After my time in Italy where I got to see Rebecca, spend some quality time with Maddie and meed all her super nice friends, I caught my plane bound for the outskirts of Frankfurt where I took a late bus to the city an hour away. Thankfully, my hostel was just near the train station where the bus dropped off. Thankful because it was close, but not thankful because "near the train station" means the red light district pretty much. The place was clean and mostly youthful, but the corridor that led to my room looked like the FBI would be busting down a door at any moment to find naked girls separating cocaine.
In the morning I explored some of Frankfurt and their Christmas Market. I was delighted to see that it was not like Dublin at all and much more traditional than Italy's. I checked out of the hostel and caught my three trains to Rothenburg ODT. As I walked from the train station to the little town I kept thinking I was going to see my parents driving by and waving out the window. It wouldn't be unlike my father to circle around the streets till he found me. They were supposed to arrive in the city the same time my train did, but my last train was about 10 min behind schedule.
I found them at the hotel, having just arrived. Had my train been on time they would have passed me walking into the city.
Rothenburg was mesmerizing! The classic Christmas village, and the most famous. It even snowed the second day, and continued to show for the rest of the trip after that. The roads were not in bad condition at all because the temperature was so cold and dry that the snow did not stick. It just floated off like dust. I've never seen anything like it. We joined the English club on Wednesday night at the suggestion of the Rick Steve's book. Herman the German and Wolfgang made fast friends with us and I sat talking about German history, traveling and cultural misnomers with a few other Germans and a Texan who had also joined the party.
Dinkelsbuhl was the next town we visited. It was unusual because it was not in a valley or on top of a hill. It was just there, surrounded by the classic stone wall and barren fields. There were the modern gas stations, grocery stores and shopping facilities around the city, but for the most part its original essence was preserved.
The market here was not so grand and exciting as the rest, but we did find the best kept secret in the little town - L'Osteria, an Italian restaurant with a chicken fig ravioli and a Parmesan soup to die for. Their tiramisu was very tasty too and received a well deserved high rating (www.tiramisutastetesters.blogspot.com).
While staying at the little "mom and pop" B&B in Dinkelsbuhl we took a side trip to Ulm. The cathedral there was breathtaking. Architecture these days does not compare to the time consuming and painstaking work of the past. The race to the finish produces amazing works in their own right, but nothing like the detail of the past.
Our next two nights were located in Nurnberg. It boasts a beautiful medieval castle and an excellent market. It was also Hitler's favorite city, so just outside of the old town are the Rally Grounds (Nazi Headquarters) The Germans chose not to maintain the area because they don't want to glorify its past in any way. The area was pretty, but the stone work is quickly turning to rubble.
We took a side trip to Wurzburg. It is the start of the Romantic Road that winds all the way down to the Cinderella castle in Fussen. Wurzburg is also a larger city with an extensive market, but nothing compared to the market, or markets in Munich, the last city of the trip.
There were multiple markets all over the city. The Rathaus, city hall, is extraordinarily ornate. Our hotel was just past the victuals market, which was nice for the soup stand and fish stand and butcher and pastries...well, you get the picture. I only had one night in Munich, but it included a tasty meal at Ludwig's and another amazing tiramisu.
The trip from Munich to Memmingen for the Ryanair plane was long and snow-filled. Mom and Dad stayed to catch a plane home the next day.