Our first day trip by ourselves! The girls had a day off of school, and since Andy is enjoying Scotland (I mean, working), I decided to take the girls on a little day trip. We drove to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, about 2 hours away from our house. Actually, I made it in 1.5 hours – the joys of the autobahn.
***On a side note, I have been really nervous about driving on the autobahn. The long drive to move here was nerve wracking for me. My hands actually hurt from clenching the steering wheel so hard for so long! I had this same problem in Italy with the autostrada. My mind thinks of all the possible bad things that could happen while I am driving, alone, with the girls on a foreign road and away from our home. However, as I also found out in Italy, once I suck it up and do the driving, I feel completely comfortable and capable. I even hit 150 km/hr today! That is a big deal for me!***
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, translated as “red fortress above the Tauber,” is a fortress city that dates back as far as the year 970. It is a rather large city with walls that can be walked on even today. We walked a little ways, but the path is narrow, uneven, and does not have full barriers the entire path. When we hit the curve that was only big enough for one person and only had two horizontal wooden beams to catch one from a 25 foot drop, I made us get down. Mother anxiety, okay? Rothenburg was one of the largest cities in Germany during the Middle Ages, and it is one of the best preserved fortress towns in the country as well. This is one of the many towns on the Romantic Road in Bavaria – I look forward to exploring more cities along this same road.
The city is full of history, museums, churches, water wheels, and tons of Christmas merchandise and spirit. In fact, there is a Christmas museum here! I bought some Christmas decorations because we try to collect Christmas ornaments from places we have visited and they were also on off-season sale. I met a wonderful shop keeper who spoke English and told me there is an old song about the 3 girls. Needless to say, she was smitten with my girls. We were captivated by the ramparts, towers, and even a playground outside the walls. There was even a large playground outside the walls, which we of course partook in! The girls and I mostly marveled at the architecture in the city. It was so quiet and peaceful. The city is situated on a hill overlooking the river, and the views of the rolling hills of Bavaria are spectacular. You feel as if you are transported back in time while walking through tunnels and turrets. You can peer through the archery holes along the wall or walk across the moat on bridges. We stared in awe as we walked and walked…
We walked around for several hours and did not cover more than a third of the city. It was a gorgeous day for February; we remarked that it felt more like spring than winter. Since there are so many references to Christmas, I am assuming that the Weinachtsmarkt here is large. There is also an annual wine festival here in August, which I think we may need to come back for. With the shining sun and well-behaved children, our trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber was very successful!