Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cute Medieval German Villages

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The final night of our vacation with the inlaws was spent in Dinkelsbuehl, a little walled town on the western edge of Bavaria. We wanted something relatively near Heidelberg, something that's easier to get to by car than train, and something we thought they would enjoy. What we really thought they might like is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, about 45 minutes north of Dinkelsbuehl, but we thought it would be easier and cheaper to stay in Dinkelsbuehl!

On our way there, we stopped in Rosenheim for lunch and took a few pictures. I have a friend who comes from there and always talks about what a little village it is. Hee hee. It's not small. They even have a Karstadt.

Rosenheim & Countryside Okt 09

Rosenheim wasn't terribly picturesque but it had a wedding-cakey church and a big wide pedestrian zone.

The photos aren't captioned this time. Really, our time was fleeting in these three places and I don't what most of the stuff I was looking at actually was! In Dinkelsbuehl, we were encouraged by a local to check out their Dinkelsbuehl war and peace museum, which was really a history of the town. The whole museum was full of wandering Montessori kids while we were there, whose chaperones found their inability to be considerate to other museum guests a wonderful sign of the kids' spunk and brilliance. So, we didn't really get as much out of it as we could have because we were just trying to keep from getting run over or mobbed.

Dinkelsbuehl was pretty, but there wasn't much for pedestrian zones, which was the only drawback. We were there only a few hours before running off to spend a few hours in Rothenburg.

Dinkelsbuehl Okt 09

Rothenburg ob der Tauber Okt 09

I had some reservations about Rothenburg, probably the most tourist-trodden location in Germany, maybe even ahead of Neuschwanstein. Germans warned me that it was like Disneyland - no one really living within the walls of the medieval town, existing only for tourism. The oft-cited idea that it was untouched by WWII is also incorrect - about 40% of the original town was destroyed in the war and had to be rebuilt.

So, I was surprised by a few things in Rothenburg!!
  • It was much bigger than I expected. Thus, it does not feel that touristy because you can slip off into a less-popular corner and be on your own.
  • People do indeed live inside the walls. We saw cars parked in places that destroyed the cuteness of the scene and laundry hanging on lines. It is actually still a place where real people live; it is not Disneyland.
  • It really does have a little something that rises above the hundreds of other adorable medieval German towns - it's just so large, so consistently cute throughout, and it has an unbelievable number of towers. This leads me to an important tourist tip.
Important Tourist Tip

Do not agree to meet your fellow travellers at the tower!!! With four people, we were waiting at 3 towers. (Damon and I were at the right one, of course. ;) )

So, at least in mid-October on a cold weekday, Rothenburg doesn't really deserve the sniffing-at it got from a lot of Germans I talked to. It was pleasant, with a lot of places to go, a lot of interesting buildings and squares, and a nice view out over the Tauber from the edge of town.

3 comments:

  1. I enjoyed Rothenburg ob der Tauber when I was there a few years back -- I stayed at a hotel within the walls and I did the nightwatchman's tour, which was appropriately kitschy and fun while being informative.

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  2. I loved Rothenburg and also Fussen both enjoyable picturesque places.

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  3. My boyfriend took me to Rothenburg the night of our first date 13 years ago. Dinner at an authentic Italian restaurant in Wurzburg and then a stroll through Rothenburg at midnight. It was so cold we could not feel our hands but nevertheless a beautiful experience.

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