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Less than 48 hours with Bill…

Bill got home from his latest TDY at about 7:00pm on Friday night. Unfortunately, he has to leave again this afternoon for another three nights in Bayern/Bavaria. At least it’s just part of the week. I hate it when he travels without me. ūüėČ March seems to be the worst month for business trips.

I was kind of hoping we could go out for lunch yesterday, but Bill had some errands to run, and the weather was kind of crappy. We had sun, but it was cold and windy. Today, we have a wintry mix. March in Germany is typically like this, with totally random weather. One day, it’ll be sunny and kind of warm. Another day, it’ll rain or snow, or there will be terrible wind. Friday we had wind so scary that Noyzi didn’t want to go outside. Then there are the days when we get sun, rain, snow, wind, and hail in the same few hours.

Anyway, the upshot is, as usual, my travel blog isn’t very interesting. I promise more engaging posts are coming soon. We have to go to Stuttgart at the end of the month, and that means if Arran is still with us, he will probably be boarded. Or maybe we’ll take him and board Noyzi. I hate to put Arran in boarding now, even though I know he’ll be well taken care of. He much prefers to be with us.

Speaking of Arran, he just had another chemo treatment the other day. He’s still pretty sparky and vibrant, although the tumor on his side is about the size of a large plum or a small peach. It doesn’t seem to hinder him much, although I have caught his scratching it a few times. He still eats, sleeps, wants to take walks, and even runs around sometimes. Again… he’s done amazingly well on the chemo, and totally surpassed all of our expectations. And the chemo has been affordable, and not that difficult for him to endure.

Of course, not all dogs react the way Arran has. We never had the chance to try chemo with our late dog, Zane, but I don’t think he would have done as well. The lymphoma he had appeared to be much more aggressive, and he wasn’t as strong as Arran is. Throughout his life, he had more health problems. Arran has always been very healthy and strong, having no problems with allergies or sensitive stomach issues.

In any case, you can see by the below video that Arran is still quite full of beans…

The boys were so happy to see Bill! So was I!

Meanwhile, Bill and I have been talking about places we might visit at some point soon. Most of the places we’re thinking about would probably require a plane ride. I haven’t flown since November 2019. I discovered some interesting places in the Baltics, for instance. Yes, we could drive, but it would take a long time. On the other hand, we drove to Germany from Sweden in the summer of 2019, so it’s doable. Just got to use a ferry for some places…

Sweet Noyzi from Kosovo… he’s come such a long way, and he’s absolutely adorable…

Noyzi just came in here and put his head on my thigh, asking for a pat on the head. He just had a much needed bath, and it wasn’t easy to get him in the tub. But once I got him in, he stood there and let me wash the stink off of him. He sure has become an adorable, lovable family member. Arran is being nicer to him, too. I think it’s because he knows that pretty soon, it’ll just be him here with us until another dog comes our way.

I don’t look forward to saying goodbye to Arran, but I am ready to travel again. This week, the most interesting things that happened were that I drove to the store and bought more beer… and they had a noticeable shortage of Hefeweizen. And then, I went to the vet with Arran for his chemo, and didn’t have to wear a face mask. That was notable. In fact, I wondered if I’d ever see the day.

Arran has another treatment on Wednesday… When I brought him home the other day, he actually ran around the house like a nut after I took him off the leash. Don’t ever let people tell you that chemo for dogs is like it is for humans. It’s definitely not.

The only other notable things that happened involve the sound system in our house. I finally managed to tame the four Echo Dots I bought, so they are programmed to play in groups. And I got a new HomePod, which I put behind the TV in our bedroom. The sound is a hell of a lot better on the TV now. It will make watching movies better. I might buy another one for the other TV. It’s that much improved.

Well, that about does it for today. Hopefully next weekend, I’ll have something more interesting to write about in my travel blog. Cheerio.

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Welcome home, Daddy!

Last night, at about 7:45 PM, Bill came home from his latest trip to Bavaria. Arran was on the bed, sound asleep, when Bill got in. He didn’t hear Bill come through the door, so he was genuinely surprised and delighted when Bill popped his head around the door and said hello. Noyzi had heard Bill and was parked on the rug next to the bed, eagerly awaiting his arrival.

Below is a quick video I made of the homecoming. We are treasuring these precious moments, as we know that soon, they will be part of the past.

Arran and Noyzi were as happy as I was to have Bill at home again. We all slept so well last night.

It does my heart good to see how happy Noyzi is to see Bill, too. These dogs give and receive so much love. It’s an honor to have them in our lives, even when they make messes or their farts smell like poop… ūüėČ We don’t regret giving chemo to Arran, though, because it’s given us precious time and more wonderful memories. It would have been nice if the chemo had worked for a long period of time than it has, but that would have probably meant that Arran would have gotten cancer at a younger age. I certainly don’t wish for that. We are happy with and grateful for the extra four months he’s gotten to spend with us so far.

Last night, we had a serious talk about what to do about Arran. I think we both feel that this bout of cancer is his method of exiting the mortal coil. So I think it’s unlikely that we’ll change what we’re doing in order to squeeze out more time. It will really hurt when the time comes to say goodbye, but it also means that eventually, we can offer a home to another dog who needs one. And that dog, just like all of the others we’ve had in our lives, will teach us and, hopefully, love us the way all of our dogs have.

