by Erin Elaine
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town in Bavaria that has been extremely well preserved from medieval times. It is very quaint and beautiful. I don’t think I saw a single modern building within the city walls.
Rothenburg boasts a nearly-intact city wall, countless authentic Bavarian restaurants, and several museums including a Christmas Museum and a Crime and Punishment Museum.
When Americans picture small-town Germany, or even small-town Europe, Rothenburg is what they picture. It’s so perfect it’s like a dream. At Christmastime it’s particularly magical, like the town has been transported to the North Pole to be the new Santa’s workshop. I didn’t see any elves though.
Its Christmas market is very famous, and having never been to a Christmas market before this was one of the main reasons I chose to come here for Christmas. I was lucky enough to be hosted by some locals that were able to show me around. I had a great time in Rothenburg. 🙂
At the Christmas Market! The town center was packed with stalls selling Christmas gifts, ornaments, hats, chocolate, scarves, glühwein, roasted nuts, and 12 different kinds of pork. Glühwein (pronounded “gloo-vine”) roughly translates to “glowing wine”. You know it by the name mulled wine. It’s hot wine with sugar and christmas spices. Very delicious! This sausage I’m holding had already had more than 8 inches eaten off it. I think the purpose of the bread was only to keep your hands clean. Later I also had a big thick slice of baked ham, it was soooo juicy and flavorful. It was called a “sandwich” but again, I think the only purpose of the bread was to keep your hands clean while you ate the pork. I heard a myth a long time ago that the first sandwich was invented by a king who put two pieces of bread around his meat to keep his hands clean. I would put money on that guy being a German King.
Four of us took a walk around part of the walls, which was slightly amusing since it was after dark and the wall isn’t lit at all. It was really nice to be able to see so much of the town that way, but I definitely need to come back in the summer when there is more daylight.
Above – from the Crime and Punishment Museum. It’s huge and very detailed!
This was a great rural restaurant my hosts took me to, that I never would have known about otherwise. It’s not in Rothenburg, it’s in a tiny village just outside the city, and it was full of locals when we went. They serve traditional Bavarian food, and it was very yummy. I had the venison.
I had a wonderful time in Rothenburg and I plan to return for sure. Two days just wasn’t enough time. I loved the rural, homey, community feel there. There is such a strong sense of identity. There are countless little “villages” which are no more than a cluster of 10-20 houses, no services or facilities, but the village has a name and people proudly identify themselves as being from that village. The people there aren’t just from “Germany” and they aren’t just from “Bavaria”, they’re from “Franconia”. You could go even further and say “Lower Franconia”. I really like the sense of community.
Well, that’s all from Rothenburg. I’m sorry for not writing more, but this has been my longest trip so far at 5 full days (tomorrow is 6) and if I wrote down every detail I would never get to bed. Tomorrow is Munich! Watch for a post about Füssen and the castles of King Ludwig II in a couple days.