After visiting the BMW Museum and Welt yesterday, we headed to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a medieval town located in the State of Bavaria along the Tauber River. It is a walled town dating back to 1200. Matt told me Rothenburg ob der Tauber was spared from destruction during WWII due to its’ historical significance. The name of the city means “red fortress above the Tauber”.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is filled with half timber buildings, winding cobblestone lanes, flower boxes, beautiful signs, a large square, fountains, churches and hundreds of shops. Visiting Rothenburg is like stepping back In time, not only due to the setting and architecture, but also because it is so relaxing and peaceful – especially after all of the tour buses leave.
When we arrived at the Hotel Markstrum, the owner was waiting for us on the front step. We were running about 3-4 hours late and she was worried that something had happened to us. She said she could relax now that we had arrived. What a welcoming reception! We were overdue because of a complete closure of 3 lanes of the A8 motorway. Half way between Munich and Stuttgart all of the traffic was routed off of the highway and detoured through country roads for a few miles before returning to the A8. We heard that eventually the traffic was at a stand still back to Munich. It was one of the worst traffic jams Matt and I had ever seen.
Located next to the Markus Tower, Hotel Markstrum is over 500 years old and has been in the Berger family for four generations. It is beautiful hotel with original architecture and furnished with German antiques. Each room is individually decorated with a separate theme – from simple to elegant. Ours was more toward the elegant side with a large sitting area and balcony overlooking a courtyard. After settling into our room we had dinner in the hotel dining room – a traditional German meal of beef in a cream sauce with pickles, spatzel, and a salad with sauerkraut. We arrived feeling pretty stressed, but soon felt relaxed and even decided to spend an extra day there. At this point we had already driven over 2400 kilometers and we were ready for a break.
The wall around the town is intact, with guard towers, steep staircases, and a well worn path that provides a great place for views of the colorful tile rooftops, family homes and church steeples. Rothenburg is still a traditional community with homes, family shops and children playing in the streets. The farther you walk away from the center of town, the more you see the everyday life of the people who call the walled town home.
Sunday was the one full day we had in Rothenburg and many of the shops were closed, but the window shopping was great! However, the Christmas shop was open, and Matt was a good sport and extremely patient while I decided on which ornaments to buy. Forget about the fact I have more than enough for a 10 foot tree – there is always room for more. We also went to a print shop/gallery where the outgoing owner offer me a glass of sherry while we looked. She tried to talk Matt into one also, but he declined. This time Matt helped pick out prints and we ended up buying four scenes of the town.
This is the walled area of the town- walkway, stairs, tower, and views of the rooftops.
The town square, details from shops, churches and the Hotel Markstrum.