April 22nd, 2010
Yesterday Carol took me to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, in the Bavaria region which is very close to Stuttgart. When Carol told me about this I asumed it would be like ruins, or some old sections of the wall that were still there and taken over.Though I thought this I was of course ecstatic to see such a thing, something so old and beautiful in a unique manor.
So off we went in the morning driving through the country side of Baden-Württemberg (Where Stuttgart is) and on into Bavaria (probably the most famous area of Germany). It was a nice drive, without too many stous on the Autobahn and it only took us about an hour and a half to reach the city. Now as we’re driving into the town it’s very modern and simply your typical small German town, which I was fully aware of that once the city got too large to fit in the walls it would grow out of them. Then we drive more and more onto this plateau and I see the opening/main gate into the walls, and one has to gasp in wonder at this. This town and it’s walls were started on about 1000 years ago and here most of it is in pristine condition! Not of course by its own doing but by many dedicated citizens willing and trying to preserve such rare fragments of history.
The other most amazing thing is that the town is still in fact a town! People live, shop, go to school and enjoy life in these city walls. It has not become another tourist attraction with dinky costumes and cash loving corporations, it’s a small town with it’s own flair and rules. Granted most of the town is made up of homes and shops but it still holds onto it’s old charm.
Back to the events of my day, we drove right into the city behind the walls and parked the car, and though this is an extremely popular tourist sight it was rather empty, due to chilly weather. Really the only people there were a handful of tourists and a couple of school groups. So this lack of people really made my day more special because one could walk down the small side streets and feel truly transported back in time.
Our first goal was to see the working clock in the town center at noon, but we had around 30 minutes to kill and we went to the famous Käthe Wohlfahrt to peek at the ornaments and look at the large white tree. I did not buy any ornaments but it was still fun to look and nice to know that I think every ornament in their was made in Germany. We then went to the town center, had a lovely cup of fresh pressed apple juice from a local farmer and waited for the “show”. Now Germany is pretty famous for it’s clocks as many of you probably know, but what I find more interesting are the stories behind them.
This particular clock is from a story that happened right in Ruthenburg. An invading army came wanting to take over the city and the mayor just wouldn’t stand for it so he mad a bet with the general of the army. The mayor bet that he could drink 3.5 liters of wine in one go and if he did then the army had to leave if he didn’t the town would surrender. Well the mayor won and the clock is if the mayor drinking his giant thing of wine to save the city! Oh and rumor has it the Mayor slept for three days afterward.
Well after seeing the clock we tracked down the museum of crime, which to many would be grotesque thing to see. In ways it was but it wasn’t the high school sort of haunted house torture chamber thing it was an actual museum on the subject. I do believe the museum was well done in the way it really respected the history and tragedy of crime and punishment over the ages. The displays were of the objects with a description next to it and sometimes a picture, no silly mannequin just the objects. I really appreciated this and enjoy the museum even more I also believed it was more respectful to the victims. Beyond the iron maidens, shame masks and racks, was a really great collection on manuscripts, wax seals and old books. They had pages, the paintings from, a German book of poetry dating to the13th century. Which a few years back I redid a version of one of these paintings from the book, they didn’t have my particular painting but just seeing ones done by the same artist was very cool.
After the “Kriminal Museum” we decided to walk the walls part way, giving us great views of the city and surrounding areas. It was spectacular to breath, touch, walk on and stand in the moment of walking in this old old old walls. After walking part of the wall we stumbled upon a little eatery where I had fried eggs and potatoes and then a traditional spiced hot wine, usually served at Christmas. Oh and we followed lunch with plum cake and later I bought a chocolate marzipan concoction from a pastry shop.
So the rest of the day we wandered the town, looking in shops and just taking it in, at one point we found a very cute toy shop. They had a large variety and most were made in Germany and Europe which was really nice, we picked up a few things for friends and family. We had our time of age regression therapy. Later while we walked around we heard this man with a WONDERFUL voice singing while playing the guitar and my guess is that these we’re somewhat traditional German ballads. He perched himself on this small bridge and just sang to his hearts delight! As we walked on we came into this garden and having his voice ringing out and the birds, trees and this splendid view was absolutely magical!
We soon decided to head back to Stuttgart after out fun day out and I think I was smiling the whole way home.
In other news, for those that didn’t know, I got a flight scheduled to London on Saturday as long as nothing changes with the volcano. I am having to alter and cut a lot of things out of my plans but I still feel very happy with all I’m getting to see in Germany and will see in the U.K. And Ireland.
Peace and Love,
Rebeccaimages they used to measure what was the right fish sizechastity belt…..look me on the wall!