Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Weekend Get-A-Way

Can I just say how amazing it is to live in a place where I can travel to amazing little hide-aways at the drop of the hat for the weekend? It's easy to get all worn down in the day to day living here, but the weekends can provide such amazing bliss. This was definitely one of those weekends.
Several months ago my friend Nicole had received an article from her dad about the little Medieval city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. She was determined to see this jewel of a city, and was nice enough to include me in her plans. My friend Crystal, who lives in Sokolov about 45 minutes away, was also able to join us.
Rothenburg is only about 4 hours away by train, and the trip really flew by. I think that was due, in part, to all the transfers we had to make. The great company helped as well. In Germany we are able to buy a cheap train ticket that can cover up to 5 people, so it really cuts down on travel costs when you're able to drag more people along on these little expeditions.
We arrived in Rothenburg at about 6PM Friday evening. After making our way to our incredible hostel:

We were ready to take on the town with our cameras. At every turn there was another wonder to behold, and Crystal and I were more than happy to keep our digital cameras active. Nicole, with her good old classic film camera, had to be a bit more cautious about what she chose to capture, and was constantly exclaiming over all the wonders she couldn't possibly pass up!

This last picture is over a butcher's shop, and I had first seen it in the article Nicole showed me, so I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to take my own photo of it.
After wandering the city streets for a while, we passed through an archway in the ancient wall and found ourselves in a magnificent garden. I took about a bazillion photos here, but I'll keep my numbers down for now ;)

The views were really amazing, and we had no doubts in our mind about why this is one of the stops on the romantic road. We took in the sunset and headed back to the hostel to call it an evening.
After our evening of exploration we were ready to head to bed early so we could get up and go all day on Saturday. It's important to take advantage of every moment on these weekend excursions. Even I, who generally refuse to even look at my bed until after 12 on a Friday night, conceded to turn in early. Unfortunately, the two young American girls who were sharing our room had not yet learned ANYTHING about hostel etiquette. They were sitting at a little table in the room talking with the lights on until well after 12 despite the fact that everyone else in the room was trying to sleep, and there was a small room outside of the sleeping room where they could have gone. To make matters worse (as if the hard bed and lumpy little pillow weren't doing their best to keep me from sleeping) I was awakened by "Let's Get It On" at 5 AM. After the first line it was silenced until the returned ten minutes later, and every ten minutes after that until about 5:30 when the girls finally managed to get out of bed so they could bang chairs around and dig through the plastic bags they'd filled their backpacks with in order to make every moment as loud as possible. Just to make it all even more interesting and varied they said the word "like" incessantly. Good times with those little Americans to be sure. I had to fight the urge and give them a little piece of my more experienced traveling knowledge. Helpful tips like, "if you don't want everyone you stay with to HATE you, you might consider having everything ready to go the night before, etc." Grrr!
Needless to say, we were up and showered well before they started serving breakfast at 7AM. The breakfast was spectacular I must say. Were it not for the bad roommates, the hostel was truly terrific. Since they can't exactly refuse people just because they're annoying, we really can't make any complaints. Well except for the fact that I've now clearly entered old age and am no longer young enough for any sort of youth discount. Only Crystal got to enjoy the baby privileges. (sigh)
After stuffing ourselves on semmels with meat and cheese and/or chocolate and lovely lattes we headed out to take in the wall. The old city of Rothenburg is surrounded by this ancient wall that was built a considerably long time ago (can't find an exact reference as to when at the moment) and sections damaged during WWII have now been restored so you can walk most of the way around the town on the wall. The view was so incredible that I got downright snap happy. Here are a few shots so you can feel like you were there too!

Are you getting a feel yet for just how incredibly picturesque this place is? Honestly, I took over 200 photos in less than 48 hours. Pretty ridiculous if I do say so for myself. Anyone thinking of checking out all my pictures when I get home are in for a rather excruciatingly long treat! We spent the whole day just wandering around the city. It's the sort of place that I can't imagine real people living in. If I were to live some place like this I would fear that there would come a point where I would stop being in awe, and would take for granted just how beautiful and historic it all is. It's so easy to do that. But for these few days we were able to maintain the awe.

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