Individual Days - Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

September 14, 2023

After another wonderful breakfast in Bacharach, we loaded the bus to head to Rothenburg.

Once we arrived, we checked into Room 1 at the Hotel Gerberhaus. It has a beautiful view of the courtyard and a deep bathtub!! I love that we have had super-hot water in all the hotels so far.

View from our window

We only have one day in Rothenburg to explore the town. In the Middle Ages, Rothenburg ob der Tauber was the second largest city in Germany, but now it is one of the oldest, most historic medieval towns on the romantic road.

From our hotel, we headed to the south entrance of town and walked on the ramparts (the walls surrounding the town). The city was protected from invaders by the walls.

South Gate
Hegereiter's House
Entering the wall
Beginning of ramparts by South Gate
Amphitheater
Mark walking the wall
View of Castle Gate
Old Forge
Siebers Tower and Ploenlein
Siebers Tower
Roeder Arch & Mark’s Tower with stork nest
City Hall Tower
Ratstrinkstube
City Hall

Rothenburg on der Tauber has been an inspiration for several movies – Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Pinocchio, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Gregorovitch’s wand making shop).

St. Jakob's Church & Altarpiece

St. James’ (St. Jakob’s) Church contains exquisite, detailed woodcarving. The Holy Blood altarpiece was carved in 1500-1505 by the Würzburg woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider. Above the Last Supper scene, two angels are holding a cross. In the center of the cross is an oval class which is said to contain the blood of Christ. This is the relic the church was known for.

Another important relic is the High Altar also known as the Twelve Apostles Altar in the east choir. It was completed in 1466 by Friedrich Herlin.

High Altar
Holy Blood Altarpiece
Holy Blood Altarpiece

Christmas Shop

Käthe Wohlfahrt owns several Christmas shops and a Christmas Museum in Rothenburg.

Medieval Crime & Punishment Museum

This museum has an extensive collection of medieval torture devices, shame masks, and trial documentation. Most of the witch trial exhibits were closed. It was interesting to find out that the Iron Maiden is more of a myth than fact. The one on display was a later reproduction, not from medieval times. There is no evidence that the Iron Maiden was used. It is believed it was meant to inspire fear and encourage people to make right choices.

Iron Maiden
Shame Masks

A little more time to walk around town before dinner.

Castle Gardens

Our stroll through town led us to the castle gate and gardens.

Records state that an earthquake destroyed the castle in 1356. The stones were then used to build the city walls. However, locals claim that since the stones were needed to build and they didn’t want to keep up the required castle for visiting royalty, they tore the castle down and blamed the earthquake that had occurred some distance from town. There was no other damage from the earthquake to surrounding areas so you can be the judge of what really happened.

The gate and gardens remain. Cars cannot enter through this gate, so it is a nice area to walk around and get a view of Rothenburg from the outside of the wall.

Zur Höll

We had reservations at Zur Höll – the hell. We were seated at a private table tucked away next to the cellar.

Claus, our server, told us about the daily specials. We started with the seasonal appetizer- Zwiebelkuchen and Federweisser. Zwiebelkuchen is an “onion cake”. It is very good. Federweisser is a young wine that is only available for 4-6 weeks each fall. The wine hasn’t finished fermenting at this point. It is a sweet, lemonade-like drink. The two both tasted good, but together, there are so many complex flavors. Yummy!!

For the main course, Mark had sausage covered with a mushroom sauce and salad. I had the pot roast. 5 stars to this very popular restaurant!!

Zwiebelkuchen and Federweisser

Night Watchman's Tour

We met up with the rest of our group in the town square for the Night Watchman’s tour. The guide told funny, entertaining stories about the town’s history.

One example is the story of General Tilly and Mayor Nusch. After the Thirty Years’ War, the city was conquered by the troops of General Tilly. It is said Tilly decided all should be killed and the city burned, but Mayor Nusch offered him wine in a large glass, about 3.5 liters. A bet was made that the town would be freed if Mayor Nusch finished the wine in one sitting. However, if he failed, he would be put to death. The mayor finished the wine and saved the town. Each hour when the clock strikes, two figures appear – one General Tilly who slowly raises a gun, and the other is Mayor Nusch who slowly raises his jug of wine. However, another possible story is that General Tilly advanced on Rothenburg and was met by Mayor Nusch who proposed a deal – complete surrender with no fighting or bloodshed. I like the wine-drinking story best.

General Tilly and Mayor Nusch

We walked 8.2 miles today.

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