Rothenburg ab der Tauber

For the week and a half leading up to our visit to this small town, every time Mike said it, I thought he was saying “Rottenburg October.” Needless to say, I wasn’t all that excited… In fact, Rothenburg ab der Tauber is the only small town visit recommended to him by one of his German compatriots… A friend of mine had talked it up, too, so as long as we weren’t going to Rottenburg, I was ready to go! (of course, on the way there, we got caught up in a traffic jam of near-epic proportions and ended up exiting at the first opportunity to discover an outlet mall!)

oopsy-daisey! A Deutche Post truck tried to go up the concrete wall, but that didn’t work out for him. So… he flipped over and jammed up traffic for hours.

The counts of Comburg-Rothenburg built the castle garden in 950, with the castle soon to follow. The town was built around 1170. I’m tossing these numbers out like they are nothing, but I still haven’t gotten over the sheer old-ness of so much of what surrounds me… The family Rothenburg is actually still alive and kicking, with the last known descendent residing in the United States (WWII felled many of them, as they were of Jewish faith/heritage; boo on the Nazis. Again.). Anyway… before that war, in the 1600s, was the 30 Years War. Rothenburg had a hard time with that one, too. Rothenburg was a Protestant Lutheran town at that time, and a Catholic General wanted to quarter his troops there. The townspeople of Rothenburg fought back, but lost. Pretty miserably, in fact. After that winter came and left, General Tilly took his troops and the plunder they gathered and left Rothenburg poor and sad. And then the Black Death came. It wasn’t a good time… In any case, it turns out that the Black Death and the plunder of Rothenburg was pretty good for you and me, because the town was so poor and destitute that it wasn’t of interest to anyone else, so it’s well-preserved in all of it’s Middle Ages glory. [Insert another little bit of WWII history (just for you, Daddy): Rothenburg was considered to be the best example of a German home-town “representing all that was quintessentially German” (Wikipedia), and so they held day trips there for their “Strength Through Joy” program; after expelling their Jewish residents in 1938, they stayed out of the fray for several years. In 1945, German troops were there to defend it, but, of course, they lost. Actually, the American commander had issued orders to the effect that artillery should not be used in taking Rothenburg (owing to it’s historical significance), so they just used bombs and whatnot, but the German commander there ignored Hitler’s orders to fight to the death and gave the town up to the Allies. American troops subsequently occupied the town, and the guy who ordered no artillery? He was named Honorary Protectorate of the Town (John McCloy, who was the asst. Secretary of War at the time). They had to repair about 2000m of the wall that “protects” the town, and now you can see the names of people from literally all over the world who donated dinero to rebuild this historic city.

Really and truly, this was one of the first images we had of Rothenburg, complete with horse and buggy.

A second early impression of the day. Shortly after this, we learned that we happened upon Rothenburg on the day of their Historical Festival, which included a band of men walking around the town (all day) singing folk songs (from the 1600s, I assume) to the beat of a drum and the tune of a fife, from pub to tavern to bar, until each bar gave them beer. History festival gone pub crawl…

View of the valley – (der Tauber) from the castle’s garden area.

The town hall, lined with men in their historical garb and ladies in their historical Dirndl. I also really loved that the flower boxes lined the whole front of the building…

Who knows, but he sure is interesting…

From one part of the castle garden looking back towards town. A week ago, the colors were definitely telling me fall is here!

A brave rose in the rose garden. So lovely…

Inside the chapel, which is the only intact building remaining from the castle. Tucked in here is a memorial to those soldiers who died in WWII (pictured) and WWI.

St. Jakob Church, which interestingly translates into St. James Church. Way back when, the town was built and organized around this building and the market.

Along the wall (which looks like small roofed huts), they built a theater. I was so hoping that there would be a talent show that day, but alas…

Walking along the wall… they had a wall, which fortified the city, and then in some parts of the wall, they built a second layer wall – a wall for the wall!

Our trip to Rothenburg also commemorates they day that Mike became a real German – notice the flannel shirt and the ice cream cone?

