Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2014 Germany Trip - Rothenburg ob der Tauber Part 1

Location: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:


Indecision plagued me when I was planning my trip to Rothenburg. From my accommodation location, it requires 3 transits and close to 3 hours to reach the German town, and it sounded rather inconvenient to travel to a location without any landmark. I tossed a coin in the air and it was only to help provide an excuse to a decision already made. The gamble paid off however, and I had no regrets for spending the time and effort to reach there. Pages of novel and a few beautiful vistas became my company on the journey, warding off boredom and anticipation. The last leg of the trip was particularly mesmerizing, so much so that I decided to dedicate a post to it (read more of the last leg here).

Street view

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To the interested parties, here is my 1 day itinerary in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Click into each link to visit the dedicated post to the place of interest.

Morning: 

Noon: 
  • head to Marktplatz and watch the clockwork figures above the clock which comes out every hour (<1 hour) 
  • climb the tower of Rathaus and take in the beautiful panorama (1 hour) 
  • take a selfie at the famous Plönlein (<0.5 hour) 
  • visit the Medieval Crime Museum to observe medieval law in action (1 – 2 hours) 
  • enjoy ice-cream at Mauro and Schneeballen, a famous Rothenburg food (1 hour) 
  • day ends and head back to my point of origin
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Rothenburg is a familiar stop for travelers traversing the Romantic Road and it wasn't difficult to see why. I was enraptured with the well preserved buildings and medieval walls, immersing myself fully in the romantic atmosphere. A search online though dispensed the illusion and show the tragic truth behind its preservation.

The town was requested to house 40,000 troops by the count of Tilly, a Catholic, during the Thirty Years War in 1631. Rothenburg, being a Protestant Lutheran town, refused and was subsequently conquered. The army departed during winter, leaving the town poor and nearly empty. Tragically the Black Death in 1634 decimated more of their numbers, so the town became stagnant and stopped growing thus preserving its state from the 17th century.

Zigzag across Galgengasse

Before noon

Memorial

Although I do not remember the exact words on the plague, it was dedicated to the Jews population persecuted during the dark days of Nazi regime. Simple yet heartbreaking.

There were enough medieval walls to climb, each allowing a narrow walkway to view the town from a higher vantage point. From up there, the town looked peaceful and there was a sense of detachment when I was alone up there while tourists and locals wandered the streets below. I felt like a falcon perched high up, surveying my territory and hunting for photogenic spots.

Crisscrossed

View from Wall down Galgengasse

Rothenburg's charm is that you could wander the alleys and streets without aim and still be surprised by something around the corner. It could be a view past the valley of Tauber where it earned its name, or the colorful bloom on windowsills, or the cobbled streets lined with timber frame houses. Prominent landmarks were relatively lacking, St Jacob's Church and famed corner, Plönlein, capturing the most attention.

Red

Vibrant

Alley

Cathedral

Key to the King

Door of vines

Easter Eggs

Traffic

For me I was surprised by the lack of attention by tourists towards the medieval walls, which took an hour from my stay, an hour which I gladly gave to wander the abandoned corridors in search of hidden gems.

I was not a landmark hunter, preferring to wander off the beaten path, and in Rothenburg I was rewarded with a magnificent view over the Tauber valley where the town shared its name. Nothing is more gratifying than to find a treasured moment like this, where a vista could win a thousand words.

Read more in Part 2.









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