Incidentally, I slept until 8:00 AM today, something I rarely do anymore. I definitely feel better.

Even with cancer, Arran is a beautiful dog with a gorgeous soul… and Noyzi has learned a lot from his “old man”.

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Austria is locking down… will Germany be next?

The local news in Germany has been all abuzz about the COVID-19 situation in Austria. Fed up and frustrated by the ever increasing numbers of people falling ill with the coronavirus, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced that Austria would be locking down for at least ten days. The lockdown will apply to everyone, vaccinated or not, and it means that Austrians will be asked to work from home and non-essential shops will close. Schools will remain open for children who require face-to-face learning. The measure will apply until December 12, and then the COVID situation will be reassessed at that point to determine if there should be another ten days of lockdown.

As I read the news yesterday, I realized how lucky Bill and I are that we managed to take our recent vacation and get through all of the countries unscathed. Croatia and Slovenia are considered “high risk” areas– higher risk than Austria was– but we didn’t interact with many people at all during our time there. I think the risk is mainly because fewer people are vaccinated, but the reality is, there aren’t that many people congregating in Slovenia or Croatia at this time of year and social distancing is actually super easy. That may change as winter approaches and people want to ski, at least in Slovenia.

Austria, on the other hand, was like 2019. During our trip, it wasn’t considered a “high risk” area. Masks were only required in grocery stores, on public transportation, and in healthcare facilities. I won’t lie. It was really nice. And, in fact, Salzburg and, to a lesser extent, Wels, were sort of “alive” with people, which was a morale booster. I’m not sure if the lax masking is the reason why this surge is happening. Germany is a lot stricter about masks, but people are still getting sick here, and the hospitals are full. Personally, I don’t think the masks are going to be what saves us. What needs to happen is mass immunity, and that will come as people get vaccinated and boosted, and others manage to recover from the illness. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people may get very sick and/or die in the process. The only way to avoid the risk is by staying away from other people.

Austria has also taken the unusual step of requiring everyone to get vaccinated by February 2022. Frankly, I don’t think that’s a bad decision. It’s certainly groundbreaking. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t agree with forcing people to do things, particularly when it involves healthcare. However, communicable diseases are different. With my background in public health, I already know that there are some public health situations that require detaining people who put others at risk. On my main blog, I have written about how I think COVID-19 could eventually become an illness like tuberculosis. If you get TB and you refuse to get treated, you can and will be detained so that you don’t threaten other people. Many of us are really sick and tired of COVID-19, and the way it’s disrupting normal living. It’s also costing the world’s economies a lot in lost business, and like it or not, money matters. I don’t think people should be surprised if the rules become more draconian in an effort to get rid of the scourge.

Bavarian state premier, Markus S√∂der, who is a champion of the dreaded FFP2 masks for everyone, everywhere, has already declared a “de facto lockdown for the unvaccinated”. All of the Christmas markets have been cancelled, and all bars and clubs will be closed for the next three weeks. In areas where “weekly incidence rates top 1,000 per 100,000 people – restaurants, hotels, sport and culture will also close.” I believe the rules in Germany recently changed, as Angela Merkel plans to leave office. Now, they’re letting the states decide, rather than the federal government. I think I might enjoy the incoming government. I read that they’re also considering making recreational cannabis use legal. I never thought I’d see the day. I have limited experience with pot, having only tried it in The Netherlands a few years ago. But I did enjoy the experience…

I will not be the least bit surprised if other countries take a similar approach against the virus. It really sucks that this is happening, since Christmas is approaching. I do have some hope, though, because this year, at least there are vaccines. Some medications are also being developed to treat COVID-19– legitimate ones, rather than hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin. Historically speaking, pandemics always end at some point. So I continue to hold out hope that this one will end eventually… COVID-19 is a terrible illness, but it’s probably not even the worst humankind has faced, and nowadays, we have a lot more and better technology, which will continue to evolve out of necessity.

But yes… I sure am glad Bill and I managed to take our trip, enjoy ourselves, and emerge unscathed. We were very lucky. If there’s one thing COVID-19 has done for me, it’s make me a lot more appreciative of being able to travel.

Bill has been in Warsaw, Poland all this week, sadly missing our 19th anniversary at home. He brought home a few things for me last night. It would have been nice if I could have gone with him, but the COVID situation makes it dangerous. In fact, we were supposed to see James Taylor in Frankfurt in February, but he had to postpone his stop in Frankfurt until next November. With any luck, we’ll still be here and alive in November 2022. We’re supposed to see Keb’ Mo’ in May of 2022… but the tickets I bought were for a show that was supposed to happen on November 16, 2020– our 18th anniversary. So far, it’s been postponed three times. So we’ll see if we manage to see James in November 2022. I hope so. We have second row seats.

I was thinking maybe we’d go somewhere to celebrate our anniversary, now that Bill’s home… but I think we’re going to be locked down again very soon. So maybe we’ll just stay home and fuck or something. Just kidding… it’s more likely that we’ll turn on music, light a fire, and drink wine.

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Part six– Ten things I learned!

Whenever I visit a new place, I like to make a list of ten things I learned to sum everything up.  We only got a few short days in Rothenburg, but I feel like I know more now than I did on Friday.  So here’s a list of ten things I know now that I didn’t know a week ago.

