Medieval Walled City

Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
1
15
30
Trip End Aug 31, 2010


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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 17, 2010 Tuesday

I didn't sleep well as we ate so late last night. I woke up about 4:00 and remembered that I had not plugged the netbook in to charge.  So I got up and did that.  It was warm in our room so I tried to open a window but it was raining too hard and coming in the window.  I did get a little more sleep before getting up at 8:15.  We had planned to leave the hotel at 9:00 but it was 9:30.  Derek had to back the car out of the parking lot through the little tunnel.  He managed it in one try.

Derek drove to start today and Erin navigated with a computer program on her netbook.  Our first stop today was Ochsenbach, the home village of Larry’s great grandfather.  It took us an hour to get there.  We took the autoban for a short distance and then we got off on secondary roads.  The scenery was rolling at first and then got hillier.  As it got hillier the hillsides became covered with grapevines.  To get to Ochsenbach we had to go over a very high forested hill on twisting roads and then down into the next valley.  The valley floors were flat fields with hay and corn fields.  Ochsenbach is a very picturesque village of mostly half-timbered houses.  Derek and Erin took lots of pictures.  We were the only ones there as Ochsenbach is not in any tourist guides.  The Rathaus (city hall) is only open 4 hours a week as a post office.  The only businesses we saw in town were a bank, a restaurant and a real estate broker.  We walked from one end of the town to the other and took pictures of the signs at both ends.   There was a paved walking path between Ochsenbach and the next village, Spielberg.  We got a picture of the church and the sculpture of oxen across from the Rathaus (rot-house = city hall).  As soon as we got back to the car it started to rain.

Derek called his friend, Steve (Steffan), who lives in Rudersberg to get his address so we could stop there for lunch.  Erin put the address into her program and we started for Rudersberg.  We had a closed road and a detour but still made it right to his door in a little over an hour.  He has a very nice house just outside the city.  He has been on vacation and goes back to work tomorrow.  Steve was an exchange student at Westerville South and Derek met him through another friend.  Steve and his wife, Martina and five year old son, Marco, took us to a place up in the hills around Rudersberg to a restaurant that is run by and benefits a community of mentally handicapped people.  The spot was great, the food was terrific, and we had a great visit, even though only Steve spoke English well enough to carry on a conversation.  But there was a great playground outside for Marco.  We all had the same dinner called naturparkteller (teller means plate) that came with a beer or wine.  It was a pork steak broiled with tomato and mozzarella cheese on top, two small hash-browned potatoes and a great salad.  I couldn’t eat all of mine.  I’m going to have to fast for the month of September.

After we took pictures, Erin decided she was ready to start driving.  She was tired of navigating.  She had hesitated to drive in any big cities because the car is a stick and she has driven an automatic for 15 years.  She drove a stick for five years in high school and college.  She did fine with the driving but both Derek and Erin looked at the map wrong and we lost 30-40 minutes figuring out what happened and retracing our steps.  So we made the decision to skip Schwabisch Hall for today and to make that a day trip from Rothenburg (Rote-en-burg).  We had another short detour but found ourselves in Rothenburg by about 4:30.  Since and Erin and Derek had been here last year, they knew exactly where to go to park for our hotel, the Gasthof Goldener Greifen. Our rooms are great, even though you have to duck to get through the doors.  Erin and I have the corner room and Larry and Derek have the room next to us.  We are both in the front right over the main street.  Our room is like a small apartment with a table and chairs, sofa etc.  There is a gold griffin hanging in front of the hotel and we are just steps from the Marktplatz (main square). 

We walked down to the most photographed spot in Europe where the street splits and one goes up and one goes down  and each goes through an arched opening in a tower.  There is a house built right at the split and it is not even close to having square sides.  It is very picturesque.  We went to the Schneeballen store and each got one for our supper.  We didn’t want another big meal.  A schneeball is a pastry first made in Rothenburg.  It is about the size of a softball and all different varieties.  We bought four to go and got a fifth one free.  Then we went to the Marktplatz and they had beer but I didn’t have anything.  The high today was 60 and there was a wind blowing, so it was a little chilly sitting there.  I had the hood up on my sweatshirt and my hands in my pockets.  We stayed until 8:00 when the Night Watchman came to the square and the Glockenspiel did its thing, but without music.  It told the story of a man who saved Rothenburg by drinking 3 1/4 liters of wine in one draught.  The Night Watchman leads a tour of the city after that.  We will do that another night.  Then we went back to our rooms and ate our schneeballen.  They were very good but a little doughy and messy to eat.

By this time we were all getting tired.  I wrote my blog while Erin took a shower and then we went to bed.

If you want to read more stories and see lots more pictures of our trip visit Derek’s and/or Erin’s blogs at:

 http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/bigdhaas/2/tpod.html

http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/zolina/2/tpod.html
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