Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, is best known as one of the towns on the Romantic Road – 220 miles of highway linking picturesque towns and castles between Würzburg and Füssen in southern Germany. The road’s location is loosely based on an old Roman trade route that connected central and southern Germany. The name Rothenburg ob der Tauber means the Red fortress above the Tauber in German – the town is located on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River.

Rothenburg is a medieval town that draws thousands of tourists a year. The town square and area surrounding it are the center of activity for day visitors and tour groups. It’s filled with tour leaders waving flags to direct people to locations for photos. But if you wander through side streets and alleys the crowds quickly disappear. You begin to feel like you’re stepping back in time to a world of intricately carved wooden doors, overflowing flower boxes, and timber houses. If you spend the night, shops close at 6:00 and by 7:00 the streets are nearly deserted. Pubs and restaurants are open late for dinner or a beer, and if you’re there now, to watch World Cup soccer.

One of my favorite places in Rothenburg is the walkway on top of the original wall surrounding the old town. It dates back to the 11th century. Steep steps at the town gates take you up to the covered walkway. There you can walk on stones worn smooth over hundreds of years. You look out over the red tile rooftops, church steeples and backyards with beautiful gardens or signs of everyday life – laundry drying and kid’s toys. Along the way there are small openings in the wall that were used for crossbows during medieval times, and provide a glimpse of the town beyond. You’ll also find a kitties sleeping in the sun, and pigeons roosting in shade.It’s quiet and peaceful. The one thing you don’t find are many tourists.