Raul and Lauren’s third weekend together in Germany held a visit to a medieval town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber (“Red fortress above the Tauber [River]). The town, now of about 11,000 inhabitants, has been around since the tenth century, and its medieval buildings and city wall remain well-preserved, having mostly escaped WWII bombing. On Saturday morning, the 20th of July, they bought a special Bavaria train ticket which gave them a discount for travel within the state. After a couple station changes, they arrived in Rothenburg and walked underneath the city wall to the old town. Lauren had reserved them a room in Gästehaus Raidel, a quirky and immensely charming 600-year-old house run by a very dear old man. The layout of their room was unlike anything they had seen before, with a low-ceilinged ante-chamber that housed a sink, mirror, chair, and wardrobe. The main room with a double bed had small windows looking out onto neighboring rooftops and featured a desk which they used for their laptop. A narrow study off the bedroom held a tiny window, chair, and tabletop running between the two walls. The toilet was in a little room behind the study, and the shower and a second sink were in a separate bathroom. It was all a little dusty and sported a few cobwebs on the ceilings, but it was quite cozy and the ambiance added to its medieval charm.
After dropping their backpacks, the travellers sauntered up a shop-lined street toward the main square, stopping to sample some sweets from a pastry shop. There were many tourists about, a majority of whom were Americans, for an American high school band was performing in the square that day. Rothenburg has become a popular tourist destination, but many are day-trippers, so the evenings are less crowded. They walked around the city and admired the centuries-old buildings, enjoying especially the trip around the city’s ramparts which encircle it for over a mile. They had a great Italian meal which served as another confirmation of the superiority of immigrant cooking for ethnic food. Saturday evening held a tour with the famous Rothenburg Night Watchman. He dresses up in medieval costume for his role and leads groups of tourists on a semi-historical circuit of the town, highlighting the city’s developments and declines. It was a thoroughly unique and enjoyable tour, and Raul and Lauren hope to repeat it in the future with their families and friends.
The next day, the expatriates hiked down through a forest and along a river to a small town where they had brunch at a beer garden (yes, they’re even open early Sunday mornings!). Raul had some kind of coffee cake and picked out a delicious cheesecake for Lauren. The hike back up to Rothenburg was steep but shady. After catching a train back to Munich, they ended up in Münchner Freiheit for dinner at an Italian place, also staffed by Italian immigrants. They took their meal at a sidewalk table and enjoyed the pleasant evening and slow pace of life in Munich.
The third week together was full of activities. Both Lauren and Raul viewed separate apartments on Monday evening in an attempt to find a permanent place to live. They have their current apartment only till mid-September. Tuesday evening was much more enjoyable, for Raul’s colleague Ross invited them to a beer garden with him, his girlfriend, and four of their friends. Raul and Lauren greatly enjoyed their company. They purchased a pretzel and Obazda, but Ross’s friends brought their own picnic fare. Thursday evening saw a stroll around Münchner Freiheit once again, with the particular reason of visiting the delicious ice cream shop there.