We stopped in Rothenburg ob der Tauber for one night on our way from the Black Forest to Leipzig. I hadn’t done much research on the place, so was quite pleasantly surprised at how picture-perfect it was.
Stay: Klosterstuble – very handy to the market square, but it is the opposite side of the city from the train station, and the cobbled streets aren’t overly wheelie-suitcase friendly.
Visit: City walls & Night Watchman tour
Eat: Restaurant Alter Keller
The medieval walled city is amazingly well preserved. Though it was bombed by the allies in the second world war, it came through remarkably unscathed thanks to a high-up American soldier, General John McCloy, being a Rothenburg fan. An international restoration fund was set up following the war, and tourism has done its bit in ensuring the city has been well maintained ever since.
As we always do, we wandered the back streets and took in the sights. The city walls are worth climbing for a spectacular view over the city. There are numerous Christmas shops too which are a treat (there are two opposite each other on the main street by market square) – one will have you feeling like you’re in Santa’s workshop.
We joined the Night Watchman Tour at 8.30pm, which was well worth the 8 euro fee. Up until 1920, the Night Watchmen were enlisted to watch over the city from dusk until dawn, and sound the alarm if the worst were to happen – fire. Though the city inhabitants trusted these men with their lives, the role was one of the lowliest of jobs (only executioner and grave digger was lower). The Night Watchman on the tour gave an entertaining account of the history of the town, and added his own funny anecdotes along the way.
Now don’t be fooled – this is still a tourist hub, so you’ll enjoy exploring best later in the evening once the tour buses have gone. We did just that after a delicious dinner – and of course ended the day with a gelato.