Monday, January 15, 2018

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Part six-- Ten things I learned!

Whenever I visit a new place, I like to make a list of ten things I learned to sum everything up.  We only got a few short days in Rothenburg, but I feel like I know more now than I did on Friday.  So here's a list of ten things I know now that I didn't know a week ago.

Damn right.

10.  Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a must see if you are posted/based in Germany!

Seriously... it's tragic that we never got to this town when we were here the first time.  It's also tragic that it's taken over three years this time to make it there.  It's absolutely a gorgeous town... probably one of the coolest places I've found in Germany yet.  And I am developing quite a list of "cool German towns", too.  Yes, it's a tourist destination, but if you go during the low season, you can enjoy low prices and smaller crowds.  It's also at the top of the Romantic Road, which makes it a prime spot to start a German themed road trip.  Summer vacation anyone?

9.  You didn't want to break the law during medieval times!

The folks who lived in Rothenburg were God fearing, churchgoing people and if you were immoral, they would take it out of your ass... possibly literally!  A visit to the Criminal Museum is a must if you want to know more.  It's very extensive and well done and all of the explanations include English translations.  Afterwards, you can visit the cafeteria for coffee and a Schneeball.

8.  Huge Asian tour groups like to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course... it just might help to be prepared because even in January, there were a lot of them visiting and they tend to travel in large groups.

7.  Being inside of Rothenburg's walls can make you feel like you're in a different time and place.

As we were leaving Rothenburg this morning, I remarked to Bill that once we drove out of the walled area, it was back to normal life in Germany.  There's nothing wrong with that, either, but it is a bit strange after you've been surrounded by medieval charm for a few days.  Rothenburg is a super cute town and it will make you forget what century you're in.

6.  Rothenburg is great for families and besties, as well as romantic couples.

If I had girlfriends to go on trips with, I would put Rothenburg on the list of places to see.  It's really got a lot of appeal, especially if you like shopping and eating in restaurants.  A girl could have a field day finding cute stuff to feather the 'ol nest with.  Fortunately, Bill is a good sport.  If you want to, you can take an English tour of the city.  It starts at eight o'clock every night and costs eight euros.  We didn't do it this time, but if we have a chance to go back, we will definitely take the tour and learn more about the city and its fascinating history.

5.  Rothenburg is not far away from Stuttgart.

If you really wanted to, you could simply spend a day there.  It takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to get there from the Stuttgart area, depending on traffic and what part you're coming from.  The ride is almost all on the Autobahn.  It would make a great day trip for those so inclined, although frankly I would rather spend the night, or really, the whole weekend.

4.  Anno 1499 is a great place to stay, especially if you have dogs.  

I may end up kicking myself for telling everyone about it.  I have a feeling it's going to be booked a lot in the coming weeks.  I am adding it to my list of places I can go when I have to get out of Stuttgart.

3.  You can buy Scottish goods in Rothenburg.  You can also buy "Schneeballen".

I know the Germans love Scotland and so do I.  It's nice to know I don't have to go there if I need a retail fix, although I always love having a reason to go to one of my ancestral homelands.  After shopping for Scottish duds, it's fun to eat one of the locally made "Schneeballen", a ball shaped pastry known and produced in the area.

2.  There is a fantastic sushi restaurant in Rothenburg.

And if you want to eat at Louvre Japanese Restaurant, particularly during the busy months or on Friday or Saturday nights, you should make a reservation.  It's a popular place with limited seating and absolutely delicious, fresh food.  There are apparently other great restaurants we missed this time.  I will have to rectify that next time we have a chance to visit.

1.  It costs 1.200 euros to get your name on the wall of the city...  

Or so my German friend, Susanne, says...  I trust her, because she's proven time and again that she's a quick, diligent, and accurate researcher.

I wish we'd had a chance to visit "Hell"...  Yesterday was their Ruhetag, though.  Despite the devilish theme, they get great ratings.  Next time we visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber, we will make a point to stop in.  It's very close to the Criminal Museum, which you can't miss.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Part five-- Sadistic punishments and one last dinner!

