The Romantic Road

Trip Start Apr 18, 2011
1
9
14
Trip End May 03, 2011

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It was wet when we stepped out of the hotel this morning, heading to the train station to look for breakfast before taking the Romantic Road (http://www.romanticroadgermany.com/) drive to visit the medieval city - Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

We had breakfast at Le Crobag where we ordered the affordable meal which comprised of a crossaint & hot drinks. After that we crossed the road to meet at Karstadt Department Store where our coach was waiting for us. The tour guide, Ana, was a very lively lady, and the driver was Rainer. We set off against a gloomy backdrop to visit the first highlight our our tour - Harburg Castle. 

Ana told us the difference between Schloss & Burg. It turned out that Schloss meant 'Palace" but Burg referred to "Castle" as they could be turned into fortresses in times of war while Schloss were usually pretty-looking buildings.

Ana also told us the Romantic Road was actually not romantic at all, and served as a 'connecting point' of things along the Romantic period - picturesque villages, farmhouses, Baroque palaces, and walled cities. 

Harburg Castle (http://www.romanticroadgermany.com/harburg.php) is now a private property and it used to be an impenetrable fortress. The only opening at the back of the castle was the only place where enemies could attack it, and this small window reveals a very scenic greenery. The wooden railings within this castle were all 1000 years old and I was rather worried if they could take our weight when everyone of us climbed up the steps to explore the rooms within the castle.

Michael Jackson actually tried to buy Harburg Castle but was unsuccessful. He called it "the castle of my dreams". 

After Harburg Castle, we carried on with a long bus ride to Rothenburg ob de Tauber (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothenburg_ob_der_Tauber), where we stopped at P1 parking lot, and walked towards the little town despite the drizzle... which became a passing shower.

We were in time to catch the clock strike one and the 'reenactment of the Meistertrunk story' came to life. In 1631, the Catholic army took the Protestant town and the mayor of the town actually accepted the challenge of drinking the entire three-liter tankard of wine in one gulp to spare the town of any damages. We gave up climbing the Town Hall tower as Ana told us its a rather difficult affair - having to do some acrobatics, and as its rainy, what if we slip and fell?? Actually, the 'performance' was rather lame... and what we could see was the slow movements of the mayor gulping the beer and then the window closed... This wasn't as spectacular as the Glockenspiel at the Neueus Rathaus in Munich city.

After the disappointing show, we turned our direction to the recommended restaurant by our guide, Ana, as well as Rick Steves & Mook Austria Guidebook, to the Baumeister Haus for lunch! 

The interior of the restaurant was brilliant - the setting was of a traditional German inn, furniture mainly of wood, and filled with old hunting relics. There were mural paintings on the walls, and according to Ana, this restaurant has been in operations since the 14th century! WOW! 

We ordered the pork knuckle and sausages, plus 2 glasses of wine. The wine actually helped to keep us warm in a cold rainy day like this! The group of tourists behind us can't help but stare and discussed about our pork knuckle... one of the gentlemen can't stand his curiosity and came to talk to us, asking us what's that we ordered and if it tasted good! It turned out that they were from Australia, and came as a group, and the restaurant didn't arrange for them to have pork knuckle for lunch. Well! You HAVE to at least eat pork knuckle & wurst ONCE when you are in Germany! OR else, you haven't been to Germany at all!! Not forgetting their beers!

We didn't waste much time after our scrumptious lunch and went to Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village & Museum (http://www.wohlfahrt.com/index.php?article_id=1&clang=1) to buy some souvenirs. The woodcraft was really cute and exquisite and its Christmas all year round since there were Christmas trees with all the decorations! We got a cookie mould & a wooden puppet for Yen & godson from the shop as well.

We also stopped by Teddyland and I bought a couple of postcards, pins & keychain for myself :P

Since we do not have a lot of time left, we quickly headed towards St. Jacob's Church to look at the "glorious 500-year-old, 35-foot-high Altar of the Holy Blood" carved by Tilman Riemenschneider, the Michelangelo of German woodcarvers. The admission to the church was EUR2, but its in the form of a nice postcard. It was believed that the rock crystal inside the Holy Blood Altar contained a drop of Christ's blood. We also noticed some very nice wooden bookmarks where proceeds acted as donations towards the Church. I bought 3 for EUR6, and we bought one with a lizard for our friend whose nickname was closely associated with this reptile.

If only we had a little bit more time at Rothenburg, we could have visited the Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum (Medieval Crime Museum), which showcases instruments of punishment in the past! Oh well... maybe some other time....

We stopped by a confectionery, and bought the traditional sweets from Rothenburg - snowballs - to try. We bought the flavoured snow balls - champagne and chocolate - and these cost EUR5.60! Not cheap man!

Along the drive back, I was perpetually dozing off until I woke up and saw a rainbow!!! It's such a happy sight after the gloomy weather!

By the time we reached Munich city, it was already 7:10pm. We decided to spend our last night's dinner at Augustiner-Grossgastatatte (Neuhauser Strasse 27). The difference between Augustiner-Grossgastatte & Hofbrauhaus was that they do not have live music, and they have a restaurant that served 'proper food' for dinner. 

We ordered a salad, a mushroom + noodles & a meatball dish, and 2 types of beers. I loved the Pilsner which I ordered because its light and smooth : )

The meal came up to be EUR26.80.

We had to wake up at 2am the next morning and set off at 2:30am for the train station to catch our train to the Rhine Valley.

I guess we should be able to sleep very well tonight since we had beer before bedtime.  

 

 
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