Hello from Ettal and Rothenburg Germany!
After leaving Munich we traveled South by train near the foothills of the Alps to a very small town named Ettal Germany. We had planned to attend the passion play in nearby Oberammergau the following day but wet weather and a bit of travelers revenge inspired us to just stay near the hotel and enjoy the small town charm that Ettal offers. I walked the entire length of the town in about 30 minutes to give you some idea how small it is. In the middle of town there in a monastery that was build in 1330 the domes of which can be seen in the pictures below. It was a very beautiful and restful city.
The entrance to Ettal from the South
A small café – restaurant just in front of the monastery. Note the ornate paintings around the windows and doors on the first floor that this area is known for.
A small house right next to the hotel we stayed at. Everyone has flower boxes and beautiful flowers growing in them.
A picture of me trying to stay warm at the train station as it had snowed in the mountains the night before. I just bought that hat at the gift shop that morning to keep my head warm.
We departed Ettal for a day’s journey North back through the Munich station then up to Nuremberg and Wurzburg before arriving in Rothenburg. What an amazingly well preserved city! The city is so well preserved because after it was finally conquered in the 1600’s by an army of 40,000 catholic crusaders during the 30 year's it was so looted of anything of value that there were no means to build or improve anything. The city basically went dormant for 200 years. In the early 1900’s writers and artist discovered this charming walled city and began to write about it in newspapers around the world. Every since then tourism has made it possible to maintain the charm of this city mostly as it was in the mid 1600’s.
Here is the gate with the high wall. This high wall was only needed on one side of the city as the other three sides are surrounded by very steep cliffs.
A typical street scene in beautiful Rothenburg
The main city hall building dating back to the 1500’s
Another street scene. Most of the women were interested in the Christmas ornament store to the right while most of the men were checking out the Carrera GT parked in front.
A beautiful fountain outside one the town churches.
Inside that same church (forgot the name)
This building houses an animated re-enactment in the small square windows on either side of the clock at noon each day of the mayor of Rothenburg drinking an entire stein of wine. The story goes that the catholic crusaders who overtook the city in the 1600’s would not destroy the city if there was a man in town who could drink an entire stein of wine without pausing. Apparently the mayor pulled it off. I have only been in Germany a little over a week but I believe if drinking were an Olympic sport they would be hard to beat
Just another gorgeous city street in Rothenburg
This is the sign for an Apothecary (kind of like a pharmacy). Many merchants have ornate signs like this outside their buildings with symbols of what they are offering for sale.
This is where we stayed at the Markustrum Hotel. It was centrally located and the owners were very accommodating. We would highly recommend it!
Just one of hundreds of amazingly preserved buildings. It seemed almost like Disneyland except it is REAL!
This is Susan near the entrance to the Crime & Punishment Museum. This museum houses artifacts and history about how civilizations in Europe established laws and more importantly delivered punishments if rules and laws were broken. Unfortunately, just the suspicion of a crime was enough to put a person in a mid-evil torture device to see if you would confess.
The Iron Maden
Often times just a quick look at the interrogation room was enough to get someone talking...Heck! I would make something up if I had to
An illustrated procedure on now to put someone’s thumbs into a thumbscrew system. Ouch!
This instrument was used for quarreling women. Your head (in the large hole) and hands (in the two smallholes) would be bound while facing the person with whom you were quarreling until you resolved your problems. I’ll bet there was some kicking going on
One of many public “shame” masks each designed for a different socially unacceptable behavior such as men who were overlly promiscuous or gambled. This one was for someone who talked or gossiped too much. On top was a bell what rang when you moved and the person had to wear this mask in public for some period of time.
A “Witch Catcher” it was believed that you did not want to take the chance of being touched by a witch so this spring loaded contraption was put on a long pole and snapped round the neck of a suspected witch. Those sharp barbs inside the ring seem a bit severe for a “suspected” witch.
A balancing cage designed to dip suspects into the river until they confessed to what they thought they might have done so they could only slightly prolong their lives until they decided to kill them in a more public forum. Yikes!
One of the more popular nightly events is the night watchmen’s tour which is kind of cheesy and touristy but also has some interesting history and is pretty well done. I would recommend it!
Well that’s about it for now. We have decided to cut out stay here in Rothenburg short by one day and trek into the forest just West of Frankfurt to see the castle at Burg Eltz. This is the best preserved castle in all of Europe with the building and its furnishings pretty much as they were in the 1500’s. After two days there we depart to St. Petersburg Russia where I hope to catch up on our travel blog again.