Fresh out of college, I was having trouble finding a job in America during a bad economy and with the vague B.A in Writing and Communications. Then, an opportunity to stay/work in a hotel in Germany presented itself. Much to the chagrin of my parents, I jumped at the chance! I went to the Goldener Hirsch because a friend that I had made in Australia was dating the daughter of the owner. Now, I no longer speak with him because our friendship did not end well (in fact, I’m slightly tickled to see some reviews that mention him. I know it’s him because they said he was rude), but the hotel really is lovely and worth a peek, if not a stay.
The city itself is on the renowned Romantic Road, reasonably near major cities like Wurzburg and Munich. (Here are directions if you’re interested!) Because it is so close to these major destinations, people just make a day trip of it! That’s enough to see the major sites like the clocktower (which was a bit of a letdown, if we’re being honest. It’s nowhere near Prague’s), the walls, and the Tauber River Valley… but it isn’t enough to really get a feel of this gem. Rothenburg is one of many top sites in Bavaria! So if you’re keen to see, make sure to make your own walking tour of Rothenberg!
1. Fantastic History
It is one of the few medieval walled cities left! It managed to survive WWII because an American and a Nazi negotiated to not bomb it because it’s too fabulous (way to go American General’s mother for telling him how fabulous it was!). It also managed to survive an invasion during the Thirty Years War!
2. Old School Festival
I was lucky enough to be here during the annual Imperial Festival! The whole town gets decked out in very authentic looking costumes. Men with long pikes “stormed” my hotel and wouldn’t leave until I gave them beer! They then carted off a maid on their shoulders (admittedly, it was all in good fun now, but I imagine that was not a fun thing historically, which now makes it a bit of a bummer :/ )
There were also areas to listen to music and to play the games of yore! They had all of these tents set up with food and frivolity. I feel like it’s everything that the Renaissance Fair wanted to be, but never could be.
Wow, that picture is terrible. I feel like you can see why I decided to upgrade my camera!
3. Sick Story of Invasion Survival
Ok, I’m paraphrasing a lot here, but here’s the low down. So when General Tilly’s forces invaded, the Germans were forced to serve them their wine. Well, apparently since it was a group of men who were drinking, there was a lot of teasing going on. Basically, the Germans said that the men were drinking very “daintily” and “unmanly.” So of course, there was a drinking contest. The General was *so* sure of himself, that he agreed to withdraw ALL forces, if ANYone in the city could down THREE LITERS of wine. In one sitting. All of it. Without spilling it. Had that man never met a German before?Not all heroes wear capes. Except I guess it kinda looks like he’s wearing a cape here. So maybe they do. Here comes ol’ Mayor Nusch to save the day and become ::drumroll:: the Meistertrunk. He drank all that wine, looked the General dead in the eye, and the General honored the agreement and left!
Legend has it that it took him 2 weeks to sleep it off.
Alright, so that’s mostly stuff to do on special days. What if you aren’t there during that time? I got you. There’s other way cool stuff.
Torture Crime Museum
I won’t put any pictures of this up because it was some pretty messed up stuff. You see all the devices that they used to shape behavior back then, AND the behaviors that they were trying to enforce. It was pretty intense. My favorite is that they would remove the roof of the house of a publicly fighting couple. They said that if a couple fought in public, they didn’t deserve privacy. I probably felt really connected to that because my stepfather removed my door when I was in High School because I had it locked one day. SMH.
5. Blood of Jesus?
Here’s where people make a major mistake. When you get into St. Jakob’s Church (pronounced Yak-ob if you’re having trouble finding it), there is a gorgeous altar covered in gold. Everyone assumes that that is the altar with the Holy Blood! False. It’s actually tucked away upstairs and in the back. In an altar totally made of intricately carved wood, there is a crystal. Inside that crystal is supposedly three drops of Christ’s blood. How about that.
6. Famous Christmas Store!
I think at this point everyone is aware that the Germans go nuts for over Christmas stuff. There is a store located very near the main square called the Kathe Wohlfahrt store. It is NOT to be missed! It is Christmas there YEAR. ROUND. Music, smells, sights, tastes. Christmas Galore! I won’t show you what the inside looks like. You should see for yourself! You’re welcome 🙂 If you’re interested but don’t want to go out there, there’s an American website too! (Here you can see where the stores are all around the world!)
He’s here to guard the store and crack some nuts… and he’s all done with guarding! 😛
7. Night Watchman’s Tour
This guy is HILARIOUS. He takes you through the city at dusk/night (which is the best time to do it because all the day tourists have gone!), tells you about the duties of a night watchman and interesting historical facts. I’m so glad to see that it’s still the same guy doing it 8 years later. Here’s the site for more info.
