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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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  • 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

  • Day6

    To Rothenburg ob der Tauber

    June 3, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Not a long ride today but quite a hill on the way to Rothenburg on the Tauber River. Trusty navigator found a great spot for morning tea on a terrace looking down on our route. We'd done the hill by then and could see the beautiful run down the other side. There's a wind farm off in the distance here but mostly we see huge solar panels. Most farm building seem to be covered in panels, perhaps that says something about the climate, lots of sun, no wind. That's certainly been our experience. We arrived in Rothenburg to find the town taken over by a big festival, it's a long weekend here. Luckily we were staying about 5K out of town in a small village so hoping for a quiet night, although there is a rooster in the yard next door. Of course Jan can't resist a festival so she rode back into town to join in the fun while I had a quiet afternoon. An easy 42 K today with an extra 10 for JanRead more

  • Day20

    Rothenburg ob der Tauber

    May 14, 2015 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We hopped on a bus and drove about a half hour along an idyllic route to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a medieval town that still has a large number of its old buildings intact. Mary, our guide, is originally from Oregon, so English was no problem for her. In fact she is extremely articulate and clear. I suspect that she has had some graduate education. When we got off the bus we were met with a complete medieval wall, including its turrets and towers. We went on a walking tour of the streets, shops and warehouses and ended the morning with a lunch of bratwurst, kraut, and potatoes. Local high school bands were in the town plaza offering their music. There is a band competition in town now. We also enjoyed a delicious locally produced dry white wine. Glenda and I skipped dessert so that we could get an early start photographing the Jakobskirche. We stopped in at the local Catholic Church and took a few shots. Then we found the Jakobskirche. Since the Protestant Reformation this church has been Lutheran. In some ways it is more beautiful than the cathedral at Cologne, which has so many beautiful sights that they detract from one another. The walls of this church are simple and white so that all of one's attention is focused on the extravagantly lovely stained glass. One of the specialties here is a beer that has an undertone of bacon. Once in medieval times all of the town's barley was stored in a certain warehouse. It caught fire and much of the harvest was destroyed. However, some of the barley that was not completely burned was toasted, and brewers decided to try to use it. The result was a smoky beer, "Rauschbeer," which is delicious. Now the brewers of Rothenburg are deliberately toasted for making rauschbeer. Walking to the old town walls gave us other opportunities to photograph the city. We got some pastry and coffee as we waited by the town fountain for our group to gather for the walk back to the bus.Read more

  • Day8

    Rothenburg ob der Tauber

    July 17 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Von Gunzenhausen gelangt man mit einmaligem Umsteigen in eineinhalb Stunden nach Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Bevor wir hier morgen unsere Radtour nach Regensburg starten, spazieren wir heute stundenlang durch die schöne Altstadt, lassen uns in einem schönen Straßencafé Milchkaffee und Kuchen schmecken, bummeln durch kleine Lädchen, laufen in langen überdachten Wehrgängen auf der Stadtmauer entlang und ein paar Stunden später kehren wir in einem Biergarten für ein zünftiges Abendessen ein.Read more

  • Day2

    Rothenburg ob der Tauber

    July 23, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Rothenburg o.d.T. esches uh schöns, historischs Städtli. Mer si dur die verschiedene Gässli u Strössli u hei die schöne alte Hüüser bestuunt. Üse Hunger hei mr ire chliine Bäckerei gstillt unhei Schneecgugle u Tauberchugle gschlemmeret😋 Uf de Stadtmuus si mr de zrögg zum Büsli u hei üs mit de Witerfahrt beschäftiget.Read more

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