Before I moved to Germany I didn’t have much of a mental picture about the country. I knew the Germans liked to eat pretzels, bratwurst, and sauerkraut, but I didn’t know much about the landscape or the architectural design of the buildings. Where I live in Bavaria, it’s common to find houses with paintings on the side depicting a story of craftsmen from long ago.
When I knew I was going to be spending some time living in Germany, I did a quick Google search for basic images, and the image that stuck with me the most was of beautifully striated houses in a town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber, or Rothenburg for short. I had no idea where Rothenburg was, nor did I ever think I would visit, but I finally made my way to this adorable medieval city and I loved every moment of my visit.
Rothenburg is most known for its walled in city, striated houses, and picturesque photo opportunities. The entryway into the city is one of the most photographed spots in the entire city, and for good reason. I made it to the city before anyone came to life, and was able to snap a photo of this spot without any humans in my way.
The clouds quickly lifted and the sun came out providing a beautiful color to the adorable houses. My roommate Laura and I embarked on a German road trip last month, and Rothenburg was our first stop. She had been, but I hadn’t so we split up for a couple hours to explore at our own pace. Before we separated, we visited the Käthe Wohlfahrt mothership. The headquarters for this mega shop is in Rothenburg, and this was my first time stepping inside.
This was basically the Disneyland of Christmas.
I bought an ornament for my mom, but she won’t know until it arrives because she only skims my blog for the photos. 😉 (Update, the ornament arrived. She loved it.) After we got our Christmas fix, we wandered the only park within the city while my roommate sipped on Glühwein. I don’t like wine, but I tried a sip. I confirm that I still don’t like wine, even when it’s hot and mixed with sugar.
After the park we officially parted ways, and I got lost between the alleys and houses. I say I got lost, but really that’s nearly impossible. The city is quite small, but large enough to spend a good few hours wandering without getting bored. I found my way to the border of the wall that hugs around the city, and climbed the stairs to walk around the perimeter.
Along the way I found door, after door, after door that caught my attention.
I found my way inside of a coffee shop for an afternoon pick me up, where lucky for me everyone spoke English. I would have managed fine if they hadn’t though, I know how to order a black coffee in German. I know the basics of ordering food and drinks, but everywhere I have traveled thus far someone speaks English. It’s both helpful and hindering as it doesn’t motivate me to learn more German.
After my coffee fix I climbed the top of the city hall tower which wasn’t very tall, but it still provided a decent panoramic view of the city. Anytime I find a tower to climb for a decent price, I climb it. There has only been one tower thus far that I said a big no to, and that was in Pisa. There was no one else at the top of the tower when I went up, so I had the entire view to myself.
We visited Rothenburg a week too early, because we missed their Christkindlmarkt, or Christmas Market.
After I climbed the tower my roommate and I met back up for lunch. We grubbed, and were gifted free water and cake because my roommate is a fan of a German soccer team that our waiter was also a fan of. I have never felt more VIP since moving to Europe. Free water?! Who are we. Despite the fact that I was just gifted free cake I couldn’t come to Rothenburg and NOT try a Schneeball….
Another native Rothenburg creation, this ball of crunchy dough comes in a variety of flavors. I chose chocolate because I am a creature of habit. By this time we had been in Rothenburg for about five hours, and it was almost time to move onto our next destination. Rothenburg is a perfect day trip, and five hours was a perfect amount of time to spend there.
I don’t often buy souvenirs when I travel, mostly because I don’t like collecting things that clutter. However, if something “speaks to me” I will buy it (but not after a long debate in my brain about whether it’s practical.) When I first walked into the city I saw something in one of the windows that spoke to me, but I didn’t think it was practical.
I spent the entire afternoon trying to decide if I should buy it, and finally decided to buy it.
I don’t know what the significance of the mushroom is in Rothenburg, but a few shops had mushroom items indicating some kind of theme. I can’t tell you what it was about this stuffed shroom, but when I first walked by the window with him and his friends, he immediately spoke to me. I regret nothing, and this was worth the 12 euros because every time I look at him I smile.
This is my shroom, his name is Schmerb.
Schmerb was officially along for the ride for the rest of our German road trip, and immediately became our mascot. Anytime I looked at him I laughed, and I continue to laugh anytime I look at him. He was most definitely a mental health boost. Love ya Schmerb. I’d love to return to Rothenburg someday, maybe for their Christmas market.
A perfect start to our German road trip!
Q: Am I alone in laughter when looking at Schmerb?