Thursday, May 12, 2011

Easter Holiday: Day 9: Beer/Wine & Chocolate tour: Friday April 1, 2011—Rothenburg

Oh, Rothenburg, how I love how big of a city you are! …Well, comepared to tiny Bacharach and Cochem. We got on the train to Rothenburg around 10:30 and had four legs: to Mainz, to urzburg, to Stainach, to Rothenburg, which is about 5 hours round trip.

Rothenburg is wonderfully well-preserved medieval town with brightly colored houses and buildings, many of which were built between 1300s-1500s, and it has a wall going all the way around it that you can walk. All the history in this town make the History Major in my squeal with delight.

We walked the wall and got some lovely views

Then we went down into the moat, where I laid siege to the castle from the play set.

We walked the castle gardens, which is just a garden where a castle use to be.

We walked up into the center of town, to Market Square and decided it was time for some food. We ate a German Restaurant. I had ½ a chicken, fries and it came with salad (which we all know I won’t touch J).

We also did some general walking around

After dinner we went back to the hotel, grabbed jackets and headed back out for the Night Watchman’s Tour. 

We waited in the square until 8pm and just before the bell struck the Night Watchman came strolling up the road in full costume. Basically, you go on his rounds with him and he tells you the history of the town. He was funny and had a really good speaking voice and seemed to genuinely enjoy his job. I learned a lot about the town, how it use to be really rich because it laid at the crossroads between the North/South trading route and the East/West trading route. It was its own free imperial city and remained unconquered until the 30 years war. Story goes, according to the Night Watchman, that the town fell because of rain. A passing army was caught in rain, rain that had been falling for a week, and demanded shelter, Rothenburg refused, the army attacked and the city fell after three days. After the army left, they left Rothenburg dirt poor, and that’s why its so well preserved, they were so poor they couldn’t update anything. Also, we learned, that Rothenburg was nearly destroyed during WWII. One of Hitler’s Generals was hiding in the city with his men. The US had bombed and now they were getting ready to basically level the town. But one of the commanding officers on the US side, grew up with a picture of Rothenburg in his home and knew of the historically significant city which also held a place near and dear to his hart having grown up with the picture. He decided the give the Naxi’s a chance to surrender over the city. Lucky, Hitler’s general wasn’t in the city at the time the offer came, and one of his people was in charge. Even though he knew it was treason (because Hitler didn’t believe in surrender) and because he knew the war was lost this man surrendered the city and it was saved. Only 40% of the city was destroyed in the war, and they bombs never hit the town center. Rothenburg, after the war, was in need of repair in a country where if a basket of money was left out on the street, the basket would be stolen and the money would be left there because the basket was more valuable (Inflation). Rothenbrug sent out a plea worldwide, to help them get repaired. They collected money as people gave and then Rothenburg put those people’s names on the city wall (which you can see if you walk it). 

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