Colmberg Castle – our hotel for two nights. Such fun! It had been updated since our visit in 2017 – they had even added had an elevator so we didn’t have to lug our suitcases up the ancient staircases. The staircases are one the best parts – thick, ancient wood that has worn into wavy edges full of character. We were free to roam the halls and search all the nooks and crannies. The floors don’t line up – half staircases, twists and turns, – it is hard to describe. The chapel was a beautiful surprise and the stairs leading out of it entered a whole new wing.
The earliest record of Colmberg Castle is a bill of sale on 17 July 1318. Isn’t it funny that castles were sold as real estate? Here is a link to more history if anyone is interested.
Well – it is obvious that we really loved our hotel! We all just kept taking photos.
On Monday we drove the short 18 km to Rothenburg ob der Tauber – a must-visit medieval village that was somehow spared any destruction in WWII. It never disappoints – such quaint homes and cobblestone streets! It is surrounded by an ancient wall that you are free to walk on and enjoy the views both within and without the village.
One of our highlights in Rothenburg occurred outside the walls when we discovered a cute little playground. After the children all left we took our turn on the equipment. The best was a swing that somehow fit all four of us. Playground swings are always a family favorite – so swinging together in the warm autumn sun outside the castle walls of an ancient village… it was so idyllic. We wondered if the locals have any idea that they are living in such a magical spot?
Visiting Rothenburg means visiting the torture museum. It was incredible that the artifacts are real – preserved through all of these years as testament of the terrible things humans have done to one another. Some were almost amusing – there were a wide variety of “shame masks,” several of which had big ears and longs to be worn by women who gossiped. One was in the shape of a flute and had space for each finger to be imprisoned so that the wearer appeared to be playing the flute. It was to be worn as a punishment for being a bad musician! Some masks were to be worn by those who exhibited poor workmanship (no wonder everything from Germany exhibits such high quality engineering). Mostly they were terrible.
As we sat on the steps of the Rathaus enjoying the town square we thought of our first visit here with John and Kayleen in 2012. While eating dinner with them outdoors on this same square John had explained how Germans speak quietly to one another at restaurants. Last night we were in a crowded restaurant in Colmberg. Almost every table was full of families visiting with each other, but there was very little noise. At our table we could converse easily. Mark and I had just been talking about this at a small but very noisy restaurant in New York. We had to lean over our table and speak loudly to be heard. I prefer the German way – but here I should highly recommend that little New York restaurant – Gilda’s in Skaneateles. So very delicious!
Back to Rothenburg. As we sat high on the steps in the town square we watched dozens of fourth or fifth grade school children there on a field trip. They worked in groups to fill out their assigned worksheets. We noticed that only one or two of them carried smartphones. How refreshing! One group of girls kept glancing at us and were finally brave enough to come and ask us for help with their homework. They rattled off to us in German before we were able to explain that we only spoke English. They giggled and then quite easily transferred to English until they came to a word that they were not able to translate. We tried to help them but they giggled again and ran away. I had been so impressed at how easily they began to speak English at such a young age. What a shame that we don’t require more of our students. I wish I were bilingual.
Our hotel restaurant was closed for the night so we found a place in town. We keep taking pictures of all of our food so I’ll include a few. When we were in Munich the customs agent asked me the purpose of our trip to Germany. I told her, “To eat your delicious food and see your beautiful sites.” That got her attention and earned me a smile.