Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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  • Day6

    Driving the Autobahn

    September 20, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Today we had our first real experience of driving on the legendary Autobahn. For those who don't know, this is the highway system in Germany that has no speed limit. And let me tell you, it lives up to the expectations.

    We started off in Munich and picked up our rental car. We had pre booked a Mercedes Benz C class (or something similar apparently) but they ended up giving us an Audi Q3 SUV. I was probably a little disappointed at the start since I had my mind set on something already, but it worked out fine and the vehicle definitely really gave 'er.

    We quickly got out of Munich and got onto the highway. The speed limit signs slowly built up until finally we got to 120. We didn't really know if this was an actual posted speed limit or the open section that we had heard of, so I kept it to 120 to 130. After a short bit, we got onto a secondary highway where the limit ranged from 50 to 70 to 100 depending if we were going through any little towns. There were also numerous passing lanes where I was able to test out the vehicles acceleration and get a feel for it.

    After the short mix up where my navigator missed a turnoff, we began the approach to Neuschwanstein where it became very curvy and tight. The general feel of speed limit is that everyone knows that within little towns it is around 50. And then in between (which can be short stretches) it goes up to 100.

    After the castle tour we headed back out onto the highway towards Rothenburg. However since we had barely eaten we needed to stop for some food. Our first idea was to find a small little restaurant in the town below the castle (Fussen). When we were driving through, it looked like a beautiful little town, but I didn't want to deal with (or pay for) parking. Luckily, we saw a sign for......McDonald's! And we both instantly were sold. It's always interesting to see how the menu differs in other countries. Saw a couple of things I hadn't seen for a while (Big and Tasty, McRib) and a couple new things (Happy Fries, McFreezy, and spring rolls).

    While we were stopped I was looking at the map on my phone and suggested to Brooke that we take a short detour to see some of the country side. Shortly after leaving we got off of the main highway and headed towards a town called Wald. The countryside was absolutely beautiful and it was lovely to see all of the little German towns. The fields mostly consisted of corn crops and grazing meadows for livestock. The roads we were driving on were incredibly twisty and fairly tight turns. Apparently the speed limit was likely 100 here, but I was barely able to keep it up at 80. I was definitely holding up traffic at times.

    After the detour we took another secondary highway and then got onto the A7 highway. This was where it really opened up and we had entered on the no speed limit Autobahn. Some general thoughts / experiences
    -It is a double lane highway for the most part. I would say that the average is about 130 to 140. The semi trucks go about 100 in the right lane. And I'm sure I got passed by cars in the 180 to 200 speed range on the left.
    -You don't really shoulder check while driving, you more so check a football field behind you to make sure that no one is coming up on you really fast
    -You definitely need to only use the left lane for when passing, get back over after clearing the car
    -Passing a long string of semis I would stay in the left the entire way and not dart back and forth in between them
    -The hardest part was judging when to move into the left lane when approaching a semi. There were times when I missed an opportunity to pass a semi and then got stuck behind them, had to slow way down, and then took a while for an opportunity to merge back in
    -Initially I was averaging 130 to 140 comfortably. Later on I was between 140 to 150 at a comfortable rate
    -Did not even think of turning on cruise control once because my speed was constantly changing
    -The road system really makes it seem that it isn't too crazy. The lanes are wide and the road curves with very wide turns. Brooke even agreed that it was not as crazy as she had expected and that at times the QE2 back home is crazier at times, probably because people are dumber.
    -There was one time where a car was coming up behind me in the distance and I noticed him flashing his beams really fast telling me to get over. I wasn't sure what to do since I was passing a couple of semis, then another car darted out behind me in front of the approaching car. Gave me some time to get over to the right lane.
    -The most wildest part was shortly after one of the other main highways merged onto the A7. This brought the traffic level up much higher. Then they had a passing lane form on a double lane highway (which I have never seen before). I'm pretty sure it opened up to four lanes and it was quite crazy for a short bit of time.
    -You really need to drive with 100% alertness the entire time. I was constantly checking all my mirrors for what was coming behind me, watching my speed, and looking what was coming up ahead. I was quite drained by the end of it.
    -On the portions where I had an open and straight section of highway, I decided to see what the Audi could do. I believe I got 'er up to just before 170 before backing off.

    Finally we got off the highway onto the approach to Rothenburg. We missed the turn off into the walled part of the city and found our way in another way. The streets are tight cobblestone roads and it was like driving inside of a castle. Definitely got lost trying to find our hotel, and then it magically appeared. Glad to hear that the hotel will park our car for us, because I was not wanting to have to deal with that.

    Went and found some German food and a well deserved beer to finish off the day.

    Tyler and Brooke
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  • Day7

    Rothenburg ob der Tauber

    September 21, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    We woke up this morning in Rothenburg and took our time getting ready for the day. Had a excellent breakfast at the hotel consisting of some standard European fare, made to order eggs, and delightful waffles. I actually held off on completely stuffing myself for reasons to come very shortly.

    Stepping outside into the cobblestone streets, we found ourselves in a foggy crisp morning. We wandered off towards the main square to begin our day of exploring. There are many cute shops in the town and the first one we wandered into was a teddy bear shop, which had an impressive selection of teddy bears.

