Day 18: Friday, September 18, 2006
Rothenburg and Nürnberg, Germany
You Got to Love Rothenburg
started the day with another huge complementary breakfast in the
hotel. It was really foggy early in the morning but it got
real hot later in the day. Kathryn says this was a typical
German morning. When she went to Germany to teach back in
the 80's, she arrived in July and did not see her first clear
morning until Grey Cup weekend in November. It is only
about 140 km north to Nürnberg but
we decided to take a detour to the west so that we could visit
Kathryn's favourite German city: Rothenberg. On the
two-hour drive to Rothenberg, the first part was on side roads
and we seemed to see the same three things over and over again
in the fields in this part of Germany:
from our balcony of farmhouse across the road
We then got on the autobahn for the last part of the trip to
Rothenburg. The traffic was unbelievable. There were
three lanes of traffic with the right lane filled with wall to
wall trucks as far as the eye could see. The sane people
(us) drove in the middle lane and the "Stuka" dive bombers who
drove over 200 km/h flew by in the left lane. I took the
photo at left the next day. For some reason, there weren't
as many trucks on the road on a Saturday.
Trucks on the
right, Stuka drivers on the left and us in the middle
|After a couple of
hours we arrived in the medieval city of Rothenburg.
A walk around this small town on the Romantic Road is like a
journey down the centuries. Its proud town hall, lofty towers
and stout town walls, its churches and patrician houses bear
witness to its history as a powerful free imperial town. Here
history is not just dates, it is a vivid and still palpable
experience. With its elaborate half-timbered buildings and
imposing fortifications, the Rothenburg townscape is still much
as it was in the Middle Ages. Kathryn had been here a
couple of times in the past and insisted that I see this
beautiful city. It was definitely worth the detour.
found a parking space outside the walls (P5 on map below) and
walked in to the Marktplatz (Market Square) which is the city
centre. There were tables set up in the square but they
were all full. A couple from Santa Cruz, California said
they were just getting ready to leave and we could join them.
We had an excellent lunch - and a cold beer in the hot
afternoon. We stayed in the square until 3:00 pm to see
the clock which re-enacts the historic Meistertrunk
daily. The Meistertrunk (Master Draught) commemorates the event
in 1631 when the walled town was
under siege from
the Imperial forces of Count Tilly. On a lark, Count Tilly
told the city that he would spare them if anyone could drink a
tankard containing about six pints of wine in one draught. Mayor
Nusch took the challenge successfully, and the city was saved.
The clock re-enacts the event hourly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and
8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Kathryn then went to Käthe Wohlfahrt, a year-round
Christmas store which sells expensive Christmas "stuff". I
know this because Kathryn bought a lighted Christmas scene which
she had shipped back to Calgary because it was fragile and we
didn't have room for it in our luggage. She wouldn't tell
me how much she paid for it but I was home by myself a couple of
months later when it arrived in Calgary and the packing slip had
the price. That's how I know there stuff is expensive -
but it is really nice, right honey.
They do not allow photos to be taken inside but I snuck the one
at left without a flash.
Wohlfahrt Christmas store
While Kathryn was shopping I went on a walking tour of the city
by myself - Kathryn lets me do this in weak moments. I
climbed the steep steps and walked part way around the wall -
how come I always forget about my bad knees until I get to the
top? After hobbling back down, I wondered through the
narrow streets, passing by the largest church in the city, the
Church of St. Jacob (C on the map), which is impressive
not only because of the its towers, but also its interior with
two altars (one is the renowned "Holy Blood Altar")
fashioned by the famous wood carver Tilman Riemenschneider.
A unique architectural feature of the church is that it was
built over a lane.
I wandered down through the Burgtor (Castle Gate, L on map)
to the Burggarten (Castle Gardens, M on map). There is
a breathtaking view of the southern part of the city and the valley
formed by the Tauber River. I went back to find Kathryn and we
wandered about the rest of this quaint city. If you are ever
in Bavaria, we highly recommend a visit to Rothenburg.
of southern Rothenburg from the Castle Garden. The bridge
on the right is the enormous Doppelbrücke
(Double Bridge) which looks like a Roman viaduct.
We hopped back on the autobahn and drove to Nürnberg
(Nuremburg). It is a huge city and we got a little lost but
finally found our hotel. The Hotel Nestor was a very classy
place with huge rooms. Ken had to park the car about three
blocks away because Kangoo was too tall to fit in the underground
parking. Ken went down to the hotel bar and they kindly gave
him a couple of bags of ice for his knees. We went to bad
early on this night.
Click here for a slide show of Day 18 photos.