Europe – day 2 – Rothenberg
The breakfast at our Hotel Gerberhaus was marvelous. They had meats, cheeses, cereal, fruit, juice, coffee, tea, pastries, bread, and much more. The hotel room was also very nice. It was a quad room with lots of space and very light and clean. I love clean cozy German hotel rooms with big fluffy white duvets. The room was of course at the top of the hotel so that we could get lots of practice climbing stairs.
Now that we were practiced climbing stairs we took on the tower of the town hall. It has 165 stairs to the top. Many of those stairs are very narrow and there was no particular crowd control to managed people ascending and descending. It would be a very bad experience for people with claustrophobia. Kevin, who had been to Rothenberg before, said it is also pretty miserable on a hot sticky day. A German man in line near us said “this is not very German. This is inefficient. This is more Italian”. The view from the top of the tower was wonderful and worth the effort for those of us not terrified by the heights (which did not include at least one Japanese tourist and a few kids who had made the climb with us). It was very windy at the top and at least one tourist watched as his hat flew away.
After the climb we went into the Christmas store across the street for a few minutes. We opted not to go to the Christmas museum but were amazed that what looked like a small store from the outside turned out to be a large warren of all things Christmas. This would be a very very dangerous place for people who collect Christmas paraphernalia. Our pocketbooks did not come away unscathed.
We met up with Our friends Jim, Marylyn, and Paul in a joyous reunion and then headed to an inexpensive lunch place that Paul had heard about. It turned out to be a Turkish cafe specializing in Dönner Dürüm with posters on the walk of places I had been in Istanbul on my last trip.
The Arizona Ambassadors of music had a very large band concert in the main square after lunch. They held the concert despite off and on rain. I was glad I had packed a poncho, although sorry I had left my sweatshirt in the van on the way to the airport. The concert selections were fun and the musicians were talented.
In between the band concert at 2pm and the choir concert at 4pm we tried Schneeballen. A schneeball is made from a pie crust like dough. The dough is rolled out and then cut with slits. It is then rolled into a spherical metal mold and deep fried. Traditionally they were covered with powdered sugar which is why they were named after snowballs. We had ones covered in chocolate, and mocha. I think the butter zitzball which I ordered was the best. It was covered with cinnamon and sugar.
The choir sang in the Church of the Holy Ghost which was packed. Of course the group was large enough to pack it pretty much by itself. The choir sang a mixture of old and new pieces from Ave Maria to gospel. It was a wonderful experience that we were glad we had rearranged our schedule to hear.
After the concert we walked the old ramparts of the town. One of the things that makes Rothenberg a popular spot is that it is a walled town with the walls preserved (and restored).
After another nice German dinner Jim and Marylyn went to sleep as they were leaving for Stugart at 4am to catch a train to Paris to see a neighbor, an olympic class runner, in a race.
We took the night watchman’s tour. We learned that every citizen was required to store a year’s worth of grain in their attic in case of a siege. Rich people were also required to store salt. Salt was so valuable that it was sometimes called “white gold”. Apparently all European languages still tie salt to wages in words like the English word “salary”. We also still have phrases in English like “not worth his salt”. Rothenberg faired badly in the 30 years war. It was pillaged first by a catholic army and later by its protestant “allies”. It was left so poor that it did not have the money to modernize. It’s fame today comes from its poverty for so many years.