Germany: Day Nine

Rothenburg ob du Tauber
Rothenburg ob du Tauber
South Wall Gate
South Wall Gate

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.

George, the night watchman
George, the night watchman

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!

Germany: Day Four

IMG_8600

IMG_8605Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 4: The weather has improved so today we headed for Zugspitze, the tallest peak in Germany that lies in the Alps straddling the Germany-Austria border. First a short drive to the station and then a ride on the gondola straight up to the top! (2960m/9718 ft.) Yesterday’s rain brought a nice dusting of snow that left me completely unprepared in the clothing department. The truly awesome views outweighed my fear of heights. We took another gondola down into the glacier and then a less than exciting cog-wheel train that cut THROUGH the mountain back to the starting point. After our mountain adventure we drove into the small town of Oberammergau, best known for skilled woodcarvers and their decennial (every ten years) Passion Play (a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering and death). The townspeople have been performing the play since 1634 in gratitude for being spared from the bubonic plague. We used the bathroom in the theater and had gelato. Almost everything was closed for Sunday Family Day. We continued on to Linderhof Palace, a stunning estate with a dazzling Rococo-style palace built for King Ludwig II of Bavaria beginning in 1869. From there we hopped on the autobahn to jump up to Munich. There was more spatzle and beer for dinner. Tonight, Kai had schnitzel. After dinner, we walked up to Hirschgarten, Europe’s largest biergarten. I had a crepe with apfel zucker und zimt (apple and cinnamon sugar). Prost!

Linderhof Palace
Linderhof Palace

Germany: Day Two

View of Schloss Hohenschwangau and Alpsee from Schloss Neuschwanstein
View of Schloss Hohenschwangau and Alpsee from Schloss Neuschwanstein

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bier!
Bier!
Yodeleheeehoooo
Yodeleheeehoooo

Vacation breakdown day 2:  Delightful breakfast at hotel restaurant. 4 km drive to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles. Walked 800 million miles up and down hills (and stairs) with two kids in 85 degree humid weather with a zillion tourists. Had awesome pretzel and sausage snack. Drove back to hotel. Beer. Walking tour of Fuessen (included TWO monasteries and a cemetery). Stuffed faces with heavenly “cutlets” dinner and a beer taller than Kiki. Stuck kids in the hotel pool (AKA the bathtub). Currently digesting and thinking about what we’ll eat tomorrow. *aaaaahhhhh*