September 19, 2009
Garmisch, Germany—Woke up to another beautiful mountain morning and unfortunately had to pack up and head northwest. Incredible traffic coming into Garmisch, must be for the weekend, glad we’re heading the other way. We skirted past Munich…German freeways seem to generally avoid the towns and cities. Got off the freeway to join the “Romantische Strasse” (the street was actually used to haul salt from the mountains to the Rhine river where the salt is transferred to barges…not particulary romantic, but great marketing, the Japanese especially love it). We stopped at a few small towns, Donauwertwhich had pretty pastel buildings connected one to another all the way up winding streets. Then Dinkelsbuhl, a medieval walled city with similar architecture (very different from Bavaria) and a yummy bakery for lunch.
(Pretty cathedral in Dinkelsbuhl)
Our main destination today was Rothenburn ob der Tauber, said by the eminent historian Rick Steves to be the best preserved Medieval walled city in Germany. We liked to it. The town within the walls was well preserved and had beautiful colored stucco houses. You could walk most of the way around the town on top of the wall and there was a beautiful greenspace below the walls that looked out over the Tauber river gorge. We actually got out the guidebook for this city and followed Rick Steves walking tour. He was right, the clock was a bit of a let down—when they mention moving figures we actually thought the figures would move, but it seemed two windows opened, then closed. The little gift store Rick recommended though was amazing. The friendliest people own it. The parents, kids, and grandkids all work there. They all chatted with us. We bought a little Christmas decoration thing, but they gave Lizzy and Henry little toys for “being good kids.” There was such an air of kindness there, that in some way it was one of my favorite parts. Though the beautiful castle garden and the walk along the wall were probably the top activities of the day. There’s really no way to describe how fun and wonderful it was just to wander the city. Then the kids started to get fussy (There’s a town down south called Fussen that we’ve started telling Henry “Fussen ain’t just a city in Europe”) and we had a long drive Northwest to Spangdahlem to make or we would have liked to stay longer and wander some. We stopped for dinner in an industrial town that seemed a lot more like America complete with sprawl, families with more than 1 child and grown men wearing shorts and t-shirts…it was kind of nice. We’re staying at another base, Spangdahlem, located in the center of a triangle made up of Luxembourg, the Mosul valley and the Rhine Valley and we’re trying to decide what to do with the 2 days we have here. We’re in a fantastic $42 a night furnished apartment with 2 bedrooms, laundry (perfect timing), living room, kitchen and dining room…even had a pak-n-play waiting for us in the room.