Buy Buy Buy

Trip Start Aug 01, 2005
Trip End Nov 22, 2005

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Flag of Germany  ,
Friday, October 7, 2005

Buy Buy Buy

In the morning sun, Rothenburg was even better than the night before. We walked on top of the city walls, getting a good look at both the city and the surrounding valley. Actually what Fee was looking so intently at was all the shops that were opening as she was about to launch into a shopping frenzy. Rothenburg sucks you in with its beauty and then takes all your cash. There are lots of cool shops, which sell various hand made goods. They are really well crafted and look good but are expensive. And Fee was determined to buy them all. I explained to her the hassles of lugging fragile goods around, the deplorable exchange rate between the Aussie peso and the Euro, the fact that they are geared towards Japanese tourists and how the tour nightwatchman from the night before should lend us some money but she was lost in that little land that so many females get swept away into. I was turned into packhorse as I became laden with bag after bag (at least my wallet was getting lighter) and just when I thought it was all over, Fee found the Christmas store. The Christmas store was massive and contained thousands and thousands of different hand made decorations, it was so big I would have got lost in there had it not been for the trail of Fees drool that I followed.

Actually I am making the whole experience seem quite negative. We had a lot of fun looking in the specialty stores- the craftsmanship in some pieces was quite exquisite and we did buy some good pieces. Yes they were expensive and yes I need Arnold Schwarzenegger to help me carry our excess luggage but it was a fun morning. We finished our spending spree by buying some of the local delicacy known as sneeballen (snowballs). These are deep fried balls of dough filled with various fillings such as nougat or chocolate or apple. There are quite a few sneeballen shops in Rothenburg and all have their specialties. They are sickly sweet but after a hectic morning of shopping they go down well.

With our car now overloaded with bags (I think the back bumper bar was dragging along the road) we were leaving the Romantic Road (and sadly Bavaria) and heading to Baden Baden, a spa town in southwestern Germany, on the edge of the Black Forest. My confidence on the autobahn was now high and it was only every other car that was passing me. My speed was up to around 180kph which at least didn't make me the slowest. In fact at one stage I even overtook a police car. Imagine driving past a police car doing 180kph. Fee told me off but this was the autobahn and there were no rules. It was anarchy. And I was on a high from the sneeballen. We made good time to Baden Baden but every hotel and guesthouse we tried was fully booked. (That's the problem with spontaneity- you have the freedom to go anywhere but no reservations.) Undeterred we consulted our Lonely Planet and chose to go to Freudenstadt, a town sixty six kilometres away on the scenic Black Forest Highway.

Lizzie obviously didn't agree with our plans because she decided to malfunction. We entered our new destination and drove on, following her instructions. After twenty minutes she had led us back to where we started. "Hmm, something wrong here," we thought, "lets try again". So off we drove hoping for Lizzie to rectify her error but again she led us around in a circle to the same spot. So we had to turn her off and navigate ourselves. At least this came with the bonus of turning off Herr and Frau Interruptus. However we had new problems to contend with.

Germans love road works. That's the only explanation I can think of for so many road works to be going on. Today was an absolute joke. There was just one continual stretch of road works happening. As we were driving through the Black Forest it was a narrow road, so the road works would reduce it to just one lane. This meant, traffic in one direction would stop for five minutes to let cars coming in the opposite direction pass. So we would drive for a few minutes and then stop for five. Drive for a few. Stop for five. Our sixty six kilometre journey took two and a half hours. I was not happy. Fee had a headache. Lizzie was silent. But at least fifty million Germans have jobs in road construction. And I will grant that it was a very scenic drive twisting and turning (but mainly stopping and propping) through the Black Forest

There has been one thing that has been keeping us amused as we drive along. I warn you it is immature but it brings light relief. In German the word for exit is Ausfahrt. And to wish someone a good journey you say Gutefahrt. So there are lots of signs along the autobahn with the word fahrt in them. Well when you are driving you need to follow directions and instructions. So if there is a sign wishing you a gutefahrt, you need to obey them. And so we did. Immature yes. But funny also.

Freudenstadt is on the eastern edge of the Black Forest and its main claim to fame is that it has the largest market square in Germany. We found a hotel on the edge of the square with a nice view out over it. It was dinnertime so we went out to grab something to eat. The city was bereft of life. There was not a soul to be seen. We walked around for half an hour in a vain attempt to find life but all the cafes and restaurants were closed and apart from the blowing tumbleweed there was no sign of life in the city. It was supposed to have a population of 25,000 plus a lot of tourists but they must have all been in hiding. Despondent we went back to our hotel for dinner and had an early night. Tonight was an off night for us. When you travel for so long, you are bound to go to some places that you just don't like and want to leave. When you actually think about going home. I had a touch of that in Freudenstadt, I really didn't like the place and wanted to leave. We were going to stay two nights in Baden Baden (or Freudenstadt when we decided to head there) but I was already packing and ready to go. I bet Baden Baden was going off.
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