The roads were full of workweek traffic and I stayed in the slow lane going 120KMH. The country roads weren’t much better, as I quickly learned that speed limits mean little out there either. But the towns are the jewels that are worth slowing down for. Last year on our week together, Erin and I didn’t get to experience small town Germany. But this year we can get off the beaten path and explore.
Ochsenbach is the ancestral home to our Haas family name (we think). It is from where my great great grandfather emigrated from in the 1880’s, and then settled in Marion County, Ohio
. We drove through farm fields and wineries as we approached the town, taking a wrong turn once and circling many a roundabout. And then we saw the sign for Ochsenbach pointing down one road and went around the bend and over a rise and there it was. It was the quaintest town we’ve seen in Germany, with many half timbered old buildings, empty storefronts, and a fountain with a statue of two cows over it. Cool! We found a spot to park and started exploring. There weren’t many people around, and the only places open were a bank and restaurant, with the smells of breakfast still hanging in the air. We took pictures like Japanese tourists and found snails in the grass by the sign at the edge of town. We walked to the other end and had a beautiful view of the surrounding valley and neighboring towns. Many more pictures were taken. Before leaving, I called Steve to get his address, since we seemed to have forgotten to bring it with us. We then headed over to the next town of Spielberg, where I thought maybe another Steven might be from. Maybe not, but the road looped back out to our route anyway, where we found a pull-off and a good view back to Ochsenbach. Yet more pictures were taken.
The drive to Rudersberg was interesting and we found out how useful the computer map was when we came upon a closed road halfway there. Detours aren’t bad, they are opportunities for further exploring
. We easily found Steve’s house, and after introductions we followed him down the road to a mystery lunch spot. After a speedy drive through woods and twisty, hilly roads, we came to a big railroad bridge and parked next to it. We thought we were going to a picnic at first, but Steve and his family led us across the road to an eatery called Molina, a nice, open place with lighter fare than we’d had so far in Germany. On Steve’s recommendation, all four of us had the pork steak topped with tomatoes and mozzarella, special hash browns and a generous salad. It was very good, and a glass of wine topped it off perfectly. It was great to be able to visit Steve and meet his family, if only for a few hours. Thanks Steve! Next time will be longer.
Erin decided she wanted to drive next, so we switched seats and promptly went the wrong way down the road. HA HA! I quickly got the hang of Auto Route and we soon decided to skip Schwabish Hall today and do it as a day trip from Rothenburg. After a quick detour around another closed road, and the realization that the batteries were dying on the netbook, we found the Autobahn and 27 miles later arrived in Rothenburg. It’s a good thing Erin printed out some city maps.
We drove into the old town and found the hotel parking lot, checked in, and lugged luggage. We decided to take a quick look at the major sights and got schneeballen (softball sized pastries covered in chocolate and various toppings) and beer for dinner on the cold, windy town square. I’m rooming with dad now, and he went to bed early while I finished these dang blogs.
PS: Hey Greg and Jen, please email Steve with a link to this, I forgot to transfer addresses to my new ( kind of) laptop.
Everyone was on the same page this morning and got up at 8:15, a little later than planned, for our first big travel day in the car. We ate, packed and checked out. I backed the car out of its cave, Erin got Auto Route fired up, and we quickly found our way to the Autobahn. Next stop Ochsenbach.