Damn right.

10.  Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a must see if you are posted/based in Germany!

Seriously… it’s tragic that we never got to this town when we were here the first time.  It’s also tragic that it’s taken over three years this time to make it there.  It’s absolutely a gorgeous town… probably one of the coolest places I’ve found in Germany yet.  And I am developing quite a list of “cool German towns”, too.  Yes, it’s a tourist destination, but if you go during the low season, you can enjoy low prices and smaller crowds.  It’s also at the top of the Romantic Road, which makes it a prime spot to start a German themed road trip.  Summer vacation anyone?

9.  You didn’t want to break the law during medieval times!

The folks who lived in Rothenburg were God fearing, churchgoing people and if you were immoral, they would take it out of your ass… possibly literally!  A visit to the Criminal Museum is a must if you want to know more.  It’s very extensive and well done and all of the explanations include English translations.  Afterwards, you can visit the cafeteria for coffee and a Schneeball.

8.  Huge Asian tour groups like to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course… it just might help to be prepared because even in January, there were a lot of them visiting and they tend to travel in large groups.

7.  Being inside of Rothenburg’s walls can make you feel like you’re in a different time and place.

As we were leaving Rothenburg this morning, I remarked to Bill that once we drove out of the walled area, it was back to normal life in Germany.  There’s nothing wrong with that, either, but it is a bit strange after you’ve been surrounded by medieval charm for a few days.  Rothenburg is a super cute town and it will make you forget what century you’re in.

6.  Rothenburg is great for families and besties, as well as romantic couples.

If I had girlfriends to go on trips with, I would put Rothenburg on the list of places to see.  It’s really got a lot of appeal, especially if you like shopping and eating in restaurants.  A girl could have a field day finding cute stuff to feather the ‘ol nest with.  Fortunately, Bill is a good sport.  If you want to, you can take an English tour of the city.  It starts at eight o’clock every night and costs eight euros.  We didn’t do it this time, but if we have a chance to go back, we will definitely take the tour and learn more about the city and its fascinating history.

5.  Rothenburg is not far away from Stuttgart.

If you really wanted to, you could simply spend a day there.  It takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to get there from the Stuttgart area, depending on traffic and what part you’re coming from.  The ride is almost all on the Autobahn.  It would make a great day trip for those so inclined, although frankly I would rather spend the night, or really, the whole weekend.

4.  Anno 1499 is a great place to stay, especially if you have dogs.  

I may end up kicking myself for telling everyone about it.  I have a feeling it’s going to be booked a lot in the coming weeks.  I am adding it to my list of places I can go when I have to get out of Stuttgart.

3.  You can buy Scottish goods in Rothenburg.  You can also buy “Schneeballen”.

I know the Germans love Scotland and so do I.  It’s nice to know I don’t have to go there if I need a retail fix, although I always love having a reason to go to one of my ancestral homelands.  After shopping for Scottish duds, it’s fun to eat one of the locally made “Schneeballen”, a ball shaped pastry known and produced in the area.

2.  There is a fantastic sushi restaurant in Rothenburg.

And if you want to eat at Louvre Japanese Restaurant, particularly during the busy months or on Friday or Saturday nights, you should make a reservation.  It’s a popular place with limited seating and absolutely delicious, fresh food.  There are apparently other great restaurants we missed this time.  I will have to rectify that next time we have a chance to visit.

1.  It costs 1.200 euros to get your name on the wall of the city…  

Or so my German friend, Susanne, says…  I trust her, because she’s proven time and again that she’s a quick, diligent, and accurate researcher.

 
I wish we’d had a chance to visit “Hell”…  Yesterday was their Ruhetag, though.  Despite the devilish theme, they get great ratings.  Next time we visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber, we will make a point to stop in.  It’s very close to the Criminal Museum, which you can’t miss.
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Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Part five– Sadistic punishments and one last dinner!

We were finished with lunch at the Louvre Japanese Restaurant just around the time the Criminal Museum opened for the afternoon. ¬†During the low season, it’s only open for a few hours in the afternoon. ¬†However, if you have any interest in crime and punishment, especially during the medieval era, I would highly recommend visiting the Criminal Museum. ¬†It’s very large and extensive. ¬†We spent over an hour in there and we didn’t read everything. ¬†If you take your time and read all there is, you can easily spend a couple of hours looking at exhibits and learning about the ways people of a bygone era dealt with those who committed offenses.

Below are some pictures I took of some of the more interesting exhibits.  Suffice to say, you had to stay on a straight and narrow path to avoid being publicly humiliated, tortured, or executed.

The outside of the museum. ¬†It’s connected to a church and we heard the organ playing as we passed it before the museum opened.

Pillories, where many people were forced to endure public shaming.
“Paddy wagons” with bars on them.
This is a spiked chair– obviously a torture device for people who needed correction.

Throughout the museum, there were cool little exhibits that reminded me of dollhouses.  They showed how people were punished.  Another showed how kids in school were disciplined.

The two above pictures were taken in the very extensive exhibit about the original Martin Luther and the many witch hunts that took place in medieval times.

An executioner’s cloak.

A drunk tank.  Men who drank too much were forced to wear this barrel, sometimes weighted down for extra punishment.

One of many masks worn by people who needed to be shamed.  This one was an especially nasty one.

