Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mt Pleasant Iowa to Rothenburg Germany

The Litwillers are off on another excursion.  We are in Germany, where we will be visiting exchange students and their parents as well as German Christmas Markets for the next three weeks.

Our first flight, today, from Cedar Rapids to Detroit was on time and uneventful as was our flight from Detroit to Frankfurt, Germany.  We arrived in Frankfurt at 7:30 am to cloudy skies and 40 degree weather.  After picking up our car we were on our way east to Wurzburg. We used the autobahn to clear Frankfurt and it suburbs, then exited to smaller rural roads.  We skirted Wurzburg and headed south toward Rothenburg, Germany.  On the way to Rothenburg we stopped at Sommerhausen to see the former walled town that still has city towers and gates.  Sommerhausen is known for its many wineries.  We found a small restaurant where we had delicious rich piping hot goulash soup.   Sommerhausen is on the Main River and has vineyards on the hillsides all along the east side of the river.  There was no English spoken in the restaurant. 
Sommerhausen City Gate

Street of Sommerhausen

After walking around Sommerhausen we continued south approximately 55 km to Rothenburg.   Since Old town Rothenburg is totally enclosed with a city wall, you enter through city gates when you go to the city center. We have visited Rothenburg numerous times before but always in the summer.  By the time we arrived in Rothenburg we were feeling our night without sleep!  We found a hotel one block from the city center marketplatz for 90 euros, including freustick (breakfast).   After taking a nap for several hours we got up and dressed for walking around the town in the rain.  It has been raining most of the day and the damp cool weather is chilling, around 40oF, they are talking snow for tonight!  While walking in Sommerhausen, we were not dressed warm enough – we were chilly.  The Rothenburg Christmas Market begins Saturday so the vendors were setting up and decorating their stall in the marketplatz, around the church, and along the alleys.  Most shops were decorated, but others were still working on their outdoor decorations.  The shop windows were ready for the season – some had lovely animated scenes.   The bakeries are full of Christmas specialties, especially Rothenburg’s “Schneelballe”. These snowball shaped treats are a bit like shortbread.  Some are covered with sugar or cinnamon, others with chocolate coconut or almonds.  All are irresistible and we had to try one!  We found a nice restaurant where we were able to have our first German bratwurst, sauerkraut and hot gluwein (mulled wine).  All was very tasty!! The waiter spoke great English.  He just returned from Atlanta and Florida.
Rothenburg Night Watchman

Rothenburg Schneelballe

Rothenburg City Gate

Store Decorated for Christmas

Window Decoration, Teddy Bears with City Wall

Rothenburg City Gate and Tower

Rothenburg Walk-in City Gate and Tower

After dinner we had a tour of the town by a man who impersonated the old city night watchman.  He talked about the history of Rothenburg from the city’s origin to how it was saved during WWII.  He was entertaining and informative.

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