Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rothenburg ob der Tauber: A Fairy Tale Town and Rest Stop Outrage

On Sunday morning, we discussed how sore our bodies were from the distance walked the day before and groveled about the impending drive home.  The two topics seemed polar opposites, a joyful day of sight seeing and exploration compared to a long and arduous ride back to Germany.  However, there was a silver lining; the monotony of travel can be mollified by visiting points of interest along the way.  Conveniently, about halfway through the seven-plus hour trip - lies the city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber; a quaint town many have (probably) seen in pictures, but are unfamiliar with the name.

Outside the city walls
Quiet Sunday in Germany...aren't they all...

We departed Prague sometime in the late morning because getting seven people on the same schedule is about as conceivable as seven dwarfs living harmoniously in a small cottage.  The first three hours passed with little to no trouble, although, the system of the European rest stop irked some of our star-spangled visitors.  There was an obstinate outrage about the pay-per-use bathroom; the principle of paying €0.50 to use the facilities was incredulous.  In turn, a €0.25 redeemable coupon to use at the rest stop was of little consolation.  I digress.  
Every street seems to look like this
Making our way to the Marktplatz

When we reached Rotheburg ob der Tauber, we parked outside the city walls and briefly stretched our legs in preparation for more walking.  As we passed through the streets, it felt like a typical Sunday in Germany, quiet, and the majority of businesses were closed.  Our time here would be brief, but long enough to explore the medieval town center.  The cobble stoned streets and half-timbered homes of the picturesque village made it feel like you were walking through the setting of a fairy tale.  
Fleisch- und Tanzhaus (Meat and Dance House)
There are a lot of cobble stones in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
One of many fountains

While it would have been great to stay for longer, three hours of driving remained; reality settled in, and we had to window-shop the attractions.  Also, due to the strong opposition of using another European rest stop, we decided to stay and eat before returning to the road.   On the final leg of our drive, we miraculously avoided the omnipresent stau of Stuttgart.  We were relieved to be home, but sad that our visitors too would be returning home.  
Ratstrinkstube (Councillor's Tavern)
Plönlein (Little Square)
Cheesing it up at dinner