Our drive to Rothenburg ob der Tauber was only about an hour, thank the good Lord above! …and our hotel, Hotel Rappen, was easy to find as it was on the outside of the city. Thankfully, this made getting there easier because driving through the small cobblestone streets didn’t look all that exciting. Well, it did, but it also, didn’t. The tricky part was finding out which building. Apparently, there were two buildings to the hotel but each building served a different purpose! It was weird, but we got it worked out. We got checked in, then grabbed our bags from the car. We headed to the elevator, which seemed ancient. It had hardly enough room for two people and bags, and was so slow. I’m not going to lie… I worried about it getting stuck and/or plummeting. Thankfully, that never happened. We arrived on our floor in one place and found our way down the small hall to our pleasantly spacious room with a great view of the town outside the wall. FACT: One of the great things about the more central-eastern parts of Europe is that the rooms are larger than those compared to Western Europe… Remember how we could hardly move in London in Paris??? Well, this trip we had plenty of rooms for activities!
Once we were settled, we ventured out the side of the hotel and into this small walled city. It was so beautiful. The quaint streets with the old fashioned architecture painted all different colors was truly something. Tourists and locals wandered the streets stopping in and out of cafes, and popping in and out of shops. We wandered aimlessly, admiring it all.
We found an area of the walled city, on the southern edge, where the wall is low enough to look over because it drops down several storeis. You can look out over the valley which has quaint homes and small vineyards. It is a beautiful view, and should be seen.
Eventually, the sun set. We felt like we had seen everything, and really just wanted to eat. We found a small restaurant near by & popped in. We both ordered the French Onion soup, which was so unbelievably salty, that Brad couldn’t even finish his. I did it for him..
Eventually, we continued to wander through all the small areas of the Christmas market, but we didn’t find anything that interesting. We did stop into St. James’ Catholic Church because we heard the organ playing. When we walked in, it was completely dark except for the lights from the candles. It was amazing! I think my soul was overwhelmed by the insane acoustics as the organ screamed… It was such an intriguing setting. If it wasn’t for the other patrons inside, I probably felt like we were part of murder mystery. Eventually the music stopped, and the people began to clear out, and so did we.
With the uncertainty of what to do next, we just began to head back toward the hotel, but then curiosity struck. Just to the right of the city entrance, their was a set of stairs leading up the side of the city wall. We knew. We had to climb. ..and we did. We climbed to the top of the wall and began to walk. It was incredibly dark. You could hardly see your feet move in the yellow glow of the city lights. The turrets were incredibly tricky, as they were almost 100% closed in. Some of the had steps, so at almost every one, you had to cling to the sides of the walls, and step slowly. At a certain point we decided to start using the flashlight application on our phones for piece of mind. We walked until we could not walk anymore and had to turn back. It was a long way to the start, but it was so worth it. How often, do you get to walk a city wall in the dark!! It felt so medieval. All I needed was a bow and arrow, and I was ready to tar someone from the side. TIP: The wall is well managed, but certain areas were kind of dirty, and some spots did make me a little nervous. If you are a major germ-a-phobe or just like to live life on the safe side, I’d recommend doing it during the day. Granted, it’s probably a fair amount busier then.
After our great wall adventure, we headed back to the hotel for some R&R. We watched a movie on our iPad, and passed out. TIP: Having movies on your iPad is a great way to kill time and stay warm in some of these smaller cities. Brad and I aren’t big drinkers, so this was convenient for us. Shops in other countries don’t have extensive hours like in the US, so it’s nice to have that backup option of something to do.
The next morning we arose with purpose. I was going to the Kathe Wohlfhart store to get myself some ornaments. (I told Brad that I would only be getting few, but ended up purchasing closer to ten. WORTH IT! ) But, first, breakfast. We wandered downstairs to the restaurant where we took part in the buffet. The same ole’ stuff as everywhere else… meets, cheeses, breads, produce items… Satisfying, but getting old. We ran backup to the room to grab our coats and then headed back into the magical walled city. There are like four Kathe Wohlfhart stores inside the wall…. but I wanted one specific one… The BIG ONE!!! I found it… The place was literally a maze. They have it set up so that you can only go one direction, and that one directions winds you through the store in a strategic fashion…. It truly was magical. It was so shiny & sparkly inside with all the Christmas things you could ever want! I was in heaven. We were inside for probably about 45 minutes, and eventually took my basket to the counter. I will never forget the experience that came with checking out After the lady had rung everything up, I handed her my credit card, which I had never signed. This apparently was a huge deal. Apparently, if your card isn’t signed then they don’t want to use it. So after shaming me for it, she asked if I had ID, and I had to say no… my only ID was drivers license which had my maiden name & didn’t match my credit card (oops). I told the woman that if she put everything aside I’d go get it, or if she wanted to use Brad’s it was the same card and he had ID. lol.. All of this forced her to just accept it, and run my damn card. I’ll never forget her condescending tone as she told me that I should sign the back of my card. What a moment!
With ornaments in hand we were on our way. We wandered the city a bit more out of curiosity, but there wasn’t much to find. Brad was curious about trying a schneeball. He had been eyeing them the day before, as they did look like a delightfully enchanting pastry. However, to his dismay he said it was like eating pie crust covered in chocolate. Which, I think is all it is. I don’t think he’ll get one again if we ever go back! As our curiosity began to fade, we headed back to the hotel. It was time to move on. Neuschwantstein was calling, and we didn’t want to miss the tour!
1) One day is plenty!
2) Hi, my name is Natalie & I have an addiction to Christmas ornaments.
3) Just because you are in Europe doesn’t mean the French Onion will be good…
4) If you plan on using a CC in Europe, sign the back of the card. They don’t like if your card isn’t signed. (and make sure you have your ID)