Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Today, we strolled the streets of a Medieval town perfectly preserved in its 17th-century state.

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The Altstadt (old town) of Rothenburg is surrounded by its original wall. You’re able to walk up one of the numerous watchtowers and walk the length of the ‘catwalk.’ It was so cool to walk where guards once walked, and to look out over a Festplatz that used to be undeveloped woods teeming with enemies.

 

Naturally, a trip to Rothenburg wouldn’t be complete without exploring Plönlein–the narrow, half-timbered building on the most picturesque streetcorner in all of Bavaria. I have seen countless photos of the Plönlein, but always thought those pictures were way too good to be true. I’m a big skeptic of tourism photos because they always leave out one tiny detail–the PEOPLE. In reality, I’m usually wading through a sea of selfie sticks and trying not to photobomb everyone else’s family photo.

There was nobody there today except a few straggling tourists who took a quick selfie and scooted. Maybe we got lucky, or maybe it was the combination of rainy day + early time (10 AM) that gave us the perfect opportunity to see this place unobstructed.

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If you find yourself in Rothenburg, do not skip the Kriminalmuseum. For only €7, you can explore four floors of history on Medieval punishment and torture. Weird, gruesome, and totally awesome.

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Once you’ve made your stomach all nice and upset, you can eat a Schneeball–a mediocre-tasting ball of dough. This town has a strangely weird obsession with these and they’re displayed in the window of every Bäckerei.

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The weather cleared up nicely for a while when we visited the Burggarten. Lee spent the whole walk with his nose buried in roses.

 

Soon enough, it was raining again (thanks, Germany) so we ducked into some local shops. There is an abundance of pottery makers here, and it took some serious self control not to buy everything in sight. Same goes for cuckoo clocks.

And speaking of trying not to buy everything in sight, do NOT go to the Weihnachtsmuseum if you are a recovering Christmas ornament-acholic. You will, I repeat, WILL, fall off the wagon. The museum is somewhat small, but has a bunch of trees decorated with various private collections of ornaments, most of them from Vienna. It was very interesting to see how modern Christmas traditions developed.

 

When we finish walking through the museum, we were forced to walk downstairs through the gigantic Christmas store. The vaulted ceilings are covered in tree branches and Christmas lights, and there is an enormous sparking white Christmas tree in the center. There is a strict no photo policy, and since I really hate when other people ignore that rule, I decided to be a law abiding citizen. Just take my word for it when I say it was truly magical (or just Google it).

Less on the magical side but more on the imposing side was St. James’ church. Its architecture was impressive, but I was particularly fascinated by the pipe organ and the stained glass windows that extended almost the entire height of the building.

 

We closed out the day by getting some coffee and gelato and sitting on the curb in the Market Square to watch an impromptu concert for a string and choir group from Australia. I love random, unplanned things. Especially when they’re free.

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