That last caption made me think about “Pinocchio,” you know, who became a “real boy?” Rothenburg is the town that inspired the village seen in Disney’s “Pinocchio” as well as scenes in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” Not to mention that it was used for filming parts of Harry Potter (I & II).

Beyond the ubiquitous ice cream, Rothenburg is known for their schneeballen, which is fried dough dipped in sugar, cinnamon, or chocolate.

Well placed house on the corner

We ended our day at a lovely café, and as we enjoyed our meal, the historical pub crawl came right past our table and sang and laughed and carried on, right until they got their beer.

We had hoped to go to the Nightwatchman’s Tour to close out our Rothenburg experience, but it started raining. We’re hoping to go back!

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8 thoughts on “Rothenburg ab der Tauber

  1. We love, love, LOVE Rothenberg!! It is such a beautiful town. And they have a small restaurant just outside the wall which serves nothing but potatoes cooked 8,000 different ways. It is glorious! And seriously–what is with the Germans and ice cream? We went to Oberamergau, and there was a line outside the ice cream shop at 8:00 am!!!!!

    • The ice cream this is out of control, as best as I can tell. And that potato place sounds awesome! Maybe we will go there when we go back for the Night Watchman tour! I do love me some potatoes!!

  2. Oh yeah– and our guide told us “they’re famous for their schneeballen. They’re horrible. Don’t buy them.” LOL!

    • If only we’d had a tour guide as wise as your’s. We bought 2, but didn’t try them until we were home. We ate half of one of them, and I just got rid of the rest today. Blech!

  3. A couple of thoughts:
    1. Holy cow you are learning a TON of history!
    2. The creepy statue looks oddly happy.
    3. The picture of Mike walking by the wall….is that a man with the little girl? If so, he is wearing pink boots. If not, she looks manly, either way it looks as if they are checking out Mike’s behind. lol
    4. If ice cream is that prevalent, I really belong there.
    5. What a cute corner house!!!

    • History is definitely the name of the game here. So much of their history is right there at the surface, but then when you start looking for it, it gets so much richer. Sometimes I feel like my brain my explode, but it is really interesting!

      I thought that the creepy statue looked a little Amish or something. I guess that’s why it made me feel a little more peaceful…

      I had to go back and look at that picture of Mike walking on the wall. It really does look like they are checking out his behind. It almost even looks like a drop-everything-and-look-at-that kind of stare that they are giving him! I think it is a woman with the kid, but I’m not positive. The German men are all pretty lanky, but I think it is a woman… (poor thing.)

      Ice cream is EVERYWHERE. ALL THE TIME. All kinds of flavors, too. It’s very customary for people to have a mid-afternoon sweet and tea break, with a heavy emphasis on the sweet. Ice cream seems to fit the bill. You would love it! I just can’t get over wanting to eat ice cream when it’s 35 degrees, windy, and damp. Doesn’t that call for something warm?

      I loved that corner house, too! It was so cheerful and neat!

  4. The photographs are so beautiful!!! Your new camera, right? The colors and focus are so nice.

    lol, in the photo of Mike walking along the road, it’s almost as if the the two others are like: (imagine in a British accent because this just seems to call for it) “observe the American in his unnatural habitat”…

    History festival gone pub crawl…sounds like Mike’s idea of a good time!

    I must admit, I have eaten ice cream in very cold temperatures. But I wonder why it’s so prevalent there. Perhaps if they make their insides the same temperature (or colder) than their environment it makes the world feel warmer?

    Loving your posts!

    • I have thought that, about the eating ice cream as some opposite reaction that actually creates the illusion of warmth. I’ve heard that in Africa, even when it is very hot, they will drink hot tea because it makes their bodies feel cooler in response to the tea. I’m not 100% clear on how that works, but I’ve wondered with the ice cream. I know that for me, however, hot chocolate is the thing. Sometimes it feels like the only thing… 🙂

      Mike was about ready to find a costume and join in!

      The pictures were all with the new camera. We are so pleased with it!! 🙂 We are both starting to figure out more about it, so I’m hopeful that the photos will continue to improve, too! 🙂 I love the imagined conversation b/w the other 2 people in the picture with Mike along the wall. They were definitely British! (for the purpose of creating the scene, anyway…)

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