Kathryn and Ken's European Vacation
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Day 18: Nurnberg
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Day 14: Lahr
Day 15: Lucerne
Day 16: Munich
Day 17: Munich
Day 18: Nurnberg
Day 19: Dresden
Day 20: Berlin
Day 21: Berlin




Nestor Hotel


Started foggy then got hot with a high of 29C

Day 18: Friday, September 18, 2006     Rothenburg and Nrnberg, Germany

You Got to Love Rothenburg

We 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 Nrnberg 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:

Photo taken from our balcony of farmhouse across the road

First, the "blumen" fields - huge flower fields that were on the honour system, you cut whatever flowers you wanted and left your money in a slot in a box.
Secondly were the huge fields of tall sunflowers.  Lastly, there were cornfields everywhere and the corn was high in September.

Kathryn in the blumen Ken in the sunflowers Ken in the cornfields

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.

We 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

Rothenburg Marktplatz

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 Kthe 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.

Inside Kthe 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.

Rothenburg map

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.

Panoramic View of southern Rothenburg from the Castle Garden.  The bridge on the right is the enormous Doppelbrcke (Double Bridge) which looks like a Roman viaduct.

We hopped back on the autobahn and drove to Nrnberg (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.

Day 19

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