    Heading south, we saw a bakery that had the Rothenburg treat, schneeballe (snowball)! This consists of strips of pastry dough formed together into a ball. The outside is then traditionally coated with icing sugar or cinnamon/sugar (also less traditional options coated with chocolate). I had heard about these earlier and immediately got one to snack on. It was quite tasty, a little hard to bite through, and very messy at the end.

    Wandering along, we found the famous Christmas store featuring Kathy Wolfahrt ornaments. It was like walking into December! Brooke spent some time looking through the store, finding a handful of great Christmas ornaments (some for maybe our first Christmas tree?). Afterwards we meandered back to our hotel to drop them off.

    Aside - the fact that our hotel was quite central made it very effective to quickly go up to our room to drop off our bag, grab a coat, sit down for a bit. Loved it!

    While we were waiting in the hotel lobby and consulting the map, we overheard the hotel staff talking to another guest. She was asking where to find the best schneeballen, and the staff was very clear to not go to Diller since they are too much of a chain and the balls are like rocks. Looking down at my bag...we totally went to Diller. Darn! Guess we'll have to sample some more.

    Next we walked to the east side of the town and climbed up the steps to the town wall. You can actually walk along the entire town wall and take in the village that way. We found it very enjoyable! You can also see some of the homes/yards of the locals from up there. Walked all the way to the southern end and headed north back up the main road. We found ourselves in the most famous (and most popular) spot to take a picture in Rothenburg, the Plonlein/Siebers tower. It wasn't too hard to get some good pictures from the south side, but on the other side it was absolutely flooded with tourists, especially asians! They were everywhere and we chose to try and come back another time.

    We stopped quickly at the hotel to ask for a lunch recommendation since we wanted something that was not on the main road. He suggested a simple place called Spätzle Schwob, which was just around the corner. The sun was just starting to come out for the first time on our trip, so we chose to sit outside and loved it! Brooke had Roulade and I had schnitzel, both with Spätzle of course!

    When we were finishing up lunch, I asked the server where the best schneeballe in town would be. She gave us the recommendation of a little bakery called Beisbart which was over by the church. We found our way over there and I selected a hazelnut coated schneeballe. Both of us agreed that it was way better than the first one we had. The dough was soft yet still crunchy, however it still got really messy especially with the hazelnut outside.

    Walking north, we found our way actually out of the city walls. There was a path that we followed and later noticed that it was a trail that leads all around the outside of the city walls. We enjoyed the view of the valley (so lush with green forest all around) and also randomly played on a children's playground. Found our way back into the city and walked through Burggarten (garden area on the west side of the city), which had excellent views overlooking the cliff and valley that the town is built on.

    Heading back into the center of the town, we decided to go back to the main photo-op place (Plonlein/Siebers tower) and see if we could get a photo together. It was still really busy with other tourists and the sun was at a weird angle, casting shadows everywhere and almost directly into the camera. We were not successful (as in I gave up early because I didn't want to deal with crowds) and thought to come back later when the sun was behind the buildings. So instead we shopped around a bit and Brooke found a bottle of wine for a gift.

    Stopped off at the hotel to drop off the bottle of wine and take a moment to sit down. This turned into a short nap (even I closed my eyes for a bit, Brooke was out like a light). I also did some research about what we hadn't seen in Rothenburg yet. Doing so, I noticed that a lot of people commented that it is best to get the photo-op spot if you go really early in the morning before the tour buses show up. We agreed that that sounded like a good idea and decided to try tomorrow morning before we leave.

    After our rest we walked over to the main square to look at the town hall. We noticed that you could climb up to the top of the bell tower (for a small fee) and it looked like a great view. We started the climb up to the top and it was a moderate wide staircase at the start. Towards the end it became very tight and steep. The very last hurdle was a really steep ladder and a small hole you had to clamber through to reach the top. Once we were up there the view was incredible! We could see all edges of the town and all the German red hatched roof tops. It was totally worth the climb and admission! Since it was not overly crowded we ended up taking a lot of time to enjoy the view and take pictures.

    Once back down on street level we walked towards a portion of the town we hadn't seen yet. This included stopping to take pictures in front of a different tower since the sun was hitting it perfectly. We climbed back up onto the city wall and walked towards the north end of town. Our plan was to look for a place to eat in that area. This became quite an ordeal because we were both in an indecisive mood and couldn't agree on anything. We had been going hard all day and really needed to eat! Ended up walking pretty much all the way across town and eventually landed on a place called Roter Hahn. We shared a pork with spätzle and garlic cream sauce and some Nuremberg sausages with sauerkraut and potato pancakes, as well as a side of red cabbage and one beer. It was way too much food! Oops. I really had to step up to the plate and pack it in since our hotel did not have a mini fridge.

    After eating so much, another quick nap was in order (or more so, time to digest). Back to the hotel we went to lie down before our evening plans. We were wanting to go on the Night Watchmen tour which we had heard about and knew it was highly rated.

