Trip Start Sep 13, 2007
Trip End Nov 06, 2007

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Rothenberg, Germany
This morning we hopped the train to Rothenberg, and as we waited, confused at the unmanned itty bitty train station.  Eventually we ran into another confused American couple, also following Rick Steve's book, in search of Rothenberg!  What a great conversation starter!  There are so many people loving Rick! After asking many engineers on many different trains we finally found the right one.  The ride was long on a little milk train and had many connections.  We arrived in Frankfurt, and after a wait we finally connected to the last train that would take us to Rothenberg. Finally we made it to Germany's most well preserved walled medieval town. Arriving there in midday we declined the expensive hostels and bread and breakfasts offered by the locals, and decided to stay until the last train went out.  With only a couple hours in town we locked up our backpacks and hit the cobblestone. Although tired, we instantly lit up with excitement, at the picture perfect houses and stores filled with ornaments, reindeer and Santa Clauses year round!  They had larger than life sized teddy bears and nutcrackers that you'd only expect to see in a land of make believe. Rothenberg is famous for its Christmas spirit, which seems an odd choice since the town is known for its ancient wall and Crime and Punishment Museum!  After doing a little wishing and window shopping, we found the beginning of our walking tour around the great wall. The wall was fascinating and we walked several lengths sticking our heads through minutemen holes to see the lush German forest, and taking pictures by cannons long since retired. 
The end of our walking tour led us to the Crime and Punishment Museum!  Yikes!
Rothenberg's Crime and Punishment Museum walks you through 1000 years of law and torture.  As if times weren't rough enough, the people spent a lot of time pointing fingers and torturing each other.  Witches were burned or drowned, gossips were humiliated with masks, accused witches were torture in spiked chairs, and finger and leg screws were used to encourage offenders to admit the "truth."  The accused would undergo incredibly painful deaths encouraged by the peoples believe that God would save the innocent. Crimes such as baking loafs of bread too small or playing music badly were enough reason to punish or torture someone.  If the medieval times were dark....this is probably why!  Women who cheated or were immoral were locked in the iron maiden with huge spikes protruding into them. And finally for murders, who where punished by being ran over with giant wagon wheels until their arms and legs broke and then were laced through it!  For every crime there was a punishment and it usually was torture and not jail! As we walked out our way out of the little city, my heart sunk a little.  I wish we had time to stay!  I really wanted to do the Watchmen walk, however I'm sure there will be a next time. We didn't stay long but absolutely loved our quick jaunt through this medieval town. 
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