History & Traditions

Part 5 – Euro Scandi Odyssey – Rothenburg Travelogue

Day 5 A Munching we go… To Munich via Enchanting Rothenburg

Sunny and up to 9 degrees… sauna conditions in the front of the tour bus…

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 Rothenburg

Today’s highlight started with a pleasant drive along the Romantic road’s Autobahn to Rothenburg, the enchanted walled medieval city in South- Eastern Germany . Thankfully, this city was untouched during the war, and a Xmas market is found here from the first weekend of Advent onwards, a.k.a. four weekends before December 24.

The atmosphere in the markets and city is magical, enchanting, and quite wonderful, even without any snow….

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Foodwise: I was not impressed with the famous “snowballs”…. A baked piece of bland and tightly woven, hard crusty pastry strips with a tiny sprinkle of icing only the top. What was needed was some way for the sugar or salt even to stick to the whole of this traditional gastronomic disaster, which are about 4 inches in diameter, and about as full of flavour as a sweet biscuit without sugar…..needless to say, I threw it away…. Now if it had been dipped in chocolate maybe, it would have had potential, but the inner layers would still be completely devoid of flavour anyway. But the Mulled wine (Gluhwein) is good, very good!   You will find both snowballs, gluhwein and other sausage delicacies in the main square, where you can witness the Glockenspiel display on the hour at the main clock. A variety of stalls selling overpriced Xmas decorations proliferate.

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Wander the narrow cobble stone streets and you will find all sorts of shops with knick-knacks, collectibles, and things that ladies like to buy and browse, hidden on every corner. An old style wooden trivet carved with an edelweiss which caught my attention. Waiting patiently in line to be served for over 20 minutes, I started panicking that I would be Europe 2011second batch 148late back to the bus, and miss the departure, so politely requested “ Bitte” in German and offered the attendant the correct money and was happy to take the item without wrapping…. As the attendant was hell bent on putting sixteen layers of sticky tape on each purchase for each PERSON in the queue. Perhaps they had seen one too many American tourists pushing in, as she flatly refused to accept my purchase and money, held in my open hand. “NO MADAM” was all she Said. I dropped the trivet back on the counter, pocketed my money to my wallet and left the store. She just lost a purchase and a customer…. And I did make it back to the bus on time… finding a shortcut through the square, I saved another 10-15 minutes. My encounter with the obsessive shop assistance was quickly forgottten as I discovered I then had time to scale the walls for a aerial look at the town.
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Rothenburg’s walls themselves are quite incredible… medieval history staring at you in the face. Unlike historic locations back home, you ARE allowed to touch and feel these walls, and climb the u shaped steps, so worn down with the treading of thousands of Rothenburg feet. One can imagine feeling like a Rothenburg citizen defending the city with bow and arrow through the narrow slits in the city walls. They are intact for quite a way and have the covered walkway on the entrance side of the city. A horse and cart ride is also possible at least when the Xmas markets are on.

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There is not one but (2) KATHY WOHLFART ‘s Christams decoration outlets here and the attendants remind adults and children “NO touching”blah blah blah at frequent intervals which detracts, from the pleasant shopping experience and the jolly Xmas spirit, but the range of products is truly mind boggling. The store will ship purchases home, for an additional fee, if you are travelling and can’t carry fragile decorations around with you.

Tourist tip: Window shopping is my best recommendation.

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Step into the middle ages. Look at the detail on the corner of the building! Marvellous.

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Gorgeous, romantic road architecture in Rothenburg’s streets. I would have liked to come back and stay within these walls one day in the future, in order to really soak up the atmosphere, but the abrupt German Fraulein did put me off that a little. I hope all the residents weren’t that obsessive with gift wrap!

And on down the autobahn to Munich: Europe 2011second batch 181

The drive to Munich was largely uneventful, although I can always find something interesting out the window. The brief sight on the outskirts of the ginormous BMW (Bavarian Motor works) factory had some male passengers hyper excited. Whilst some rather nice architecture like the Olympic stadium, remains in my memory, for the mind-numbingly callous act of killing 11members of the Israeli Olympic team and one west German police officer by PLO’s Black September group, way back in 1972.  It was such a tragedy, and in this location, which was once the stronghold of the National Socialists!!! Still very interesting to see.

Olympic stadium 1980
Olympic stadium 1980

Along the way the Insight guide gave us an abridged history lesson of the history of the Nazi party, which was given life in this area of Germany. Indeed, we even passed by Landsberg Prison, where Adolf Hitler was imprisoned in the 1920’s for inciting an uprising. It was here he wrote the infamous”mystruggle” or “Mein Kampf”.Not only was Munich, the centre for the National Socialists,and we passed the road to the German concentration camp Dachau thankfully not visiting that, on this tour. For Trivia nights note that the Second Reich dated until 1870 (unification of Germany), Second Reich with Otto Von Bismarck till 1912 and Hitler was supposed to commence the Third Reich…Bavaria, apparently is considered in some quarters, still to be a country within Germany. Bavarians are different and consider themselves to be Bavarians first and Germans second.The Wittenbach family were the Bavarian royalty and controlled the state of Bayern for many years, starting the October fest, which was a Wedding feast for the Wiitenbachs where the entire population was invited.I was puzzled by the meaning of this sign… it was frustrating having something like this to ponder about in light of history.

I was a bit puzzled by this street sign in Munich:

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We arrived on time to our Hotel in Munich, which was located near to yet another Xmas market and the English garden. In 2010, they took 6 hours to make the same journey arriving well after dinnertime at around 8.30 pm due to heavy traffic and snow. We all wanted snow, but were kind of glad we had an easy run to hotel :
Hilton Munich Park hotel Am Tucherpark 7, Munich

Rooms: Basic, clean, and a nice aspect over the English Garden.  Internet is expensive and must be used in the evening as it does not carry over to the next day. Spa and Beauty Salon had a nice special: 15 minute massage for 15 Euros. A nice way to iron out any knots and tender spots in one’s neck and back.

Breakfast: Absolutely Fabulous. Everything one could think of and more. Quark, pancakes, breads, eggs done every way thinkable, pretzels, fish, eels, and more more more.Top notch!

As I snuggled down under the covers that night: I pondered about the meaning of that street sign!

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3 thoughts on “Part 5 – Euro Scandi Odyssey – Rothenburg Travelogue”

  1. The German Xmas markets are such a treat! Our favourite is Aachen, not just for the market, but beacuse it is such a beautiful city.
    Most of the Xmas markets have KATHY WOHLFART shops, which invariably is impossible to leave empty handed

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  2. Yes they are a lot of fun, and I reallly like the atmosphere there. Festive, and jovial, even if I don’t understand the language. Really feels Christmassy. Some markets are better than others, and I went to plenty, however, I have not been to Aachen. Maybe I shall include that on my intinerary next time. Thanks for commenting.

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