dates from the 12th century, was a noted trade center and one of the most important towns in Germany during the ascendancy of the Holy Roman Empire.

The city and its Lutheran protectors were defeated in Thirty Years War and Rothenburg was sacked by Catholic forces. Several years later, the Black Plague ravaged its remaining population and the walled city slid into a decline that lasted for several centuries.

In the early 20th century, Rothenburg experienced a re-emergence, but this time as a tourist destination. Unfortunately, sections of Rothenburg were destroyed by bombing in World War II and the rebuilding process, which took twenty years, started soon after the end of hostilities.

After being lock up in the car for 3 hours plus, finally we were free. It sure feels good to walk by legs again.

Saw some red romantic inserts moving on the log over there. Are they ladybug? Well, actually, the longer I looked at those bugs, the more eerie I feel.

My first impression about this town : it looks very old, but it seems to fit the word romantic perfectly.

The rain stopped for a while, and the captain said we should walk as fast as possible, before it rain again.

He was checking with the Lonely Planet on where to go first...

Houses at the opposite side of the road, none of them look the same. Exactly because of this fact, every house in the town is unique...

Actually just before we reached this town, they boys almost dozed off in the car. So, I guessed they haven't back to their top form yet.

After reading the book for some time, husband pointed to the only straight road ahead us, and said we should just follow it. Well, let's say we should just follow our heart...

The triangular triplex roof top is a kind of interesting design. I wonder how it looks like inside?

Somebody's front door. It just 2 feet from the pedestrian road, any bugger can press the doorbell for fun and then run away.

I was surprised to see this house. It's exactly the house I draw when I was small. Weird...where did I get the idea from at that time? Or maybe I live here for my past life?

This town is one of the most picturesque towns we have visited.

Along the street are city walls, towers, half-timbered houses, hidden monasteries, souvevir stores, restaurants and romantic hotels.

A good place to sip a cup of coffee, and watch the world goes by.

The time was 1:14 pm when we walked to that point.

From here, husband asked us to look backward...

He said this is the characteristic landmark which appears in many of the Rothenburg's postcard.

Just within a few minutes time, suddenly a large group of tourist swamped into the town from where we came from. There gone the serenity.

One of the shop as backdrop.

One of the shop that sells mini bears, got mama-bear, papa-bear, baby-bear, very cutie. Also, mini puppets that were hanging there.

We stopped at a shop that sells ball-shape biscuit. Husband said that's Schneeballen, the famous delicacy in Rothenburg. We walked in the shop happily to select our schneeballen.

There got many different types of schneeballen for one's selection. I stood there for quite some time to look for my favourite ball.

Some with nuts, some with chocolate topping....too many. The appearance of schneeballen is very appealing, make my saliva drooling.

End up, I choosed the original schneeballen, want to taste the original ball before I go for the new version ball. It only cost €1.3 per ball, very cheap.

The size of a schneeballen is that big. It sure is a good snack for tea break, not too sweet, crunchy outside, and soft inside.

The skin on husband's face started to peel off as a result of sun burn. Isn't the flakes on his face match perfectly with this schneeballen?

Besides the normal size schneeballen, there also got mini size schneeballen packed in a crystal clear plastic bag for selling. Just perfect as a little something for friends.

We planned to buy a few packets on the way back, since we didn't want to carry it while still on the walk. Unfortunately, it rained very heavily on the way back. We were so messy at that time that we couldn't find them and bring them home.

The rain by then, was getting increasingly difficult for us to walk without umbrella. So, we decided to take a break at this restaurant.

Inside the restaurant is warm, dry and cozy.

The soft lighting makes the ambiance romantic t00...

Pork Knuckle (a pig's front leg) + potato dumplings, German's signature dish. Although I seldom eat pork these years, I took some bites. The meat is tender and soft, taste very good too.

Surprisingly, the dish is quite cheap, €6.7 only. It's no way we can eat such an authentical German's dish with this price in any HK's restaurant, somemore, in such an authentical Germany's restaurant setting.

Finally, we concluded that dining at a local restaurant is far more worthwhile than McDonald, in view that a normal MD's set meal is not any cheaper (€5-6).

William's choice : Potato noodle + bacon + salad. The most vegetarian dish I could find from the menu. I heard that Germans are carvivals, that it's very difficult to find any dish without a trace of meat in it.

The potato noodle is very delicious too, cost only €7.5

The above 2 dishes came in a very big portion, we all ate till very full. Since it was raining very heavily outside, we had to laze in the restaurant till the rain stopped.

But we couldn't walk any longer because the rain was getting bigger again.

The rain was so big that we got to take a shelter in front of building. It was totally hopeless, couldn't walk to any where, unless we were ready to get ourselves all wet. We have waited there for 10 minutes, until husband figured out there is a tower to walk up from this building.

We climbed up the tower, hoping to get to see the town from high, only found that it had to be closed due to bad weather. Anyway, the lady keeper is kind enough to let us stayed there for a while.

30 minutes later, finally the rain get smaller. We then continued our walk to a church, where husband said it's famous for the possession of Jesus Christ's blood strain. However, only when we reached there, then we got to know the church was closed for maintenance. Sigh...

Looking at the dark sky, we knew the downpour could happen at anytime. We didn't know where else to go....Just when we planned to walk back to the car park, we spotted a museum accidentally. After paying €4 for 2 adult's ticket (children are free for admission), we went inside quickly.

Mayor Nusch Memorial Room. Ex-Mayor Nusch is said to have saved the town from destruction by drinking almost a gallon of wine. Tilly's troops had besieged Rottenburg in 1631 and captured the town after 3 days.
The court martial of count Tzerkias Tilly decided to pillage and destroy the town. As a last resort one of the town councillors was urged by Tilly to empty the pitcher given to him as a cup of welcome in one draught. The pitcher contained almost one gallon of wine. Ex-Mayor Nusch had successfully emptied it and so saved the town.

The alchemical workshop of Dr. Libavius (approx. 1550 - 1616).

The wealthy and noble family.

The underground dungeon, not a pleasant environment at all. In fact, I feel very spooky down there.

The visitors are allowed to go inside one of the prisoner's ward, and experience the torture sensation of losing all sorts of stimulation. Gosh, facing the cold-dark walls like this one, it's only easy for one to go mentally break down.

The rain stopped when we walked back to the place we took a shelter just now. The tower that was closed is located at its top.

The air is especially fresh after the rain.

Grapes or berries?

Yes, I think they were grapes...

As a medieval town, I think Rothenburg has made its peace with tourism and modernism. The town is a delightful place to visit, for its combination of the medieval ambiance and the people that operate the town. Its buildings are well kept, its stores are clean and orderly and the service in its restaurants is prompt but unrushed. Its shopkeepers and restaurateurs, take the effort to make Rothenburg an enchanting place and a worthwhile destination.
When we get old later, we would like to stay in this old town for a night or two to soak up with all that Rothenburg can offer.


Fionne Chong said...

I like their building's individual style very much. How many days u guys spent at Germany? I have a friend who love to read your blog and asked how come she never see you carrying your camera, we wonder how you could manage all these nice pictures, you must have a great set of camera :)

jessylee said...

We only stayed 3 days in German.

Thanks for you and your friend's compliment. Those photos were taken with my Canon SLR 400D, not really a professional set. I was thinking to upgrade it one day lo...

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