The above photos depict an exhibit showing how children in school were punished.

 

An iron maiden.

As a musician, I got a kick out of this device, meant to shame bad musicians.

Admission to the museum is 7,50 euros per adult. ¬†I thought it was well worth the price because it’s so extensive and everything is translated into several languages. ¬†It looked like a number of young kids were also enjoying the exhibits. ¬†We ran into one couple who were telling their sons about the double “violins” people wore that basically yoked two people together who couldn’t get along. ¬†They were forced to wear the device until they stopped fighting.

Another exhibit explained how couples who fought could be shamed. ¬†If a man let his wife beat him, the roof of his house could be torn off. ¬†He and his wife would be publicly punished and they were forced to give their neighbors a tankard of wine. ¬†Premarital sex was also a no no and violators were publicly shamed. ¬†They weren’t allowed to marry in a church. ¬†Instead, they had to marry in an inn. ¬†Later, the husband would go to jail while the wife spent some time in a pillory.

After the Criminal Museum, we went back to Anno 1499 and enjoyed a little CNN and a brief rest.  Bill got some love from our dogs, who were enjoying getting to vacation with us.

Zane isn’t much of a kisser, but when he does kiss you, he does it on the nose.

We decided to have dinner in town, even though I was kind of full from lunch. ¬†Originally, we were going to try an Italian place we saw on Saturday. ¬†I kind of wish we’d done that, since it was rated #1 on Trip Advisor. ¬†Instead, we went to a German restaurant at Hotel Reichskuechenmeister, a place about a block from the Marktplatz. ¬†On the way there, I took more pictures…

More Schneeballen and other baked goodies.

This time of year is nice, if only because it’s dead on a Sunday night and I can get some good night pictures.

Stop right here!  Your dream job (at a bank) awaits!

We decided to eat at the Hotel Reichskuechenmeister because it smelled good.  When we walked inside, I could see the place was pretty full, which is always a good sign.  A waiter opened a small dining room on the side for us.  Although I was tempted by a pasta dish with scallops and shrimps, I decided to have fried carp.  Bill went with goulash made with venison.

Substantial salad I shared with Bill.  It came with my fish.

Bill listens intently as I flap my gums at him. ¬†He’s a good sport. ¬†I had to use the ladies room, which involved taking the elevator to where the guest rooms are. ¬†I guess their public restrooms are being renovated or something because they had what looked like a tiny single hotel room set up as a WC. ¬†They placed a Schrank so that you couldn’t access the room, but I could see it was very small and had a traditional Bavarian twin sized bed in it.

I enjoyed the presentation of my fried carp. ¬†It was position to look like it was jumping out of water. ¬†It tasted good, too… very fresh. ¬†However, there were a lot of bones.

Bill liked his hearty goulash, which included cranberry sauce and spatzle, as well as the dreaded mushrooms I hate.  He had a dark beer with his dinner while I had a glass of locally produced Sylvaner, a crisp white Riesling.

Outside by the front door… ¬†I think we spent about fifty euros on dinner. ¬†It was a pleasant experience. ¬†Next time, we will have to visit the Italian place where we were originally headed.

And a few more window displays…

My last post in this series will be my traditional “what I learned” post… ¬†Stay tuned!

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Rothenburg ob den Tauber: Part four– Sushi, Sunday services, and sunshine!

Sunday morning, we woke up feeling great. ¬†Because we took it easy Saturday night, we were well-rested. ¬†My little dietary indiscretion at Roter Hahn successfully ran its course (literally) and as a bonus, we had sunshine! ¬†One of Bill’s co-workers told him about a great sushi restaurant called Louvre, located in Rothenburg. ¬†It’s been ages since we last had sushi and even longer since we got to enjoy it while sitting in a restaurant. ¬†I knew I didn’t want anything heavy for lunch, so Louvre seemed like the perfect choice for Sunday’s midday meal.

A sunny picture of the brewery.

But first, we took another stroll around the city and visited areas we missed on Saturday. ¬†The weather was delightful. ¬†I’m told it was grey and cloudy in Stuttgart on Sunday, so I am equally grateful we got such pleasant weather. ¬†Rothenburg is pretty when it’s cloudy, but it’s even more gorgeous when the sun lights up all the gold hardware on the signs and rooftops. ¬†It looks like a showplace. ¬†Below are some pictures I took on our lengthy walk around town.

Although Rothenburg is a tourist friendly city, like everywhere else in Germany, things close on Sundays… at least during the low season. ¬†I did notice Der Schottenladen had Sunday hours posted on its Web site, but they were not open yesterday. ¬†Still, one can window shop all day…

This tower is close to Louvre, a lovely Japanese restaurant…

This is Louvre. ¬†It wasn’t quite ready to open when I took this photo. ¬†Japanese cuisine is served, but there’s art on the walls. ¬†I guess that’s why they call it Louvre!

I’m so glad the sun came out so I could get these pictures of the beautiful countryside. ¬†It reminded me a little of Asheville, NC.

At about 11:30am, we arrived back at Louvre. ¬†We were the first customers of the day. ¬†We quickly learned that it’s a good idea to make a reservation if you want to eat at this place. ¬†Not only is it popular, it’s also very small. ¬†The dining area only accommodates a small group of people at a time. ¬†We noticed there were a couple of reserved tables, though fortunately, there were a few tables left open.

