Thursday, December 17, 2015

Return to the past or…

The medieval town of Rothenburg.

I can’t remember the last time that I simply needed to have my luggage in the hall by a certain time, then could leisurely enjoy another wonderful German buffet breakfast before heading to the bus and the drive to the next destination: probably about 30 years ago and in fact have also done so (in spite of all the travel) less than a hand’s finger’s worth of times).

Two hours under gray skies: my karma, luck or whatever as far as weather goes could not hold although we had had only sun for longer than I can remember this “winter”, brought us to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (also labeled as Rothenburg o.d. T…. hmmm). This medieva
l town was not bombed during any of the wars and thus remains one of the very few to still have maintained the look and feel of those times.
Outside the city walls

inside the city walls

typical "barn"

the Nighwatchman's pub

One of many flower and greenery displays

This is what one does with old wine bottles!

Typical buildings
The original buildings like this have beams that slightly bulge, the newer are flat: in the medieval times as insulation straw was plastered into the walls, but it broke down and had to be replaced - also due to the wood and straw, fire was an ever-present hazard

is mentioned in Rick Steve's guide... and knows all of the USA states and most of the roads!

The main square in Rothenburg

The invader

the mayor who drank the city's way to not being invaded
 Local folklore has it that when Rothenburg was surrounded by an invading army, the city fathers went to try and obtain a non-agression pact. It was agreed that if a citizen could down a gallon of wine in one go, the military would not invade: all the good drinkers turned it down (afraid of the pressure although they apparently did it on a regular basis) leaving the poor mayor to uphold city honor. He managed, they remained uninvaded.

 Our guide said that they were the local speciality and totally uneatable... everyone had to try, everyone had to agree, but made for an interesting experience.

Santa's dog

One of the seemingly hundreds of Golden Hart restaurants, hotels, etc.

welcome color on a few of the houses

Kathy's delivery truck

A watch tower and house overlooking the Tauber

The Tauber river or what I could find of it!
One of the City gates - coming from the Hofgarten
It was misting as I walked all the way out to the end of the gardens trying to find the Tauber River... it was about 3 meters of visible river at the end, but no mind, there was a plus: free toilets with no lines as I came back. They were even heated with infrared lamps!
St.Jakobskirche is a pilgrimage stop
It is part of the Saint Jaques de Compestella pilgrimage route: the scallop shells of this size are only found in Compestella so bringing one back was "proof" of the journey.

The Holy Blood altar

Detail of the "Holy Blood" altar
The church itself was started in 1311 and is a gothic church. One of its more famous items is the above altar - a masterpiece of Tilman Riemenschneider - who realised it from 1499 through 1505. A relic of the Holy Blood is in a crystal rock capsule in the cross (1270).

In the main part of the church however is another, just as impressive, wooden altar - by artists unknown. (below)

The rear of the free-standing organ

the front of the free standing organ
Funnily enough in the same upper gallery is something just as interesting to me: a free standing organ: new, it was inaugurated in 1968.

Main nave

the Christmas Boat
This carving is from Maconde wood (in the description they speak of ebony) from Tanzania. It marks the link in between this Lutheran church in Rothenburg and the deaconry in Tanzania - near Kilimanjaro.

Rain on the bus window.
Lest anyone think that in addition to all the sights, smells, sounds and food I am having too much fun, let it be known that the weather has turned - this was the two-hour drive in between Rothenburg and Nürnberg and our boat.

Our Capitan

The dinner starter: filo pastry with a leek/feta filling
 The starter was followed by an onion soup - I forgot to take a picture - then there was a choice in between three main courses: I took the river trout and was mightley impressed.

River trout main

German chocolate cake with a scoop of ice cream
Obviously meals are not going to be a sore spot on this trip - everything was hot or cold as it should be, the wine was complimentary, the service attentive. I can highly recommend the Concerto boat as it's being run by Grand Circle Tours!

About the only negative is the way-too-slow wifi, but hey since we are supposed to be on vacation, I really shouldn't expect to be able to drag along my normal life - right?

It does mean though that the blogs may have to be stockpiled and sent out once I'm in a hotel or back home - on the other hand since you all don't know what date it is anyone, probably doesn't matter. So far I am only one day off.