Leaving Amberg in the morning, we hit the German motorways, heading 170 kilometres west, to experience life in the Middle Ages, in the pretty Bavarian town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
If you’ve not been on a German motorway, you’ll need to take my word for it: they’re an experience. They usually have three lanes, best described as trucks, obviously the slowest, the speed limit lane roughly 130 kmph, and then there’s what I call the “death wish” lane where it seems anything goes and cars make a “meow” sound as they pass. Some pass so fast, their slipstream pushes us over. And we weigh 5 tonnes. We try to stay out of that one.
Luckily the pace in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is much more sedate. I will say this though: you just can’t beat a German village for prettiness. Most of us grew up on tales of fairytales cottages – this is the land of their origin.
Rothenburg’s history dates back to 1274 when it was granted the status of a “free town” within the Holy Roman Empire, but much of what we see today is from its period of growth in the 15th century. Perfectly preserved, Rothenburg is a slice of living history.
All roads lead towards the Markt-Platz, also home to the Rathaus, a mixed period building with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque sections.
There are plenty of churches, of course, some very old indeed with builds in the early 1300s. Interestingly, Rothenberg fought on the Protestant side during the 30 year war.
We pop into the Franziskanerkirche to see its ancient paintings on wood
and retable depicting the stigmatisation of St Francis.
But the most fun is had wandering the streets of the old town marvelling over its pretty mediaeval buildings.
The Germans don’t shortchange history – the maintenance on these historical buildings is flawless. Most look brand new. Armed with a mandatory icecream (Germans also take icecream intake very seriously) we do just that, wandering the streets, taking it all in.
The town’s original city walls are intact, as are its many entrance gates and towers. The oldest of these is the Rodertor Gate from the late 14th century.
Through the gate is the castle garden (Burggarten) which offers wonderful views back across the town.
Eventually, the heat slows us down and sees us settle in the Square for a drink and a spot of people watching. It’s Sunday – in between the tour groups, day trippers and locals, it’s busy, busy. German bread and smallgoods make a welcome comeback. It’s sausage heaven here – Himself will be most pleased.
Freshly revived, we make a last pass for home, past the edge of the city walls.
It’s a quiet night in for us. I’m finally cleared to read to my heart’s content. To celebrate I’m re-reading the Robert Galbraith novel series. I’m up to the third one, Career of Evil. It keeps me enthralled until end wee hours.