An adorably tiny Japanese lady took our order, bowing and smiling the whole time and very courteously correcting us when we murdered the Japanese pronunciations of the dishes we ordered. ¬†Although we had sushi, we noticed they had several options available that weren’t sushi. ¬†One of the groups who came in after us were having ramen, soup, and other cooked delights. ¬†We were very happy to eat sushi, though. ¬†It was fresh and delicious and very inexpensive!

Bill checks out the menu.  It was hard to make a decision!

I liked Bill’s “Kin” dish better than my “Dai” dish… ¬†His sushi came with fried shrimp!

That salmon sashimi was so fresh… and the tuna and avocado rolls were a bit spicy. ¬†I really enjoyed this lunch, even if I did overload on protein a bit. ¬†

I liked the tables at the restaurant. ¬†I didn’t get a picture of our booth, but it was set in cement blocks like the one pictured above.

This was the painting hanging by our table.  There is artwork all over the dining room to go with the beautifully prepared sushi rolls.

We enjoyed Japanese beer, too.  Nice change of pace!

 

All told, I think our lunch came to about twenty-five euros.  It was probably the cheapest of the meals we had in Rothenburg and definitely the most enjoyable!  Next time we visit Rothenburg, we will have to go back to Louvre.

Just beyond the arches is a lovely park.

We also visited St. Jakob’s Church, a Lutheran place of worship. ¬†Their services were to start at 2:30pm, so we were able to tour the church. ¬†We paid five euros to go in, but were allowed to take pictures and take an informative leaflet that was printed in several languages. ¬†There was also a guide there who was telling visitors about the church, but he was speaking German.

Oh, how I love the sound of a pipe organ… ¬†My mom was a church organist for over fifty years and every time I hear an organ, I think of her. ¬†She is still living, but stopped playing organ about ten years ago.

Pull my finger… ¬†obviously, a lot of people have judging by how shiny it is.

After lunch, we decided to check out the Criminal Museum.  More on that in the next part.

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Rothenburg ob den Tauber: Part three– Shopping, sausages, Schweinshaxe, Schneeballen, and strolling the wall…

Saturday morning, I woke up with a red wine headache.  After taking some Advil, drinking some fluids, and eating a little breakfast scored at the very closeby Edeka, I was ready to go see this famous town I’d heard and read so much about over the years.  Since my purse strap broke, I decided to simply bring along a few bare necessities.  I have to admit, it was weirdly liberating not to carry my big purse with me.  I tend to overload it with all kinds of junk and it rarely gets cleaned out.  That’s probably why the strap broke.

This tower is located very close to Anno 1499.  You can climb the stairs and walk along the wall, which will pass the back of the house.  You get a bird’s eye view of the little courtyard.

 

This archway is to the senior assisted living center where Anno 1499’s hostess works as a nurse.  It’s just across the street from the rental house.

We walked just a short way down Spitalgasse when I spotted a shop that had a few nice looking men’s sportsjackets on display.  Upon closer inspection, I recognized the jackets as being from Scotland.  Since I am a sucker for all things Celtic, Bill and I decided to go inside the shop, where we were helped by its proprietor.  I don’t know for certain, but I think he might have been a fellow American who now lives here in Germany with his wife and their kids.  He certainly spoke like an American.  The name of his shop, which he said he and his wife took over a couple of years ago, is Der Schottenladen.

Der Schottenladen… great Scottish goods in Germany!

It’s not so often that I go crazy shopping in retail stores anymore.  Like so many other people, I tend to buy a lot of stuff online.  But it wasn’t long at all before I found myself fingering a beautiful wool sweater.  I didn’t actually need a new sweater, but I am a sucker for certain shades of blue.  I also picked up a handmade purse made by an artisan in Aberdeen, and a pair of earrings (again, not something I needed, but simply couldn’t resist).  The proprietor turned out to be interesting to talk to. He said he goes to Scotland at least once a year.  His small shop was crammed with authentic fashions, bottles of whisky, kilts, and lovely gifts.  Almost everything was on sale, too!  Although it was a little weird to be buying Scottish stuff in Germany, I have to say I enjoyed that shop very much.  Bill also tried on a few jackets, but unfortunately, they didn’t have any in his size.  Maybe next time.

Scottish loot from Der Schottenladen in Rothenburg.

We decided to take my new duds back to Anno 1499, even though the proprietor kindly offered to hold them for us.  Afterwards, we walked back toward the Marktplatz.  I happened to notice something that looked promising– a view of some sort.  We turned down an alleyway and within seconds of encountered a lovely pastoral view, we were joined by a huge group of Chinese tourists who seemed to have a distinct herd mentality.  They all kind of crowded in and didn’t seem to want to yield so Bill and I could get out of the group.

Once we got to the Marktplatz, we hung a right and walked down another busy street full of cute shops.  We walked until we encountered what was probably the eastern edge of the impressive wall that surrounds Rothenburg.  You are allowed to climb the steps and walk the wall.  It costs nothing and offers some great views of the city, as well as the names of people who donated to the cause.

Every time I see this town advertised, I see the famous building to the right.  It’s now a brewery.  We didn’t have a chance to stop in.  Maybe next time.

