We LOVED Rothenburg. It is the perfect place to just wander, unwind and get lost (though getting lost is difficult – the town is pretty small). The cobblestone roads are adorable, and old (and hard on the ankles – bring good shoes!). The buildings are adorable, and old. The food is….well…pretty much the same around every corner. We did spend our last night wandering the streets trying to find a place that didn’t have Schnitzel with french fries on the menu. I’m going to tell you a secret – German’s make terrible french fries. We did find the most AMAZING little gelato shop run by the sweetest guy who makes the gelato fresh daily, Eis D’tep. Go there. In fact we did – every since night. And he would recognize us and smile, or give me a pat on the back and be over the moon to serve us a scoop of his gelato. I miss that. In fact, it may be one of the things I mist most about Rothenburg and Germany. The last night Ray had an amazing blood orange gelato – where I wasn’t able to stray from the strawberry because it was so wonderful.
The streets of Rothenburg are just amazing along with the views. I couldn’t stop photographing them from every angle. we wandered into our share of Bakeries and Deli’s seeking out cakes and fresh wurst sandwiches. On our last day we wandered right outside the down and all the way down the hill to find the döpplebrücke – which i mentioned previouisly when talking about the history of the town. It wasn’t until we got down to the river that we realized how beautiful it was in the valley….and how steep! The walk up wasn’t nearly as fun…
While in town we visited St. Jakobskirche – a Lutheran church that looks more like a Catholic Cathedral. Mostly because it once was. The town of Rothenburg is older than the Reformation – so it originally contained a Catholic Church. Then the reformation happened and the town was more than happy to make the switch – making them a protestant town, but with a gorgeous church – not the usual for the protestants of Europe. Upstairs in the church is a huge alter, hand carved from wood, that is worth seeing. A top the alter is a cross with a clear stone containing what is believed to the blood of Christ. It was fascinating to stand there and ponder that for a moment. Was it the blood of Christ? Is there any way to know? Would it matter if it is? Something interesting to think about, considering it was the day before Good Friday. I did stand there a while, transfixed on it, wondering what I was suppose to be thinking. It’s also interesting that it is upstairs and out of view from the main sanctuary. Makes me wonder that the member of this church congregation think about it. Lots of wondering.
On a totally different note, we also went to the Medieval Crime & Punishment Museum (complete with local medieval history). I wasn’t expecting to learn as much as I did – but the place was fascinating. The pictures below show many of the ways people were tortured (and their books of “punishments” were extensive – with words and pictures for those who didn’t read). A lot of their concept of justice we could now consider cruel. There was a literal drunk tank – for those habitually drunk they had to wear it around town, with weights hung on the outside. There as a special cat shaped spike leash for catching witches (so they couldn’t escape), many MANY methods of pulling off limbs, chastity belts (for when a husband was gone OR when a woman was travelling through a region that was known for rape. There was also double neck violins – for when two women were fighting they were locked in with their heads and hands and forced to work out their issues. Could also be used for married couples (though that wasn’t it’s original purpose). There as also a lot of shame masks – stupid looking masks locked onto the faces of people for different mistakes made. I personally loved the giant wooden/iron rosary – to be worn by people who were caught skipping or falling asleep in church. Of course not everything there as about crime and punishment. There were sticks used as early bar tabs (each drink was a notch, full stick = pay the bill). There were also original seals of the towns and kings and of course indulgences – each a seal purchased and hanging from a form certifying them. The Catholic Church sold indulgences so the rich could “buy” their way into heaven – important to the Catholic when the plague was running rampant and the priests were dying or unable (or unwilling) to come and administer last rights. Overall, lots of learning about the culture of the area so long ago – a very worthwhile visit!
And of course no trip to Rothenburg is complete without photographing the Plönlein Building – the cute crooked looking yellow building right where the streets split up and down heading towards the town wall. It’s the postcard picture. Also, tricky to shoot with a town full of tourists….didn’t know what to do about them. Stupid tourists…hehe…but I did my best.
Anyway, Rothenburg is amazing. So Go.