Day 9: What a day! Continental breakfast, then hit the road for another hour and a half drive. This time we’re headed to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Europe’s most well-preserved medieval walled city. We had lunch in the town square and then I split from the gang to get some much needed alone time. I followed the Rick Steves walking tour from my book and enjoyed leisurely strolling about the sites dodging hordes of tourists. I find everything about Rothenburg absolutely fascinating. It’s exciting to imagine people living here 700 years ago. We happened to arrive on the first day of Reichsstadt, a festival celebrating the history of the town. Because of the occasion, there were many people wandering the streets in medieval garb throughout the day. I once again tested my fear of heights and climbed 135 steps to the top of Rodertor (one of the city gates/watchtowers). The climb was worth it as the tower offered sweeping views in every direction. I met back up with Jeff and the girls for a Chinese meal. We tried to impress the restaurant lady with our limited Chinese.
After dinner, we wandered back to the town square for the Night Watchman’s tour. George, the watchman led us around and told us a lot of interesting tid-bits about Rothenburg’s long and varied history. After the tour, we had to rush the kids to the “WC” (toilet) and accidentally stumbled upon a front row seat for the parade of villagers (hundreds and hundreds including many children) in an array of costumes representing different periods throughout history. Many of them spoke to the girls (although we had no idea what they were saying) and gave them their own torches and chocolate coins. They loved it! We waded through the crowd (hundreds of people) and back to the hotel just before the fireworks. I can still hear chanting and singing and drumming out in the streets. What an awesome day!