I managed to take a few pictures before we were enveloped by a large tour group…

Bill looks amused…

As I sneak a shot of the big group of tourists who overwhelmed us…

 

Here are a few more scenes from Rothenburg on Saturday.  I could have spent a couple of days just checking out the cute businesses everywhere.

A view from on the wall.  It’s covered and protected from winds coming from outside of the town.

I imagine these people donated money to repair or restore the wall…

This is the courtyard in the house we rented.  Too bad the weather didn’t lend itself to sitting out there with a beer.

We followed the wall all the way to the tower that appears first in this post.  That was the one located just outside of our rental house, Anno 1499.

You can’t come to Rothenburg and not notice a local specialty pastry called “Schneeballen”.  There are a number of Konditoreis that make these.  We picked up a couple of mini versions of them so we could try them.

Schneeballen (snowballs).  Speciality in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

 

After we walked the wall, it was time for lunch.  I was wanting German food for some reason, so we decided to stop in at Roter Hahn, which is also a hotel.  The restaurant is kind of quaint, with stereotypically charming Bavarian decor.  As soon as we sat down, it became obvious that we were not the only Americans in the place.  A couple of American ladies, also evidently living here in Germany, were at the next booth having lunch.  One of them apparently never learned about using her indoor voice.

In the course of an hour, I learned all about the house she owns in San Antonio, her decorative preferences, how much the house cost, her favorite San Antonio communities, her husband’s nursing job at Ramstein, her many travels in Europe, and her request to split the check, which was apparently denied.  Seriously, people, I don’t mean to be bitchy, but please have a little situational awareness when you go out to eat.  Voices can carry.  Besides being rude, that kind of inconsideration for other people can put you at risk by making you conspicuous to those who are up to no good (like obnoxious bloggers, America haters, or petty thieves).  On the other hand, we did move here from San Antonio, so in a way, hearing about that town was kind of nostalgic.

Bill listens to the American ladies who lunch talking about their design choices…

I decided to have my pork knuckle.  It tasted okay, but I paid for it later…

And a little potato salad on the side… more than I could eat.

Bill went with the Frankish sausages.  They were very good and came with fresh bread and sauerkraut.  I think I liked his sausages better than my Schweinshaxe, which was a bit overdone and tough.

We split a “Schneeball” for dessert.  Unlike the local pastry, this was simply vanilla ice cream with a cookie topping, forest fruits, and a little whipped cream.

 

I had an okay impression of Roter Hahn until I got up to use the restroom.  The ladies room reeked of stale urine, which I found very off putting.  I had to go into the hotel lobby to get to the bathroom and it smelled of stale cigarette smoke.  Also, when we asked for a box for my inevitable leftovers, the waitress acted like it was an imposition.  When she brought it to us, she said it was the last one they had (and this is my problem?).  I don’t think I’d eat at Roter Hahn again, especially since we apparently missed the best restaurants in the city.

The outside of Roter Hahn.  Directly across the street is the Criminal Museum, which we visited on Sunday.


We thought about visiting the Criminal Museum, which is across the street and is open daily from 1:00pm until 4:00pm during the off season.  Unfortunately, lunch was sitting kind of heavy on my stomach.  It was also kind of cloudy outside, which makes me feel like hibernating.  So we made our way back to the house, with a few stops on the way… 

First, we went inside this sign shop because I had to have the sign directly over the Corn Flakes sign. It says in German, “In Heaven, there is no beer.  That’s why we drink it here.”  

Next, we stopped at a bakery to get some Schneeballen and a piece of cake, which I still need to eat.

 

After we bought our pastries, we stopped at a wine shop and bought some locally produced wines as well as a pretty stoneware wine pitcher.  Right after we bought the wine, we were treated to a surprise performance by a group of Cuban drummers.  I took a video.

They have the beats down…

Finally, we stopped to pick up some local beer.  I am drinking one right now.  Not bad!

That about did it for Saturday’s adventures.  Unfortunately, the heavy lunch made me feel kind of bloated and icky and I didn’t eat or really drink anything for the rest of the day.  Fortunately, I was much better on Sunday and we had a great sunny day.  More on that in my next post.

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Part two– Eating Greek food and wearing Greek wine…

Friday night, after we checked into the amazing Anno 1499, Bill and I ventured out for dinner.  It was bitter cold and just a little ways into our stroll, the strap on my purse broke.  Oh well… as we passed the beautiful window displays in the stores on the main drag, I knew I’d be able to shop for a new one.  There were quite a few tour buses with many Asians aboard.  One was loading up as we strolled through the town, looking for a place to eat.  Just like Hallstatt in Austria, Rothenburg is obviously popular with Chinese and Japanese tour groups.  We ran into quite a lot of them over the weekend.

Christmas is big in Rothenburg… lots of Christmas shops are there.

Nighttime near the Markplatz.

Alice in Wonderland quote on a hotel door.

Another lovely window display…  this is a great town for anyone who likes window shopping!

We passed a Greek restaurant on our way toward the Marktplatz.  I had originally been wanting German food, but suddenly Greek food seemed more appealing.  Since I was freezing and annoyed by having to carry my purse rather than slinging it over my shoulder, we decided to turn around and try the Greek place.  It was called Kreta and located on Spitalgasse, the same street our rental house was located.  We arrived rather early, so there was only one other couple in the place when we sat down.

