There was no way I was going to sit home for 3 months without traveling just because I would have to do it alone. I looked into quite a few options but in the end decided to pick someplace I could easily drive to and someplace with plenty of “kid friendly” activities. I figured the best way to keep my sanity was to keep Brock happy which means fewer castles and museums and more playgrounds and places to run around. With a tip from a friend I landed on Nuremberg, but as I looked at the map I realized not too far from there was Rothenburg ob der Tauber and simply had to add a day to the trip :).
I couldn’t have planned a better trip! I absolutely loved Rothenburg and am so glad we had a day there! The old part of town is surrounded by the original medieval walls with 4 access gates that date to the 1300’s. It is not uncommon to see city walls like this but it is pretty rare for the wall to be standing in its entirety and safe enough for visitors to climb the steps and walk the length of the wall.
We walked almost the whole wall and took in the views of the old town. I know I am in Germany and not Nottingham, but all I could think of was Robin Hood (Disney’s fox version) hopping along the rooftop with the wolf archers firing arrows at him. And, naturally, at each of the four gates I envisioned an iron fence sliding down.
The sun was out and the city was glowing. It was a bit windy, so much so that Brock would get blown around as he ran through the playground, but he didn’t let that stop him :).
The old town is exactly what you would picture when you think of old Germany. Half-timbered buildings, winding, cobbled streets lined with small private shops. And best of all a local to this town only dessert! We walked past a bakery that had cookie balls on display in the window and Brock threw down my hand and pressed himself on the window. It was adorable. I am truly shocked he didn’t leave a drool trail. So in we went and bought our first Snowball. Made exclusively in Rothenburg, a snowball is basically ribbons of a butter cookie crumpled up in a ball about the size of my fist, dusted with sugar. This bakery had over 20 variations on the snowball, but we stuck with the original. A bit hard to eat, but a very delicious, unique cookie.
It must have been a holiday, or maybe the town takes Monday off, but a lot of the shops were closed. It was a bit disappointing because the window displays had me drooling but it is probably a good thing. In the few stores that were open I basically handed my wallet to the shop keep and said “here, take it all”.
Thankfully the Kathe Wolfahrt’s Christmas store and German Christmas Museum were open because they were one of the draws for me to visit in town. I searched Kathe Wolfahrt’s for a new tree topper, but was unlucky. They were restocking and taking inventory so parts of the store were closed off, BUT I did score big! I searched all last Easter season and could not find any painted eggs and Kathe had a whole display. The real struggle was keeping the delicately painted eggs out of a certain someone’s grubby little fingers.
The museum was also interesting. I went through very quickly and without an English guide, but it was really neat to see the changing decorations on Christmas trees through the years. Starting with the simple tin clip on ornaments and candles of the late 1800s and moving into the more glitzy 1920s, it was really interesting to see how traditions evolved. There were also really beautiful tree stands. You don’t think much about the stand since you can’t see it, but these cast iron stands were pieces of art. One even had a windup music box in it.
Just a block away, on the main square was our hotel. I was really happy with my hotel choice. The hotel is 600 years old (founded in 1374) and for the last 5 generations has been owned and operated by the same family! The hospitality was top notch and all 600 of those years were reflected in the main hall decorations and furnishings. Beautifully painted hutches were placed along the halls and antlers spotted the walls of the restaurant. Even the door to our room was antique and opened with a 5 inch long key.
With Daddy away, Brock has been really struggling and unfortunately our night in Rothenberg was a bad one. We ended up pacing the courtyard for a while at night but all was well in the morning. We enjoyed an amazing breakfast and were on our way to Nuremberg to finish out the rest of our week (posting in another day or so).
I was so taken by the charm of the city and can’t wait to go back for a summer festival when all the shops are open. I am literally marking my calendar with their festival schedule that I picked up from the tourism office.