We were finished with lunch at the Louvre Japanese Restaurant just around the time the Criminal Museum opened for the afternoon.  During the low season, it's only open for a few hours in the afternoon.  However, if you have any interest in crime and punishment, especially during the medieval era, I would highly recommend visiting the Criminal Museum.  It's very large and extensive.  We spent over an hour in there and we didn't read everything.  If you take your time and read all there is, you can easily spend a couple of hours looking at exhibits and learning about the ways people of a bygone era dealt with those who committed offenses.

Below are some pictures I took of some of the more interesting exhibits.  Suffice to say, you had to stay on a straight and narrow path to avoid being publicly humiliated, tortured, or executed.

The outside of the museum.  It's connected to a church and we heard the organ playing as we passed it before the museum opened.

Pillories, where many people were forced to endure public shaming.

"Paddy wagons" with bars on them.

This is a spiked chair-- obviously a torture device for people who needed correction.

Throughout the museum, there were cool little exhibits that reminded me of dollhouses.  They showed how people were punished.  Another showed how kids in school were disciplined.

The two above pictures were taken in the very extensive exhibit about the original Martin Luther and the many witch hunts that took place in medieval times.

An executioner's cloak.

A drunk tank.  Men who drank too much were forced to wear this barrel, sometimes weighted down for extra punishment.

One of many masks worn by people who needed to be shamed.  This one was an especially nasty one.

The above photos depict an exhibit showing how children in school were punished.

An iron maiden.

As a musician, I got a kick out of this device, meant to shame bad musicians.

Admission to the museum is 7,50 euros per adult.  I thought it was well worth the price because it's so extensive and everything is translated into several languages.  It looked like a number of young kids were also enjoying the exhibits.  We ran into one couple who were telling their sons about the double "violins" people wore that basically yoked two people together who couldn't get along.  They were forced to wear the device until they stopped fighting.

Another exhibit explained how couples who fought could be shamed.  If a man let his wife beat him, the roof of his house could be torn off.  He and his wife would be publicly punished and they were forced to give their neighbors a tankard of wine.  Premarital sex was also a no no and violators were publicly shamed.  They weren't allowed to marry in a church.  Instead, they had to marry in an inn.  Later, the husband would go to jail while the wife spent some time in a pillory.

After the Criminal Museum, we went back to Anno 1499 and enjoyed a little CNN and a brief rest.  Bill got some love from our dogs, who were enjoying getting to vacation with us.

Zane isn't much of a kisser, but when he does kiss you, he does it on the nose.

We decided to have dinner in town, even though I was kind of full from lunch.  Originally, we were going to try an Italian place we saw on Saturday.  I kind of wish we'd done that, since it was rated #1 on Trip Advisor.  Instead, we went to a German restaurant at Hotel Reichskuechenmeister, a place about a block from the Marktplatz.  On the way there, I took more pictures...

More Schneeballen and other baked goodies.

This time of year is nice, if only because it's dead on a Sunday night and I can get some good night pictures.

Stop right here!  Your dream job (at a bank) awaits!

We decided to eat at the Hotel Reichskuechenmeister because it smelled good.  When we walked inside, I could see the place was pretty full, which is always a good sign.  A waiter opened a small dining room on the side for us.  Although I was tempted by a pasta dish with scallops and shrimps, I decided to have fried carp.  Bill went with goulash made with venison.

Substantial salad I shared with Bill.  It came with my fish.

Bill listens intently as I flap my gums at him.  He's a good sport.  I had to use the ladies room, which involved taking the elevator to where the guest rooms are.  I guess their public restrooms are being renovated or something because they had what looked like a tiny single hotel room set up as a WC.  They placed a Schrank so that you couldn't access the room, but I could see it was very small and had a traditional Bavarian twin sized bed in it.

I enjoyed the presentation of my fried carp.  It was position to look like it was jumping out of water.  It tasted good, too... very fresh.  However, there were a lot of bones.

Bill liked his hearty goulash, which included cranberry sauce and spatzle, as well as the dreaded mushrooms I hate.  He had a dark beer with his dinner while I had a glass of locally produced Sylvaner, a crisp white Riesling.

