Germany and Austria '96
Rothenburg ob der Tauber

After the Thirty Years War, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which had been a thriving trade city, entered a period of great decline. The inhabitants lacked the money to expand or improve their city, so it remained virtually unchanged for a couple of hundred years. At the end of the 19th century, the city fathers realized what a tourist attraction this medieval town could become and passed strict laws preserving the city and limiting change. The Marktplatz today is the center of the old city and each year becomes the hub for Rothenburg's large Christmas Market.

Rothenburg's Main Square
The Boys in Rothenburg

Walking around Rothenburg, the tourist can find great photo opportunities at every turn. Although you'll need plenty of film, keep in mind that you'll have plenty of competition. Rothenburg is now probably the most touristed city in Germany. We have a few acquaintances who ask us why we like to return to spots that are so "touristy." In Rothenburg's case, the answer is easy: those tourists are there for a reason. It's a great place to visit.

During the last four or five years, we have taken the tour with the Night Watchman. One of the most interesting parts for us now is watching the way he has amended his tour over the years. He has become much more comfortable with English, especially with idiomatic phrases that make his stories more interesting, and he has also learned to be humorously self-deprecating about his job.

Rothenburg's Night Watchman
A Rothenburg Club

One afternoon at the Greifen, we heard music coming from the restaurant, and when we went down we found this group of musicians. One of their fellow-members had just married, and the group was having a party for the couple. One of their group came over and sat with us during our dinner and made a great effort to teach our boys the proper way to sniff snuff!

Recently, when Brenda and I read about the incident in New York involving a European man and woman who were arrested for leaving the woman's baby in a carriage outside a restaurant while they had a meal, we were reminded of this photo from our 1996 trip to Rothenburg. Brenda was laughing and joking about walking off with someone's baby while the mother was in the shop. To emphasize how common this practice is in many towns in Europe, note that there is another baby left outside the adjacent store!

Brenda and the Baby

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