    The Night Watchmen tour runs every night at 8pm and starts from the town square where everyone meets. The tour guide is the last remaining Night Watchman of Rothenburg and he approached the crowd in full garb carrying his lantern and weapon. The tour consisted of the Watchman telling us stories of the history of Rothenburg, why the Night Watchmen existed, the dark Middle Ages, the prosperity of Rothenburg in the Renaissance and Reformation period, how the town fell into despair, and how the town was mostly spared during the 2nd world war. All throughout this he guided us through a few parts of Rothenburg. There were probably close to 200 people on the tour, but we were able to hear him quite well. It was very well done and we were quite pleased we went on the tour, highly recommend it!

    Afterwards we finished off the night at the Landwehr Bräu restaurant for a drink of the local beer, our new favourite. (we also realized on Brooke's Fitbit app that the day before at Neuschwanstein we were 2 flights of stairs off from getting the medal for 100 flights of stairs in a day, darn!)

    Tyler & Brooke
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  • Day12

    Rothenburg ob der Tauber ohne Touries

    November 1 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    Damit wir nicht die gesamte Strecke von Thüringen nach Freiburg an einem Tag zurücklegen müssen, legen wir noch einen Halt in Rothenburg ob der Tauber ein. Da hier aufgrund der Corona-Pandemie die Scharen von Touristen fehlen, ist es eine super Gelegenheit, diesen Touri-Hotspot mal ohne Menschenmassen zu besichtigen.Read more

  • Day3

    Rothenburg ob der Tauber

    September 7 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Rothenburg ob derTauber ist eine deutsche Stadt im Norden Bayerns, die für ihre mittelalterliche Architektur bekannt ist. Entlang der kopfsteingepflasterten Straßen der Altstadt befinden sich Fachwerkhäuser. Die Stadtmauern umfassen viele erhaltene Torhäuser und Türme sowie einen überdachten Gang oberhalb der Mauer. In der St. Jakobskirche gibt es ein aufwendig gestaltetes, spätgotisches Altarbild vom Holzschnitzer Tilman Riemenschneider. Das mittelalterliche Rathaus hat einen Turm mit Panoramablick.

    Wir standen auf dem Fußweg und suchten bei Booking com nach der nächsten Übernachtung.
    Prompt sprach uns ein Mann mit Blick auf unsere Nummernschilder an und fragte was für „OHV“ steht.
    Ja wir suchen eine Unterkunft. Es war der Inhaber eines kleinen Hotels um die Ecke.
    Die Zimmer waren in Ordnung.
    Der Preis stimmte.
    Die Altstadt ist zu Fuß in 10 Minuten zu erreichen.
    Hier werden wir übernachten.
    Auf dem Marktplatz aßen und tranken wir etwas.
    Am Abend nahmen wir noch an einer Führung des Nachtwächters durch den Ort teil.
    Das war einfach toll.
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  • Day1

    Rothenburg o. d. Tauber

    September 30, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Wir erreichen bei überraschend gutem Wetter unsere Unterkunft in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Über den Weinstieg laufen wir in die wunderschöne Altstadt. Ein Stop im Weihnachtsdorf von Käthe Wohlfahrt darf natürlich nicht fehlen. Unglaublich wie viele verschiedene Weihnachtsartikel es hier gibt (von Weihnachtskugeln als Burger bis zu schönen Engeln ist alles dabei) und wie viele Nationen hier stöbern. Nach einem Spaziergang über die historische Stadtmauer lassen wir es bei einem zünftigen Abendessen beim Reichsküchenmeister gut gehen.Read more

  • Day55

    Rothenburg - Old Town

    October 20, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    The town was picture perfect! Impossible not to take gazillions of photos of beautiful houses.

    The beautiful signs hanging from the shops were a drawcard for me too!

    But the highlight (Craig, my little humbug, will groan at this) was a walk through the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store (kaethe-wohlfahrt.com). It was gigantic!!! There was every sort of Christmas 'thing' you could ever think to buy, and then some. In fact, we came across things we had never seen again, including schwibbogen (a sort of balsawood vertical Christmas scene), and Christmas Pyramids, which are a German folk tradition. They are wooden tiered items with wooden figurines which have a space for candle around the outside. The warmth created by the candle then cause a rotor fan at the top to spin around, which in turn spins the main carousels housing the figurines.

    And of course, there needs to be a movie reference! This village was used for filming scenes from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts I and II!
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  • Day32

    Afternoon in Rothenburg

    April 26, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    An optional afternoon trip today was to the historic town of Rothenburg. It is completely surrounded by the old walls and turrets built back in 12th Century. You can walk along the ramparts and admire the views of the town from there. We also saw plaques on the walls of the ramparts where families and businesses "bought" sections to help raise money to restore and keep the wall intact.

    It felt like you were transported back in time as there was no signs of modern life other than the odd cable TV antennae (and many had painted these to blend in). From the view on the ramparts into people's gardens with clothes hanging out etc it was obvious it was a normal residential area despite looking like a fairytale. Parts of the new movie version of Beauty and the Beast were filmed here.

    Another couple of things it is known for is the large Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop and museum. It also houses the headquarters for Birkenstock sandals. I'm so glad I went as it was such a charming place to visit.
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Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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