Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, Germany

In the Middle Ages, when Berlin and Munich were just wide spots in the road, Rothenburg was Germany’s second-largest city, with a whopping population of 6,000. Today it is Germany's most exciting medieval town, enjoying tremendous popularity with tourists without losing its charm. Between each cobble stone, there are a thousand years of history packed in. 

Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Rothenburg on the river Tauber) was an Imperial city in 1274 to 1803. After the siege in 1631 during the Thirty Years' War, the city was captured and some buildings and a section of the wall was destroyed. A portion of it was then destroyed again during World War II. After nearly a quarter of the city was destroyed in World War II, most buildings have been faithfully reconstructed. From 1950 the city has become one of the highlights on the "Romantic Road", the first holiday route in Germany, which includes other beautiful and romantic cities.

On Sunday we headed down to Rothenburg, it is a 2 hour drive from the Graf area. Although we knew we could easily do this trip in a day, we decided to spend the night because we wanted to check out the Night Watchman Tour. I booked an room at Gasthaus Linde, it's located right outside of the old city wall, it included parking, breakfast, pet-friendly and WiFi. 

After checking into our hotel, we headed off into the city to check our the Christmas Market. Ever since we got to Germany, Rothenburg has been on my list of places to see, but at the time everywhere else seemed more important. I wanted to save this town for Christmas time, since it literally is Christmas all year round in Rothenburg. I am so glad we waited, this place did not disappoint. 

The only complaint I would have about it, is that there are always so many people! No matter what time of day or even what season. Rothenburg is just one of those places every one has to see. It is loaded with tourists from all over the world!

Drew and I really enjoyed the Rothenburg Christmas Market, Rylie even seemed to enjoy it. It isn't very big, but luckily a lot of shops are open (even on Sunday's) so you are still able to check things out.

Since the Christmas Market wasn't very big, we decided to try to find the famous tower that is on every map or picture when you do a google search on the town. But the sun was setting quickly, and crowds of people were pouring through the city. On our way down to the tower, we stopped off at one of the stores to check out some souvenirs. I've recently expressed interest in a Christmas Village, and of course Christmas Markets are the best place for them. We stopped off at the first store we found with them in the window.

 I was staring at the different houses and buildings for a while because by the time we went back out the sun had set. Luckily the next day I was able to snap a great picture with no people in it!

We ended up walking back to the store after snapping some pictures. The owner of the store was very nice, she was very helpful. They even let Rylie come in and Rylie loved all the attention they gave her.
By the time we finished up at the souvenir store, it was almost time for our reservation at Zur Holl. Our meal was amazing. If you ever get the chance, make sure to check it out.

After our amazing dinner at Zur Holl, we headed off to the Rathaus to the meeting point of The Night Watchman Tour.

The Night Watchman tour is an unforgettable way to learn the city’s history. The Night Watchman himself is very entertaining, he makes the history come alive. You can imagine how difficult it was to live in medieval times....with buckets of waste being thrown out the window, into the dirt street. Full of laughs, the hour zips right by. It is something fun for all ages.

The next day we woke up and instead of heading home, we decided to explore the city. There is so much to do in this little town, one could easily spend a whole weekend there! We climbed the steps of the tower and walked along the city wall.

The Night Watchman highly suggested we do this exact thing; get lost in the city. He told us that after the War, Rothenburg was financially drained, and asked the world for money, people from all over the world would would send money and purchase a piece of the wall. On our walk around the perimeter we saw names from all over the world, Germany, U.S.A, China, Taiwan, Japan (Rothenburg has a lot of Asian tourist!)

Even though our trip was a quick one, I felt like we did a lot in the day that we were there. I know a lot of people leave Rothenburg for a day trip, we took the suggestion from Rick Steve's and stayed the night and I'm glad we did. You could probably spend a whole weekend there and still find many things to do!