I ordered gyros with calamari and Bill had plain gyros, both of which came with salads.  As usual, we also ordered red wine and sparkling water.  This is where things went a bit awry.  Because Bill wanted two glasses of the same wine, the waiter suggested that we get a half liter, which came in a small pitcher.  Instead of putting the glasses down on the table and pouring the wine, our waiter chose to try to pour it while balancing the glasses on his tray.  Having waited tables before myself, I couldn’t help but think he was courting disaster. Sadly, I was right.

As the waiter poured the wine, the glasses pitched forward and fell onto the table, where one shattered, splashing red wine all over the place and spraying shards onto the table and carpet.  Fortunately the wine didn’t actually get on Bill or me– except maybe a few spare drops.  The waiter and the bartender cleaned up the mess with minimal help from Bill and me.  Meanwhile, our salads came out while the bartender went to get us more wine and new glasses.

A well deserved shot of ouzo after a disastrous first wine service attempt.

Nice salad, although I didn’t have much time to try it before our main courses were served.

My gyros and calamari with fries.  I could have had rice instead if I had wanted that.

Bill’s gyros.

The sign outside.

Greek pop music played and the waiter, who had a surprisingly decent voice, sang along.  We enjoyed the food, although no one else came in while we were eating.  It’s definitely low season in Rothenburg right now, though it wasn’t totally dead there.  A number of businesses had signs up indicating that they are going to be closed until mid March.  I wasn’t surprised because Ribeauville, France was the same way last year during MLK weekend.  This is when the hard working folks in touristy areas take a break.

We had a little more wine after dinner, then went back to the house and watched German TV before going to bed.  Since we don’t get German cable at our house, I always enjoy watching it when we travel, if only so I can note the differences (and inevitable similarities) in programming and advertising.  I slept very well Friday night!

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Part one– amazing digs!

It’s Martin Luther King Day and Bill and I have just come back from visiting a place that has been on my bucket list for years. ¬†A few years ago, I even drew the name of this place out of my champagne bucket; we were actually “supposed” to visit in 2014, but for some reason, our plans to get there got put on the back burner. ¬†I’m writing of the beautifully preserved walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Bavaria, Germany.

My very first view of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Rothenburg is located not far from Ansbach, which is a town that has the distinction of being one of the places where Bill served his very first assignment in Germany (the other was Vilseck). ¬†He has often spoken of Rothenburg during our fifteen years of marriage, making me want to see it. ¬†Now that he’s been there and seen how beautiful it is, he says he’s not sure if he actually ever did go there before this past weekend. ¬†Rothenburg is the kind of place that won’t slip your memory and he was surprised by how cool a place it is.

Because we find ourselves having to bring our dogs with us on a lot of our trips, I have to look for pet friendly accommodations. ¬†Because we have beagle mixes and they can be loud, I have to find places where it won’t be a problem if they make noise. ¬†I managed to book a fantastic place in Rothenburg. ¬†As usual, I consulted Booking.com and it was there that I found a house called Anno 1499.

Folks, it’s not often that I gush about a property, but I feel like I have to about this house, which is located just inside the medieval walls of Rothenburg and dates back to the year 1499. ¬†It truly had every comfort we could have ever wanted. ¬†I was a little unsure about how successful this rental would be, since I could see that the house was in a row that shared walls with the next property. ¬†I can now say that wasn’t a problem. ¬†In fact, I think this might have been our most carefree pet friendly rental yet.

We arrived in Rothenburg at about 4:00pm.  Our hostess, who spoke a little English, told Bill where to find the keys to the house.  They are kept in a code activated safe outside, making it easy for renters to access the house.  Unfortunately, Bill still had some trouble finding the keys, so he had to call her.  She works as a nurse at the senior living facility right across the street, so she met us within about two minutes and let us into the house.  I am always nervous when I meet the landlord/landlady and I have my dogs.  I did not have to worry this time.  Our hostess warmly welcomed Zane and Arran!  Then she showed Bill a nearby spot where he could park all weekend for free!  Paid parking is also available at five euros a day.

Below are some pictures of this fabulous house…

The front door… ¬†excuse the shadow!

Living room. ¬†It has a couch, a television with German TV and CNN, a table and chairs, and a sliding door that opens to a small courtyard. ¬†We didn’t use the courtyard, but it would be very nice in better weather.

A view into the kitchen. ¬†It was fully equipped with a fridge, microwave, coffee maker, dishwasher, stove, and oven. ¬†There’s another table and chairs.

Washer and dryer.

A shot of the little courtyard. ¬†I wished we’d had weather that would have facilitated using this charming space, which you can see from the medieval wall located right behind the house.

One bedroom on the second floor.  It had a small double bed.

And a huge TV!

Behind the bedroom is an office with a daybed, a crib, and a desk.

Yes, the WiFi works well, except on the top floor.

Huge bathroom. ¬†The tub was amazing… nice and big and even had lighting controlled with a dimmer switch. ¬†The hostess also provides his and hers rubber duckies!

 

Top floor. ¬†Another sitting area with a couch and a small TV, as well as a CD “boombox”.

And another bedroom with a larger double bed…

TV number four.

Baby gate on the top floor.

The pretty door from the inside.  To the right (not pictured) is another bathroom that has a shower.

