Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 6 - Rothenburg ob der Tauber

In the morning, we packed up the car and headed south on the Romantic Road to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. You have to specify "ob der Tauber," ("above the Tauber River") because there's another town in a completely different part of Germany called just plain Rothenburg. So, I'll abbreviate it as Rothenburg o.d.T. like the Germans do.

Anyway, Rothenburg o.d.T. is a huge tourist attraction because of its preserved medieval Altstadt (old part of town). It still has the old wall around the city, complete with watchtowers. You can climb up into the battlements and walk all the way around it if you want.

We bought a city guide and followed the suggested walking tour that it provided. This allowed us to see all the major attractions at our own pace and without the annoyance of a tour group. It was really interesting to step back in time and see a town as it might have looked hundreds of years ago. Another point of interest for me was that my Granddad's unit helped to capture this town in World War 2. Apparently the American commander in charge of the attack knew about the city's historical significance, so he did not allow the use of heavy artillery when taking the city, so there was only a little bombing damage.

Among the highlights of Rothenburg were walking in the beautiful gardens that overlook the Tauber River and seeing little villages with grazing sheep down in the valley. It was also interesting to walk along the old wall and see evidence of ancient battles. There was a place in one tower where they used to pour out hot oil onto the attackers, and you could still see char marks on the stone. We also went to the Medieval Justice Museum, which is the largest such museum in Germany. Did you know that in medieval Germany, if you skipped church on Sunday, you had to wear an iron rosary around your neck as punishment? Well, you did!

We stayed at the Goldenes Lamm (Golden Lamb) hotel and it had an excellent restaurant attached. The best apple strudel we ever had in Germany was consumed after dinner. Mmm.

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