8. Beautiful Views of the Valley!
One reason I mildly suggest my old hotel is that it sits on the edge of the Tauber Valley, while still being central to all the important things in the city. You can also get some amazing view of the town if you climb the clocktower in the main square. It’s a lot of steps though, so put in that effort! You can work off all the schneeballs!
9. Great Walking Around!
The Tauber valley is named such because of the Tauber River that flows through it. Lots of gorgeous things to see and even vineyards!If you keep walking along, you’ll discover adorable houses that look medieval. They are out in the countryside so you know they are legit and not just a tourist trap!
Found some cute puppies to play with outside of these little delights.
10. Der Club!
If the Night Watchman tour and lack of droves of tourists isn’t enough to convince you, how about a pumping good time at a club? And it’s name is literally “The Club.” Gosh I miss Germans and their very precise names for things.
Unconfirmed… but there might be some Transformers here.
Just walk around! But really, just spending the 2-3 hours here you’d get for a day tour is not enough to feel the vibe and see the sites, and there are even more sites!
Also, unrelated… but do yourself a favor and get a doner kebab from the guy across the street from The Goldener Hirsch. It’s been years, and I still haven’t found a place with doners as good as that guy <3 And if you want to experience a local “treat,” there’s always the schneeball. It is a pastry that people either really like or everyone just tries it because they’re told to. I don’t know; I didn’t care for it, but maybe it’s like a rite of passage if you’re in R.o.d.T. There is definitely much better German food to try! Check the Wikipedia page if you want to read more about it. There’s really not that much information about it online. It’s basically a wad of dough that’s fried and covered in powdered sugar. It looks like a snowball, hence the Name.
Looking for more hidden gems in Germany? or a more in-depth guide to Rothenberg? Please explore this wonderful country!
[…] worked in the hotel lounge in a hotel in a day trip city, so often times it was pretty empty in there. During my down time, I read Harry Potter in English […]
[…] If you driving along the Romantic Road and wish to explore more this medieval stretch, consider visiting Rothenburg. Find out more about Rothenburg and why it is considered the jewel of the Romantic Road. […]
sadly I’ve not yet visited Rothenburg, but its top of my list! You’d struggle to find a city more beautiful and classic – great post 🙂
I hope you make it out there!
[…] From Carly of Flight of the Educator. Read more: Why Rothenburg o.d. Tauber is Worth More Than a Day Trip […]
The Crime museum sounds really interesting! When my parents used to ground me for stuff when I was a kid, I always complained that the punishment didn’t fit the crime. Well, removing the roof of the house of a publicly fighting couple definitely fits the crime. The Imperial Festival looks like it’d be a ton of fun!
Rothenburg looks fabulous. It allows you to step right back into the medieval times and relive them! I love the look of the buildings and landmarks here as well as learning more about its interesting history.
When I lived there, it felt like I was living in a postcard!
I love the festivals. I always end up staying a little longer to catch the festivals
I love themes!
The story of the invasion is great and also the background on how you came to stay there haha! I studied Eng Lit, so I feel your pain!
I may have paraphrased a bit 😀
I’d love to visit Rothenburg during the festival. It would be such a hoot! A medieval torture museum? Ha! What will they think of next. Was it really gruesome?
It was so much fun! Way better than Medieval Times! What was insane about the torture museum was that it was all real!
Totally agree with you, but I think almost every city deserves more than one day! Great explanation of the Schneeball, although I’d be careful. Last time I had it, my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I ended up getting really sick!
That’s totally a fair point. Did you hear about that woman that’s trying to be the youngest woman to go to all the countries? I think it’s awesome, but at the same time feel like she’s rushing! Almost, what’s the point!? But back to Schneeballs, I didn’t even finish the one that I got haha. Very sugary!
Rothenburg is Rick Steves’ favorite medieval town, and it is known as the most German of German towns.
That photo on your German book is the most photographed place in the whole country.
You left out that Kaisers had stayed at the Goldener Hirsch. They even showed us which bathtub they used. (Of course, per European ways, it is the self-same tub. Why throw out something that still works?
I’d love to see the photo of the backwards toilet — the one with the hole in the front and no water so your #2 just lays there like a stinkin’ turd instead being nicely covered by water, as in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
I’d forgotten about the Kaisers! I’m thinking of a whole post dedicated to hilarious bathrooms!
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