Adorable Bavarian touches…

 

The front of Anno 1499… ¬†At one point, someone’s cat got stuck on the roof. ¬†I’m not sure how it got up there or eventually got down, but evidently it did. ¬†Its owner knocked on our door and unsuccessfully tried to rescue it.

You would think this house would cost a bundle to rent. ¬†Well, I’m here to tell you that at least in January, this house is a steal. ¬†For three nights, we paid just 285 euros. ¬†And 60 euros of that went to taxes. ¬†We did not have to pay a security deposit or extra pet fees, either. ¬†I spent all weekend marveling at how reasonably priced this place was, yet how awesome it is to stay there. ¬†We paid our hostess in cash, as was required, and this morning when we left, we simply put the key on the kitchen table.

We could not have asked for a better place to stay and if we ever make it back to Rothenburg, I hope we can stay again. ¬†It truly was first rate. ¬†Adding to the house’s appeal is the fact that it’s only a five minute walk from the nearest Edeka. ¬†You walk out the gates, cross the street, and rejoin us in 2018… ¬†Or you walk the other way and stay in medieval bliss. ¬†I actually experienced a little culture shock this morning as we emerged from the town and I remembered what Germany looks like outside of the walls.

Regarding Rothenburg itself… well, I will be adding it to my list of places to go when I need to get out of Stuttgart and have to take the dogs with me. ¬†It really is a very cool town. ¬†I hope you’ll come along with me as I write up the rest of our trip in the posts to follow this one.

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President’s Day Weekend in Regensburg… Part 6

Sunday morning, we decided we were going to have breakfast somewhere other than the hotel.  We got up, got dressed, and ventured out in the the chilly weather in search of a good breakfast.  It seemed really dead in the city, but then Sundays in Germany are often pretty “chill”.  We went back to that restaurant where the really awesome buffet was on Saturday, but they weren’t open until 10:00am and Bill was hungry on account of losing his dinner the night before.  So we wandered around some more before we ended up at a really cute restaurant called Cafe Lila.

Cafe Lila!  A good bet for breakfast!

A pretty young woman behind the bar wished us a good morning as we took one of the few unreserved tables.  We paged through the menu and noticed they offered incarnations of breakfasts from around Europe.  They had a French breakfast, a German one, a Scandinavian one, and a Greek one, among others.  Bill chose the German breakfast, while I had the English breakfast.  I had to laugh at the American breakfast, which was about 9 euros and seemed to have everything in it but the kitchen sink!

Bill has coffee.  I have a perfect cappuccino and a small glass of what tasted like fresh squeezed orange juice.

Bill’s German breakfast had the usual cold cuts, cheese, and fruit, along with some very nice breads.  My English breakfast had fried eggs, bacon, baked beans, tomatoes, and toast.  It was very nice!

 

I wasn’t quite ready to leave after we ate, so I had an African cappuccino.  I think it was basically like a mocha.  It was delicious!  Bill had more coffee.

 

It was interesting to sit in Cafe Lila for awhile.  It’s obviously a popular place that offers a lot of vegetarian friendly food as well as stuff for us omnivores.  There were two guys sitting behind us who were deep in conversation over wheat beers.  Later, they switched to rum long drinks.  I like how no one cares if you drink during the morning in Bavaria.  We just took our time and soaked up the atmosphere for awhile, enjoying a leisurely Sunday morning.  We had a few snow flurries, but then the sun came out and it warmed up a bit.  We were able to take another walk around the city.

More graphic graffiti.

When it came time for lunch, we headed for another brewery.  This time, we visited the F√ľrstlichen Brauhaus, which is located in the former coach house of the F√ľrst von Thurn und Taxis palace.  Though by the time we got there it was about 1:00pm, we were still fortified from breakfast.  Bill wisely ordered a couple of wursts.  I opened for Wiener Schnitzel, which turned out to be humongous…

It was our waiter’s birthday, so he wore a sign on his back.  Curiously, it was in English.

 

Actually, this wasn’t quite as huge as it appeared.  The schnitzel was rather thinly cut and covered in pretzel crumbs.  I shared a lot with Bill.  The fries were outstanding!

Bill’s white sausages came in a pot of hot water scented with chives.  He also had a very fresh pretzel. 

 

And naturally, we washed it all down with beer.

 

I saw a lot of families having lunch at this brewpub.  One couple appeared to be out with their granddaughter, who smiled really big when their waiter brought her a very ornate ice cream sundae!  I was very charmed by that scene.

A few shots around the courtyard.  I saw the food runner leaving the restaurant with what appeared to be a leash.  I also heard a dog bark.  Perhaps there is a resident Hund at the place?

Sunday afternoon turned out to be very pleasant.  The weather was warmer and the sun was out.  We walked back down to the river, where we encountered the famous sausage kitchen that has been operating in Regensburg since the 12th century.  I instantly wished we hadn’t eaten at the brewpub because I had heard that sausage kitchen was awesome.  Unfortunately, we were just too full to try it.

The wurst kitchen…  there was a long line for sausages and beer!

Guys showing off their jumping skills…

Crossing the river.

The sun was more cooperative from the other direction.

I can only assume these locks are put on the bridge by couples in love…

A beer store.

More German graffiti…

I was almost tempted to try this Mexican place, but we haven’t had much success finding good Mexican food in Germany.  Besides, we were still really full from lunch.

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