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Day 05: August 1st 1999 (Rothenburg, Germany).

Breakfast was the same as yesterday.  After breakfast we set off on the 4-hour drive to Rothenburg.  On the way we stopped at the cleanest rest stop I have ever seen.  Restrooms are charged-for in Germany.  A person collects money as you leave, usually 50 fennigs.

Although less quaint than Bacharach, Rothenburg is much better preserved and has a complete wall around it.  We were freed for the afternoon after check-in (in two hotels across the street from each other), and I found a German hot dog stand that served delicious “grillwursts.” The torture museum, in an old monk’s house, was fascinating and had too many exhibits to see in one afternoon.  The best view of the walls was from the castle garden, an idyllic area where the castle originally stood (it was destroyed in an earthquake 500 years ago).  There were lots of people, but less than I had expected because Rothenburg is THE quaint destination in this part of the world.

I climbed two towers, one on the wall and one in the center of town, to take pictures.  The town center tower was very narrow and tall – the ladder at the top would not pass portly people.  I ran into the Mazzonis at the one way traffic light on the way up.  At the top you felt on the tip of a needle, with the town sprawled below you (and a big bell right next to you!).  There was an astounding wood carving in the big church of the town.  It was 20 feet high and completely 3-dimensional.

The houses were all painted pastel colors and were split timber construction (this meant it was a timber frame design with bricks and plaster between the timbers).  No houses are allowed to be modified from their historical design.  The last thing I did that afternoon was to walk the wall.  It was an easy walk on the stone path, with a timbered overhanging roof.  However, if I were tall my head would bang into every timber.

We gathered for dinner at seven, and had sliced beef and noodles that looked like shriveled worms.  Ian brought out a birthday cake, and we sung happy birthday to Cheryl.  Cindy had brought a schneeball (snowball) which we were specifically told to avoid because they were tasteless.  I tried it and it was okay, but nothing to write home about.  After dinner, a local guide named Anita showed us around Rothenburg.  A Japanese tour was behind us for a while and was making so much noise I wished I knew how to say “shut-up!” in their language.

I actually got to bed at 10pm that night, even though Don wanted us to go to Hell (this was the name of a local bar in a very small house).  I was too tired to join him.  My room was the size of my walk-in closet at home and there was barely room to sleep.  I had to share bathroom facilities with Bill and Sue, but it wasn’t a problem.

Sleep of the dead.  I woke to the sounds of roosters crowing, and was beginning to realize all that one misses with air-conditioning and closed windows.

     

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Last updated 11/12/2005 .  Email me at bob@besttravelbarcelona.com.

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