Outside by the front door...  I think we spent about fifty euros on dinner.  It was a pleasant experience.  Next time, we will have to visit the Italian place where we were originally headed.

And a few more window displays...

My last post in this series will be my traditional "what I learned" post...  Stay tuned!

Part six.

Rothenburg ob den Tauber: Part four-- Sushi, Sunday services, and sunshine!

Sunday morning, we woke up feeling great.  Because we took it easy Saturday night, we were well-rested.  My little dietary indiscretion at Roter Hahn successfully ran its course (literally) and as a bonus, we had sunshine!  One of Bill's co-workers told him about a great sushi restaurant called Louvre, located in Rothenburg.  It's been ages since we last had sushi and even longer since we got to enjoy it while sitting in a restaurant.  I knew I didn't want anything heavy for lunch, so Louvre seemed like the perfect choice for Sunday's midday meal.

A sunny picture of the brewery.

But first, we took another stroll around the city and visited areas we missed on Saturday.  The weather was delightful.  I'm told it was grey and cloudy in Stuttgart on Sunday, so I am equally grateful we got such pleasant weather.  Rothenburg is pretty when it's cloudy, but it's even more gorgeous when the sun lights up all the gold hardware on the signs and rooftops.  It looks like a showplace.  Below are some pictures I took on our lengthy walk around town.

Although Rothenburg is a tourist friendly city, like everywhere else in Germany, things close on Sundays... at least during the low season.  I did notice Der Schottenladen had Sunday hours posted on its Web site, but they were not open yesterday.  Still, one can window shop all day...

This tower is close to Louvre, a lovely Japanese restaurant...

This is Louvre.  It wasn't quite ready to open when I took this photo.  Japanese cuisine is served, but there's art on the walls.  I guess that's why they call it Louvre!

I'm so glad the sun came out so I could get these pictures of the beautiful countryside.  It reminded me a little of Asheville, NC.

At about 11:30am, we arrived back at Louvre.  We were the first customers of the day.  We quickly learned that it's a good idea to make a reservation if you want to eat at this place.  Not only is it popular, it's also very small.  The dining area only accommodates a small group of people at a time.  We noticed there were a couple of reserved tables, though fortunately, there were a few tables left open.

An adorably tiny Japanese lady took our order, bowing and smiling the whole time and very courteously correcting us when we murdered the Japanese pronunciations of the dishes we ordered.  Although we had sushi, we noticed they had several options available that weren't sushi.  One of the groups who came in after us were having ramen, soup, and other cooked delights.  We were very happy to eat sushi, though.  It was fresh and delicious and very inexpensive!

Bill checks out the menu.  It was hard to make a decision!

I liked Bill's "Kin" dish better than my "Dai" dish...  His sushi came with fried shrimp!

That salmon sashimi was so fresh... and the tuna and avocado rolls were a bit spicy.  I really enjoyed this lunch, even if I did overload on protein a bit.  

I liked the tables at the restaurant.  I didn't get a picture of our booth, but it was set in cement blocks like the one pictured above.

This was the painting hanging by our table.  There is artwork all over the dining room to go with the beautifully prepared sushi rolls.

We enjoyed Japanese beer, too.  Nice change of pace!

All told, I think our lunch came to about twenty-five euros.  It was probably the cheapest of the meals we had in Rothenburg and definitely the most enjoyable!  Next time we visit Rothenburg, we will have to go back to Louvre.

Just beyond the arches is a lovely park.

We also visited St. Jakob's Church, a Lutheran place of worship.  Their services were to start at 2:30pm, so we were able to tour the church.  We paid five euros to go in, but were allowed to take pictures and take an informative leaflet that was printed in several languages.  There was also a guide there who was telling visitors about the church, but he was speaking German.

Oh, how I love the sound of a pipe organ...  My mom was a church organist for over fifty years and every time I hear an organ, I think of her.  She is still living, but stopped playing organ about ten years ago.

Pull my finger...  obviously, a lot of people have judging by how shiny it is.

After lunch, we decided to check out the Criminal Museum.  More on that in the next part.