On one of our days of exploring Germany, one where we weren’t just on foot around our little town but instead were able to take a car and travel, we sort of did a tour of medieval walled cities of Germany. Or two of them, anyway, which are located along what has been named “The Romantic Road” of Germany. The first of those was Dinkelsbuhl. I really wanted to see Dinkelsbuhl because I’d actually been there before, many years ago, when I was traveling with my college choir. We flew into Frankfurt and made our way down towards Vienna, where we were performing, and on the way we stayed in Dinkelsbuhl. I remembered it being pretty and charming, but as it turns out, it was even better than my memories. This tiny little city is, well, like something from a storybook. It is surrounded entirely by a wall, which was the medieval way of keeping safe- the original gated community, I suppose.
Merely by fabulous chance, we couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful day for our travels. It was a Sunday, and the weather was that perfect fall type where the sky is a deep blue, without a cloud in sight, the temperature somewhere in the high 70s, and just the right amount of crispness in the air. We went through Heidelberg, our first time to visit that city, and then continued along the Neckar River, ending up in what was decidedly not the Rothenburg we were looking for. Which is why the “ob der Tauber” matters. It means “on the Tauber”, and we were on the Neckar. Not to mention that we had found Rothenberg, not Rothenburg. Oops. Here is where we ended up:
Lovely, yes. Even idyllic. But not a walled city on the Romantic Road.
And so, after a kind German couple who had been hiking the nature trail near this spot set a straight, we continued on our way. I do wonder how much they laughed at us after we left. Fortunately, we hadn’t gone too far out of our way; we were merely on the scenic route instead. And what a scenic route it was. It put us in a lovely town called Eberbach right at lunchtime, so, naturally, we made the best of it. It was hard. As you can see.
Oh, and by the way- this is the town with the best playground that we came across in Germany, and that counts for a lot in our world.
Thus, after refreshments and a little playground time, we continued on to Dinkelsbuhl. I know I’ve said it before, but I have to say it again: this place is like something from a fairy tale. It is quite possibly the cutest town in the whole world; at the very least, it’s on the short list. Completely walled, and every building is painted a festive color. Huge church in the middle (I LOVE that), and cafes and bakeries everywhere. Of course the streets were cobbled. We wandered around for a while, ate something delicious at a bakery, and just enjoyed life in general.
After kicking around Dinkelsbuhl till nearly sunset, we were finally on our way to the correct Rothenburg. Now, I went here too when I was traveling in Germany in 1990, but I didn’t remember it at all, so I had no idea how truly beautiful this city is. It’s another walled medieval city, but it’s not just another walled medieval city (is there such thing? For crying out loud, I live in the US!) This place is unbelievable. And because I cannot describe how pretty it is, I will simply add photos. You’ve got to see this place to believe it, really.
We arrived in the evening, due to our wee detour. Which meant dinnertime! There is, of course, a common theme within our travels… finding good food.